Edvard Grieg in England
In this concert, Edvard Grieg Kor presents a varied programme of music by some of the composers that Grieg met and corresponded with personally in England as well as new arrangements written especially for this concert, of a selection of some of Grieg’s most popular songs.
By the time Grieg made his first hugely successful visit to London in May, 1888, at the invitation of The Philharmonic Society, to perform his Piano Concerto and conduct Two Elegiac Melodies, many of his Lyric Pieces for piano and songs were already so well known that he had actually become England’s most popular living composer.
His distinctive and highly individual sound-world of charming Norwegian folk-like melodies mixed with daring harmonies and expressive use of the keyboard proved to be an appealing combination for amateur musicians throughout the country. His subsequent visits only enhanced his reputation further so that by 1907, Grieg had spent about six months in England and, were it not for cancellations due to ill health, would have spent considerably longer.
Our programme consists of a mixture of sacred and secular music, some well-known and some rarely performed works. Still regularly performed today in cathedral evensongs throughout England, there are beautiful evergreen sacred works by Stanford and Parry, who were both instrumental in the awarding of Grieg’s two honorary doctorates at Cambridge and Oxford. Less well-known but equally ear-catching are three pieces from Grainger’s Jungle Book settings. There is also a group of some real rareties by Frederic Cowen, John Francis Barnett and Eaton Faning illustrating Grieg’s nordic influence.