Thursday, March 31, 2011


Edvard Hagerup Grieg was born in Bergen, Norway, on June 15, 1843. He was educated in music first at home by his mother, then at the Leipzig Conservatory where he learned piano and musical theory. His music, steeped in German Romanticism, reflects this training. He was a master of miniature musical forms. His music also speaks of the emergence of Norwegian nationalism, capturing the melodic and rhythmic flavour of the proud nordic country. His nationalistic style earned him the nickname "Chopin of the North". Grieg was a Scandinavian nationalist. He, along with fellow Norwegian composer Rikard Nordraak, organized the Euterpe Society, which promoted Scandinavian music. In 1867, a year after the premature death of Nordraak (he was 23), Grieg started the Norwegian Academy of Music. In that year he also married his cousin Nina Hagerup, to whom he dedicated his ensuing works. Because of his nationalistic style, the Norwegian government granted him an annual salary of 1600 crowns to fuel his compositional efforts. His popularity throughout Europe increased, and he was admired by such greats as Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Grieg's success, however, did not affect his reclusive nature. He spent his later years in seclusion from public attention, though he continued to regularly compose music. He lived the remainder of his life in his house in Troldhaugen, near his hometown of Bergen. The day of his death, September 4, 1907, was a day of national mourning in Norway, and he was given a state funeral. His cremated remains rest on the side of a cliff over the fjords of Troldhaugen.

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