Recorded on 12/21/2011, uploaded on 04/26/2012
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
I. Allegro molto ed appassionatoII. Allegretto espressivo alla RomanzaIII. Allegro animato
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was born and raised in Bergen, Norway. He studied at the Leipzig Conservatory, and later lived in Copenhagen andOslo (then called Christiania). He is not only Norway’s most famous composer, but a distinctively Norwegian composer. Owing to long periods of dependence and subjection first to Denmark and then to Sweden, Grieg was born into a Norway struggling to maintain its national identity. As a young man, Grieg set out to rectify this situation by giving Norway a repertoire of music grounded in the themes and timbres of traditional Norwegian folk-music and yet sophisticated enough to merit performance in the best concert halls of Europe.
Grieg’s corpus includes three violin sonatas whose renown varies inversely with the order of their composition: the third is firmly ensconced in the standard violin repertoire, having been performed and recorded by virtually every great violinist; the second is moderately well-known, and is performed occasionally; the first is virtually unknown.
Grieg finished the third sonata in January of 1887 and he joined violinist Adolf Brodsky in its premiere at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig in December that year. That was highly successful and the Sonata quickly became a popular favorite in Europe. Grieg was sometimes stereotyped as a miniaturist and folklorist, ill-suited to abstraction and the standard classical forms, but this sonata is a large-scale work, and bold in its treatment of sonata form in the two outer movements. The first movement is a marvel of concentrated themes, relentlessly contrasted and juxtaposed. The central Romanza is A-B-A form, with a serenely lyrical, quasi-folk song in E major wrapped around a fast, brittle dance in E minor. The finale is also a crisp dance in the main, but with an urgent and mysterious development section and a triumphant apotheosis (coda) in C major. Gregory Maytan
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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