The fourth volume of Audite’s complete recording of Edvard Grieg’s orchestral works with the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln and Eivind Aadland combines the most popular work by the Norwegian national composer with his least known. The Piano Concerto in A minor, performed here by Herbert Schuch, represented the 25-year-old Grieg’s break through to international fame and is one of a handful of great piano concertos on which every pianist is judged. In the concerto, the influence of Schumann, his great model (Grieg had, after all, studied in Leipzig), is combined with that of Norwegian folk music – for the first time in a work by Grieg these national elements can be detected, which enthused not only his compatriots but also his wider European audience. In his Symphony in C minor, completed in 1864, however, hardly any Norwegian inflections can be traced: besides Schumann, Grieg emulated the Danish symphonic composer Niels Wilhelm Gade, who had pressed his young colleague to adopt the genre. Although it was a remarkable proof of the 21-year-old’s talent, Grieg was not entirely satisfied with his symphony and forbade any further performance. The work was not revived until 1980, when it was performed under adventurous conditions in the Soviet Union, upon which it was immediately recognised as an important milestone in the Scandinavian orchestral culture of the 19th century.
Grieg, Edvard: Symfoniske Verk Komplett, Vol. IV:
Symphony in C minor
Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16