Though Edvard Grieg was only 25 years old when he wrote it, the Norwegian composer’s singular piano concerto exhibits a degree of maturity and brilliance.
One of the most famous piano concertos of all time, Grieg’s heroic and romantic work evokes many memories for me. As a student, I was completely captivated and couldn’t stop listening to the piece’s perfect balance of musical artistry and drama.
With a strong Scandinavian flair, the concerto opens suddenly with a quick timpani roll and a piano entrance that spans almost the entire keyboard. I can’t help but imagine Norway’s vast landscape with ocean waves crashing at a rugged shore. The second movement incorporates themes with ornamented figurations which make me think of village fiddlers playing nostalgic or romantic melodies. In the last movement, the dance rhythms are ever more effervescent, as if the entire village gathers for festivities and dances.
When I play Grieg’s piano concerto, I imagine the places, the people and their lives, as well as the young spirited Grieg at a significant turning point in his life.