4th Symphony Concert 2013/14 //
Edvard Grieg Symphony in C minor
Edvard Grieg “Peer Gynt” op. 23, Incidental music to the play of the same name by Henrik Ibsen
Peer Gynt is something of a Nordic version of Faust. Driven by restlessness, disturbed by an overactive imagination and demonic desires, he pursues an ideal, but is blind to the happiness in his reach and ultimately ruins his life.
Long spells of frigid, stormy darkness in a wild and rough country, interrupted by short, hopeful summers – this is life in Norway. And this is the world of »Peer Gynt«. The Nordic spiritual mysticism, the unbounded lifestyle, the tumultuousness, the burden of fate and the love-hate relationship with the forces of nature – all of this is artistically translated by the playwright Henrik Ibsen and the composer Edvard Grieg in their version of »Peer Gynt«. In Ibsen’s request to Grieg, he provided precise instructions which, though exceptionally polite, assigned Grieg the more modest role of musical director and not so much a composer-collaborator. Yet the challenge and theme aroused Grieg’s interest, and in the end, his score turned out to be quite different than what Ibsen had originally intended. The score contained 23 musical numbers: preludes, atmospheric scenes, melodramas, songs and dances. With its fine portrayals of the characters, Grieg’s music opens a door to this sombre story, which Grieg himself initially deemed »indigestible«. In an artistically sensitive manner, the composer integrates the distinctive Nordic atmosphere into the play in a stylised traditional sound, which Ibsen’s visionary realism instils with a fairy tale-like aura despite its tragic and melancholic outcome.
Peer Gynt is performed by Thomas Thieme, whose forceful, dramatic interpretation is a force in itself, captivating, relentlessly pulling the viewer into the story, teetering on the brink of an abyss.
with the LISZT SCHOOL Choir (Direction: Prof. Jürgen Puschbeck)
and the Choir of the Music High School for talented musicians at Schloss Belvedere (Direction: Annette Schicha)