Edvard Grieg

Fra Holbergs tid (From Holberg’s Time), for string orchestra ("Holberg Suite"), Op. 40

    Description by Rovi Staff

    While most every work, large or small, produced by composer Edvard Grieg bears the stamp of rightness and focused simplicity, writing music did not always come easily to him. During many of his earlier years, other duties were necessary for making ends meet -- directing the Harmonien Orchestra of Bergen, for example. Even over his final two decades, Grieg was obliged to undertake grueling tours as a piano soloist. In 1885, a new home, Troldhaugen, began to provide a place of solitude and comfort. Despite the fact that Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754) lived most of his life in Denmark and was considered the father of Danish literature, his birthplace was Bergen, Norway, and on the bicentenary of his birth, Norwegians heartily celebrated. Even as a resident of Denmark, Holberg recalled his childhood in his works and celebrated the time he spent there. Educated at the universities of Copenhagen and Oxford, Holberg is regarded as having established Danish as a literary language. Prior to his time, Danish was employed only in ballads and hymns; plays were presented in French or German. Besides more than a dozen successful plays (several of them comedies), he wrote a history of his adopted country and published a collection of philosophical treatises. Notwithstanding his stronger relationship to Denmark, Norwegians were pleased to acknowledge Holberg, and Grieg, also a Bergen native, was one of those who directed the planning for the event. As early as 1878, he contributed a fee from his publisher toward the construction of a Holberg statue in Bergen. Further, he wrote two works, the first for male voices, a Cantata for the Unveiling of the Holberg Memorial, and a second (of more lasting consequence) entitled From Holberg's Time: Suite in Olden Style. Grieg himself premiered the piano suite just days after the dedication of the memorial. Its great success led Grieg to score it for string orchestra the following year, and both versions enjoy enduring popularity. The suite in five sections was intended by Grieg to recall the dance suites that might have been heard during Holberg's lifetime, which roughly corresponded to the period of the late Baroque. The first section, marked "Praeludium," is of such simple radiance that it unforgettably imprints itself on the listener's consciousness. Its predominant cadence, a gently skipping motif, is heard in clusters of three, the second and third each descending a whole tone. The contrasting Sarabande moves soberly, reflectively, and with unfailing elegance. The Gavotte that forms the third section beguilingly trips over the course of its three minutes, yielding to the Andante religioso tempo of the Aria. The final section, a Rigaudon, returns the listener to the buoyant mood of the beginning prelude. Through each of the five sections, the level of invention is matched by a refinement and purity of feeling that marks this as among the most cherishable short works of the late nineteenth century.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Preludium. Allegro vivace
    2. Sarabande. Andante
    3. Gavotte. Allegretto - Poco più mosso - Allegretto
    4. Air. Andante religioso
    5. Rigaudon. Allegro con brio

