Classical Music | Violin Music

Edvard Grieg

Violin Sonata No. 1 in F Major, Op. 8  Play

Gregory Maytan Violin
Nicole Lee Piano

Recorded on 10/09/2014, uploaded on 10/09/2014

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

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.

Written in the summer of 1865, the Sonata no 1 in F Major reveals the young Grieg in the early stages of his nationalistic project. Grieg himself described it as “naïve and rich in ideals”. Here he is only beginning to break away from the Germanic influences acquired at Leipzig, and to incorporate elements of Norwegian folk music (his second sonata is much more obvious in this regard). Specifically, the trio of the 2nd movement imitates the hardanger fiddle (a Norwegian folk instrument) with its drone open strings in the violin. The first and third movements are both in sonata form, the development in the third being a fugue.      Gregory Maytan