Ballad for Edvard Grieg

Norway’s foremost pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes commemorates the 100th anniversary of Grieg’s death with a new TV series and a new EMI Classics release

Leif Ove Andsnes portrett 2006 (foto: Simon Fowler)

Early September sees Norway’s foremost pianist, Leif Ove Andsnes commemorating the 100th anniversary of composer Edvard Grieg’s death in various ways.

"This year I have made a new Grieg “discovery“. That is not to say that I have found a new work hidden in a trunk up a fjord in Norway. It is simply that I have come to terms with Grieg’s Ballade in G minor – the composer’s largest scale work for solo piano, an iconic piece in Norway ..."

Leif Ove Andsnes and Norwegian TV have just finished filming a labour of love: a year long project which has taken them throughout Norway and Europe looking at the life and times of Edvard Grieg. Filming culminated at the beginning of June with a spectacular shoot in the Hardanger Mountains, a short drive from Andsnes’ own countryside retreat. Using a helicopter to lift a grand piano up to the mountain top, Leif Ove Andsnes performed Grieg’s Ballade in G Minor surrounded by Norway’s breathtaking landscape.

“Ballad for Edvard Grieg” will be TV broadcast throughout Scandinavia in early September to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the composer’s death. Further broadcasts are planned across Europe throughout the Autumn together with two filmed concerts of Leif Ove Andsnes from this year’s Bergen anniversary celebrations – the Ballade in G Minor filmed in May at the 2007 Bergen Festival and the Piano Concerto, to be filmed on 6th September, also in Bergen.

Meanwhile EMI Classics will release a disc of Leif Ove Andsnes performing the major piano works of Grieg. Also entitled “Ballad for Edvard Grieg” the CD will feature a new recording of the Ballade in G minor alongside earlier recordings by Andsnes of the Grieg Piano Concerto and some of the later Lyric Pieces. Commenting on the selection for his album Andsnes said “Every young pianist is attracted to the piano concerto which, in its dramatic gestures, has a fresh and almost childlike innocence to it. Like Grieg the work was my calling card early on. Yet it is not until now that I have found a connection and love for the Ballade. It is awkward to play and its darker emotions are not easy to grapple with so, as a young pianist, I never felt at ease with the work. Adding this piece to my repertoire now and placing the work on disc alongside the piano concerto and selection of Grieg’s later more reflective and mellow Lyric Pieces represents a full picture of Norway’s most cherished composer.“

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