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Edvard Grieg: Piano Music, Vol. 14

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, March 26, 1996
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Product Details

  • Performer: Einar Steen-Nokleberg
  • Composer: Edvard Grieg
  • Audio CD (March 26, 1996)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B000001485
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,059 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Einar Steen-Nøkleberg's survey of Grieg's piano music for Naxos is nothing if not complete, and I suspect that not all listeners will want every single installment (the great works are primarily found on volumes 1-4 and 8-10). Volume 14, for instance, will primarily have specialist appeal, and I would hate for anyone not knowing Grieg's piano music to come to this issue first; nevertheless, there are some numbers here - primarily the song transcriptions - that do show Grieg at the height of his powers.

The opening track gives us the Larvik polka, an example of true salon music, complete with percussion, and not a particularly compelling work. The 23 short pieces are juvenilia, played on a Graf (they sound rather horribly clangorous), and the musical rewards are pretty slim. At the Halfdan Kjerulf Statue are, on the other hand, touching works worth hearing. The two Melodies of Norway are less interesting (though not without charm) though the short Canon is worthless. The song transcriptions, on the other hand, are beautiful; their original versions are of course superior, but listened to as short tone paintings for the piano makes for a compelling musical experience.

The original second and fourth movements of Grieg's relatively early piano sonata are stronger works, of course; despite a certain formal clumsiness the sonata is a very appealing work. The original versions, however, do not really add anything of interest to anyone but musicologists. The most intriguing track here, however, is the small snippets and sketches of a planned second piano concerto that interestingly evoke Rachmaninov. Of course, most of the sketches are mere seconds long, so it is hardly a major addition to our knowledge of the composer.
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Edvard Grieg: Piano Music, Vol. 14
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