Music Composers

Edvard Grieg-Part 2

Norway became part of Sweden in 1814, and it was not until the bloodless revolution of 1905 that Norway regained her national integrity. Grieg himself was one of the leaders in the great intellectual and educational awakening of the country.  Bjornssen, Ibsen, Svendsen, Ole Olsen, Halvorson and others all felt the spirit of re-birth which was stimulating their native land, and these men were majestic enough to realize that the true sovereignty of the Norway of the future must depend upon the perpetuation of the wonderful spirit of the Norwegians of the past. Thus Ibsen in his plays aimed to preserve the Norwegian spirit but not without criticising the Norwegian of the present day, when it is evident that he was forsaking the ideals of the homeland. This ibsen did in a marvelous manner in his romantic play Peer Gynt, to which Grieg has set such beautiful music. It was not surprising that Grieg was influenced by the great intellectual activity about him. Fortunately he realized at a very early age this his greatness depended upon his loyalty to the spirit of his native land. Otherwise he might have been a repetition of Gade, music, able, and academically proficient, but writing in a tongue other than his own.

Grieg's Ancestry

In 1745-1746, the Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, attempted to re-establish himself in Scotland.

Overwhelmed by numbers and superior arms the Highlanders succumbed to the English soldiers at the battle of Culloden. Those who were taken prisoners were either hung or transported. Alexander Grieg, a merchant of Aberdeen, was one of those driven out. He found a haven in Bergen, Norway, where he determined to settle. In order to facilitate pronunciation he changed his name from Greig to Grieg. His grandson Alexander Grieg married Gesine Judith Hagerup, and their son was none other than Edvard Grieg, the greatest master of music Norway has produced. His father, a highly cultured and sympathetic man, was not especially musical. His mother, however, was a musician of decided ability not only as a pianoforte soloist but as a composer of attractive folk songs, some of which are said to retain their popularity still in Norway.

The Etude Magazine June 1913





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