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2018 Summit Records 709
    2018 Brilliant Classics BRI 95655
    2017 CuGate Classics CGC 028
    2017 2L 2L130SABD
    2017 Deutsche Grammophon
    2017 Ars Produktion ARS 38227
    2017 ABC / ABC Classics
    2016 Delos DE 3525
    2015 Sonoma / Sonoma Entertainment ST 20985
    2015 Tuxedo Music TUX 1034
    2015 Melodiya MELCD 1002320
    2014 Simax / Simax Classics PC 1332
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4793446
    2014 Lawo Classics LAW 1047
    2014 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon
    2014 Antes Edition BM 319288
    2013 Centaur Records CRC 3311
    2013 Lawo Classics LWC 1044
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon
    2013 Ars Produktion ARS 38131
    2013 Preiser Records PR 90815
    2013 Simax PSC 1264
    2012 Naxos 8571206
    2012 BIS BISSACD 1877
    2012 Haenssler / Hänssler Classic HAEN 94610
    2012 Centaur Records 3194
    2012 Guild / Guild Historical GMCD 2377
    2012 Concerto / Zebralution
    2011 Decca 478 275-9
    2011 Decca
    2011 Audite 92579
    2011 Naxos 8572403
    2011 Denon Records
    2011 ABC Classics 4764523
    2011 CRD Records CRD 3342
    2011 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2011 Ars Produktion ARS 38094
    2010 Fazer / Finlandia
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 2L 2L68
    2010 DA Records / Zebralution
    2010 Auris Subtilis 50372000
    2010 Decca
    2010 RPO 28190
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93265
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 EMI Classics 68161
    2008 Berlin Classics 0014292BC
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4777515
    2008 BIS 1740/2
    2008 Antes Edition / Zebralution
    2008 Onyx ONYX 4037
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 4776659
    2007 Sanctuary CDRSN3092
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93516
    2007 Arte Nova 496840
    2007 Altara Classic 1015
    2006 RPO / Scandinavian Classics 220505
    2006 Berlin Classics 0185442
    2006 BIS 1491
    2006 Decca / Eloquence 4768494
    2006 Naxos 8557890
    2006 Virgin 44722
    2006 Universal
    2005 Delta / Delta Distribution 13508
    2005 Decca 000395302
    2005 EMI Music Distribution 586 513-2
    2005 Audiophile Classics 101052
    2004 Alpha Productions 41
    2004 Capriccio Records 51171
    2003 Telarc Distribution 80623
    2003 Telarc Distribution 60623
    2003 Virgin Classics
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000005402
    2003 Virgin 562179
    2002 Philips / Philips Classics 468 201-2
    2002 Vox 90106
    2002 BIS 5023
    2002 CBC Records 5064
    2001 St. Clair 7317
    2001 Decca 470 262-2DM
    2001 Disky 70688
    2001 Intim Musik 069
    2000 Delta Distribution 14547
    2000 Teldec 81964
    2000 Sonatina 514
    2000 Basic 049
    2000 Archetype Records 60105
    2000 Novalis 150140
    2000 Deutsche Grammophon 469 142-2GP2
    2000 Tring 041
    2000 Columbia River Entertainment Group 315004
    2000 Columbia River Entertainment Group 150015
    1999 Deutsche Grammophon 437520
    1999 Berlin Classics 0093932
    1999 Philips 462290
    1999 Haenssler 98351
    1998 Arte Nova 49684
    1998 SPJ Music 90028
    1998 Haenssler 98995
    1998 Intersound 2819
    1998 Denon Records 17011
    1998 Columbia River Entertainment Group 1169
    1997 Virgin 545224-2
    1997 Naxos 8 554050
    1997 Intersound 2534
    1997 Sony Music Distribution 62828
    1996 Vanguard 45
    1996 Pro-Arte Records 865
    1996 Quintessence 2007
    1996 ASV CDQS6176
    1995 Rondo Grammofon 8342
    1995 Conifer 75605 51750-2
    1995 NKF 50002
    1995 Capriccio Records 10486
    1995 Nimbus 7019
    1995 Naxos 553106
    1995 CBS Special Products 21078
    1994 ASV 6094
    1994 Autograph 817
    1993 Deutsche Grammophon 439010
    1993 IMP Classics 861
    1993 Harmonia Mundi 3903005
    1993 Philips 438 380-2PM2
    1992 Teldec 74792
    1992 Vox / Vox Box 5048
    1992 Chandos 8593
    1991 Delos DE3091
    1990 Deutsche Grammophon 423060
    1989 Deutsche Grammophon 419474
    1982 Deutsche Grammophon 4000342
    Guild Historical 2298/99
    RFCM Symphony Orchestra
    Pickwick 24
    Classico 113
    Analekta 9002
    Fidelio 1817
    Brilliant Classics 93516/4
    Victoria 19071
    Pro-Arte Records 811
    BIS 147
    Deutsche Grammophon 471300
    RCA 61881
    Eufoda 1134
    Apex 0927-45510-2
    Manchester 111
    High Definition Classics 028
    Excelsior Recordings 31031
    Philharmonia of the Nations 45
    IMP Classics 1004
    Duet 09
    Carlton Classics 02242
    Deutsche Grammophon 400034
    IMP Classics 9118
    Slovart Records 012
    RCA 60439
    Pickwick 11008
    Pro-Arte Records 922
    RCA Victor Red Seal 60368
    IMP Orchid
    Virgin 791112
    Discover 920236