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Grieg’s String Quartet in G minor has long established itself as one of the finest such works of the second half of the nineteenth century. The distinction of its thematic material, and its use in cyclical form, is reinforced by an ultimately victorious motto theme. The F major Quartet was written later, but remained unfinished, but it too is a fertile creation with a strong dance profile. Both works are heard in Alf Årdal’s imaginative arrangements for string orchestra. Arne Nordheim, in his lifetime Norway’s leading living composer, wrote Rendezvous as a quartet but expanded it in 1986. It is an intense, moving, and beautifully crafted work.
There are no other recordings of Årdal’s arrangements of Grieg in the catalogue. They are rich expansions, and should prove attractive to chamber orchestras which are, more and more, taking on quartet expansions into their repertoire. In his lifetime, Nordheim was Norway’s leading composer and his quartet, which he himself arranged for chamber orchestra, offers symmetry for the two Grieg quartets and also a modern day example of the country’s rich string music tradition.
Edvard Grieg: String Quartet in G minor, Op. 27 (arr. A. Ardal for string orchestra)
I. Un poco andante - Allegro molto ed agitato
II. Romanze: Andantino - Allegro agitato
III. Intermezzo: Allegro molto marcato - Piu vivo e scherzando
IV. Finale: Lento - Presto al saltarello
Edvard Grieg: String Quartet in F major, EG 117 (arr. A. Ardal for string orchestra)
I. Sostenuto - Allegro vivace e grazioso
II. Allegro scherzando - Piu vivo - Allegro scherzando