This second volume, in a five-part series of the complete symphonic works with Eivind Aadland and the WDR Sinfonieorchester contains the works for string orchestra: a genre which Grieg mastered like no other, chiefly arrangements of songs and piano pieces. Where the song arrangements of the Elegiac Melodies Op. 34 and the Two Melodies Op. 53 were a form of ‘export edition’ for non-Scandinavian countries (where they were extremely popular, even during Grieg’s lifetime), the famous suite From Holberg’s Time Op. 40 is a homage to Ludvig Holberg, the caustic ‘Molière of the North’, whose 200th birthday was celebrated in Bergen in 1884. For this occasion, Grieg composed a suite ‘in the old style’ on dance forms of the late baroque (Holberg’s own time) without, however, denying his own, romantic style. The late Nordic Melodies Op. 63 were written by the 51-year-old Grieg who was touring internationally as a conductor and who, in the absence of major works, broadened his repertoire with smaller pieces.
“The flavour of this music is in my blood”, says the conductor Eivind Aadland, who grew up in Grieg’s hometown of Bergen and who today is an international artist. Aadland was chief conductor and artistic director of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra from 2003 until 2010 and has also worked with many other Scandinavian, European and international orchestras. He initially studied the violin with Yehudi Menuhin. From 1981 until 1989 he was concert master of the Bergen Philharmonic and from 1987 until 1997 music director of the European Union Chamber Orchestra. He subsequently devoted himself fully to his conducting career and studied with Jorma Panula.@
“A happy star reigned over Cologne two autumns ago when violinist-turned maestro Eivind Aadland recorded his cycle of Grieg symphonic works with the city's WDR orchestra...the bite and bounce of the German orchestra's playing is remarkable for its apparent ethnicity...Almost singlehandedly these days [Aadland] continues to make the case for Grieg as serious orchestral writer.” Gramophone