Explained using the 5-4-3-2-1 Method
Duration: 100–110 Minutes (Complete Incidental Music)
Genre: Incidental Music
Time of Creation: 1874–1875
World Premiere: February 24, 1876 (Oslo)
Table of Contents
Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt in 5 Sentences
Edvard Grieg wrote his incidental music Peer Gynt to the dramatic poem of the same name by Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen’s poem was very popular at the time, so Ibsen himself approached Grieg and offered to compose incidental music for it. Grieg gladly accepted the commission (which was also financially attractive), but for personal reasons neither Grieg nor Ibsen could be present at the premiere. For marketing reasons, Grieg wrote two orchestral suites in 1888 and 1893, each containing four movements from the original incidental music, but of course much shorter overall. Grieg’s plan worked, for to this day the two Peer Gynt suites are among Grieg’s best-known pieces and are performed much more often than the original incidental music.
Note: This work belongs to the Classical Music Top 100.
4 Highlights from Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt
Highlight 1: Beginning with a wedding scene
The incidental music begins with a wedding scene, which Grieg impressively sets to music:
Highlight 2: In the Hall of the Mountain King
Edvard Grieg’s Peer Gynt contains some of Grieg’s most famous pieces, for example “In the Hall of the Mountain King”…
Highlight 3: Morning Mood
…as well as “Morning Mood:”
Highlight 4: Arabic dance
There is also an Arabic dance, which is an interesting parallel to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite:
3 Questions and Answers about Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt
Question 1: What are the 2 most famous pieces of the Peer Gynt Suite called?
The most famous pieces of the Peer Gynt Suite are “In the Hall of the Mountain King” and “Morning Mood”.
Question 2: Who premiered Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt?
Neither Grieg nor Ibsen were personally present at the premiere of the Peer Gynt incidental music. Christiania Theatre’s conductor, Johan Hennum, conducted, and the artistic director, Ludvig Josephson, directed.
Question 3: How did the collaboration between Grieg and Ibsen go?
Although Ibsen is often described as relatively unmusical, he had very specific ideas about the incidental music for Peer Gynt. Grieg also implemented these ideas quite precisely.
2 Recommended Recordings of Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt
Recording 1: Kristiansand Symfoniorkester, Bjarte Engeset
What would suit Grieg’s Peer Gynt better than an interpretation by a Norwegian orchestra? 😊 A wonderful performance with excerpts from the original incidental music and the two Peer Gynt suites comes from the Kristiansand Symfoniorkester conducted by Bjarte Engeset: