Grieg: In Autumn; Lyric Suite; Three Orchestral Pieces from Sigurd Jorsalfar, etc – review

WDR SO Köln/Aadland (Audite)

Of the five works included on the third part of Audite's series devoted to Grieg's "symphonic" works, only two were originally intended for orchestra. The concert overture In Autumn is an early work, completed in 1866 during the year Grieg spent in Rome and owing a great deal to Schumann and Mendelssohn, while the Three Pieces from Sigurd Jorsalfar were part of the incidental music he composed six years later for a play by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, as a preliminary for composing a nationalistic Norwegian opera. The other pieces here are arrangements that Grieg made to conduct in his own concerts – the Lyric Suite orchestrates four of the Op 54 Lyric Pieces for piano, while the more substantial Old Norwegian Romance With Variations was originally intended for two pianos. None of these is a major work, it's fair to say, but all have the kind of easy fluency and melodic freshness that characterise so much of Grieg's finest music, and the WDR orchestra's performances under Eivind Aadland have exactly the light touch they need.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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