Saturday, April 9, 2011

Arthur Rubinstein: Grieg Piano Concerto

 April 1975: Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor, Op.16 (1st movement)

Arthur Rubinstein, piano; London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn, conductor

Edvard Grieg [1843-1907]: A painting from 1891 of the Norwegian composer and pianist, The piano concerto, which he composed in 1868 when he was twenty-four, his only completed concerto,  is his best-known work.
Painting by: Eilif Peterssen (1852–1928), 1891
Source: Wikipedia

Here are some liner notes from Wikipedia:
The work is among Grieg's earliest important works, written by the 24-year-old composer in 1868 in Søllerød, Denmark, during one of his visits there to benefit from the climate, which was warmer than that of his native Norway.

Grieg's concerto is often compared to the Piano Concerto of Robert Schumann — it is in the same key, the opening descending flourish on the piano is similar, and the overall style is considered to be closer to Schumann than any other single composer. Grieg had heard Schumann's concerto played by Clara Schumann in Leipzig in 1858, and was greatly influenced by Schumann's style generally, having been taught the piano by Schumann's friend, Ernst Ferdinand Wenzel. Compact disc recordings often pair the two concertos.

Additionally, Grieg's work provides evidence of his interest in Norwegian folk music; the opening flourish is based around the motif of a falling minor second (see interval) followed by a falling major third, which is typical of the folk music of Grieg's native country. This specific motif occurs in other works by Grieg, including the String Quartet. In the last movement of the concerto, similarities to the halling (a Norwegian folk dance) and imitations of the Hardanger fiddle (the Norwegian folk fiddle) have been detected.

The theme of the third movement of the concerto, which is influenced by the Norwegian Halling dance.

he work was premiered by Edmund Neupert on April 3, 1869 in Copenhagen, with Holger Simon Paulli conducting. Among those who did attend the premiere were the Danish composer Niels Gade and the Russian pianist Anton Rubinstein, who provided his own piano for the occasion.[3] Neupert was also the dedicatee of the second edition of the concerto (Rikard Nordraak was the original dedicatee), and it was said that he himself composed the first movement cadenza.

The Norwegian premiere in Christiania followed on August 7, 1869, and the piece was later heard in Germany in 1872 and England in 1874. The work was first published in Leipzig in 1872, but only after Svendsen intervened on Grieg's behalf.

The concerto is the first piano concerto ever recorded — by pianist Wilhelm Backhaus in 1909.[5] Due to the technology of the time, it was heavily abridged at only six minutes.[5]1909.[5] Due to the technology of the time, it was heavily abridged at only six minutes.[5]

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