Grieg: Music for String Orchestra

Oslo Camerata

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Grieg: Music for String Orchestra Review

by James Leonard

While not the last word in elegance, these performances by the Oslo Camerata led by Stephan Barratt-Due of most but not all of Edvard Grieg's best-known string orchestra works are still quite beguiling. Their attack in the "Präludium" that opens the Holberg Suite is a little raw, and their rhythm in the "Rigaudon" that closes it is a bit rough, but their depth of tone in the Sarabande, their lightness of touch in the Gavotte, and their profundity of feeling in the Air are more than compensation enough. And so it goes: the Camerata's sonorities in "The Last Spring" from the Two Elegiac Melodies are not altogether in tune, but the emotions go right to the core; the ensemble in "Peasant Dance" from Two Nordic Melodies is not absolutely together, but the enthusiasm is contagious. In addition to most of the usual selections from Grieg's string orchestra works, one inclusion is gratifying -- "The Death of Åse" from the incidental music to Peer Gynt -- while one omission is disappointing -- "Evening in the Mountains," the first of the two Lyric Pieces. With a total playing time of a shade less than 52 minutes, the latter could surely have been included. Naxos' 2005 sound, however, is among its best: close, deep, warm, and so real you can occasionally hear the bows on the strings.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Fra Holbergs tid (From Holberg’s Time), for string orchestra ("Holberg Suite"), Op. 40
1 Oslo Camerata 02:35 Amazon
2 Oslo Camerata 03:23 Amazon
3 Oslo Camerata 03:16 Amazon
4 Oslo Camerata 05:27 Amazon
5 Oslo Camerata 03:56 Amazon
Elegiac Melodies (2) for orchestra (or piano), Op. 34
6 Oslo Camerata 04:18 Amazon
Melodies (2) for string orchestra (or piano), Op. 53
7 Oslo Camerata 03:41 Amazon
8 Oslo Camerata 03:44 Amazon
9 Oslo Camerata 03:09 Amazon
Elegiac Melodies (2) for orchestra (or piano), Op. 34
10 Oslo Camerata 03:19 Amazon
Nordic Melodies (2) for string orchestra (or piano or piano, 4 hands), Op. 63
11 Oslo Camerata 06:47 Amazon
12 Oslo Camerata 01:51 Amazon
13 Oslo Camerata 02:07 Amazon
14 Oslo Camerata 04:16 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick