Music Composers

Edvard Grieg-Part 5

The Influence of Leipzig

The change from the gloriously romantic surroundings of Bergen to the prosaic environment of Germany's great commercial center, Leipzig, must have had a peculiar effect upon a youth as sensitive as Grieg. Although the city still retained some of its medieval aspects at that time (1858), it was vastly different from the Bergen of the same period. Moscheles, Richter, Hauptmann, Wenzel, Reinecke and Plaidy were Grieg's teachers at Leipzig. Grieg worked very industriously. Indeed he suffered a breakdown in 1860, due to working night and day for months at a time. The policy of the conservatory at that time was repression rather than progress.

Plaidy, Richter and even Moscheles were men who sought to put their pupils ahead by holding them back through interminable technical contrivances. Grieg entered heartily into all the work that he did, but in after years he berated some of the Leipzig teachers very severely for not appreciating his natural talent and developing it along more rational lines. A little later Grieg met Gade whom he admired greatly. Gade had forsaken his national idols with the view of procuring an international audience. In other words, he preferred to be more universal in his appeal. Fortunately, through the friendship of staunch Norwegians, Grieg was shown the path which later led him to such vast renown. By this, however, the reader should not infer that Grieg could not write in a manner which appeals to the so-called "universal audience." Indeed there are numerous compositions of Grieg which show but very slight trace of the Norwegian.

The Etude Magazine June 1913






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