Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) is the composer of some of the most instantly recognisable of all orchestral works including the Piano Concerto, In the Hall of the Mountain King and Morning Mood. Ironically, it is not in the area of orchestral music that Grieg felt most comfortable but, rather, intimate genres such as music for solo piano (his ten volumes of Lyric Pieces are masterpieces) and solo songs with piano accompaniment. Like many composers of his generation, Grieg turned to the folk music of his homeland – in his case, Norway – in an attempt to fashion a distinctly national style. Grieg’s incidental music for Ibsen’s Peer Gynt further consolidated his credentials as a Norwegian composer. But Grieg was no stay-at-home provincial. He studied at the Leipzig conservatory, travelled widely, attended the inaugural Ring cycle at Bayreuth in 1876 (also Parsifal some years later) and formed friendships with fellow composers Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Delius. Melbourne-born composer and pianist Percy Grainger (1882-1961) came to know Grieg in his last years and remained a strong advocate of the Norwegian composer’s music throughout his life.

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