Marianne Hirsti (soprano), Kjell Magnus Sandve (tenor), Knut Skram (baritone) & Rudolf Jansen (piano)
Although famous for his evergreen Piano Concerto and the music he composed for Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, Grieg’s output is dominated by short works – exquisite miniatures for piano and song. In the pantheon of composers influenced by the traditional music of their homeland, Grieg ranks along side Dvorak, Kodály, Bartok and Vaughan Williams. All in their own way ‘saved’ for posterity the rich legacy of music passed down through generations of their countrymen. Grieg ensured that the folk tunes of Norway had a new lease of life when set to words by Ibsen, Benzon, Krag and Varen, and others.
These are not songs as Schubert or Wolf would have composed. They are simple, folk-based, honest and true, and display the true genius of the composer as a miniaturist. If ever the saying ‘small is beautiful’ applies, it is to these songs. After settling down with his wife (also his cousin) Nina Hagerup – the inspiration for many of his songs – he concentrated on establishing a Norwegian National School of music.
This 7CD set is the only complete edition of the songs
Recordings date from the early 1990s
Many songs receiving their first recording
‘The Grieg song edition continues rather as it began – with many causes for gratitude, a few occasions for quite intense pleasure…In expression she (Hirsti) is similar to Flagstad, warm in feeling, and letting the affection communicate almost of its own accord…Christa Pfeiler sings with pleasing tone and …Voice and piano are well…Rudolf Jansen is a sensitive and skilful accompanist throughout’ Gramophone