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> Edvard Grieg / Martin Schmeding "Organ Transcriptions", SACD

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post 20/06/2009, 16:14
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Edvard Grieg / Martin Schmeding "Organ Transcriptions" SACD

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907): Transkriptionen für Orgel

Edvard Grieg / Martin Schmeding "Organ Transcriptions" , SACD

Genre: Classical – Organ
Гибридный SACD 5.0

Martin Schmeding, Orgel (Orgel Konzerthaus Dortmund)
    "Aus Holbergs Zeit" (Holberg-Suite) Op. 40
  1. Präludium 02’53
  2. Sarabande 04’09
  3. Gavotte 02’59
  4. Air 05’59
  5. Rigaudon 05’01

    aus "Lyrische Stücke"
  6. Abend im Hochgebirge Op. 68,4 03’34
  7. Zug der Zwerge Op. 54,3 04’02

    Sonate e-Moll Op. 7
  8. Allegro moderato 05’21
  9. Andante molto 04’26
  10. Alla Menuetto, ma un poco più lento 03’08
  11. Finale (Molto allegro) 07’45

    aus "Lyrische Stücke"
  12. Hochzeitstag auf Troldhaugen Op. 65,6 07’32
  13. An der Wiege Op. 68,5 02’55

    Peer-Gynt-Suite I Op. 46
  14. Morgenstimmung 04’26
  15. Ases Tod 03’42
  16. Anitras Tanz 03’16
  17. In der Halle des Bergkönigs 02’11
Gesamtspielzeit 73’09

Produzent, Layout, Gestaltung: Annette Schumacher;
Tonmeister: Manfred Schumacher, VDT
Toningenieur: Holger Siedler, VDT;
Aufnahme 2.-4.9.2003 • Konzerthaus Dortmund

Ars Produktion (ARS 38 004, 4 260052 380048), 2004
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post 20/06/2009, 16:31
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Цитата( буклет )
Master of the miniature

Few composers attained during their lifetime a popularity comparable to that of Edvard Grieg. Numerous arrangements of his most famous works, for example the "Peer Gynt Suite" or the "Lyric Pieces", have made his music accessible to a large audience. For the composer himself, this came as a surprise: "The multiplication of my works through arrangements is becoming uncanny. All that is now missing is the Peer Gynt Suite for flute and trombone". *1)

Despite this general recognition Grieg was plagued throughout his life by self-doubts. He found it difficult to accept that his genius and creativity lay in small forms, written in a classical-romantic musical language coloured by Norwegian influences and skilfully exploited, rather than in symphonic dimensions. On top of these musical difficulties came problems with his health and his private life (a tense relationship with his family and his wife and an unsettled life with frequent changes of home).

Moulded by a conservative bourgeois family and a conventional musical education at the Leipzig Conservatory, Grieg rejected a revolutionary attitude to musical development, such as can be found for example in the compositions of his contemporary Richard Strauss. He nevertheless found in his central works his very own formal and sonorous solutions.

Grieg saw himself - contrary to great masters like Bach, Mozart and Beethoven - as a composer of his time writing for the contemporary audience: "Their works are eternal, while ! myself write for my time and my generation". *2) The constant popularity of some of his works surely testifies with hindsight to the quality of his inspiration and lets the epithet "Master of the Miniature" appear in a positive light.

Because of the secular content of most of the works by Edvard Grieg, an arrangement for organ does not at first suggest itself. Nevertheless the musical structure and extremely varied coloration of numerous pieces make them adequately portrayable, with great technical and sonorous charm, by the "King of the instruments".

Edvard Grieg and sacred music

"It can sometimes be a good exercise to hide our own personality. It reminds us of the time when we had no personality and always wrote canons, figured chorales and fugues without missing it". *3) What Grieg, in an almost malicious and ironical tone, writes in August 1884 in a letter to Julius Röntgen, reflects his basic attitude to religion and sacred music.

Although as a young man he considered becoming a priest, under the influence of the bourgeois religious environment of his family ("To be able to deliver a sermon or to speak to an attentive crowd seemed to me to be something particularly sublime") *4), his private problems and set-backs (premature death of his daughter, marital crises) made him a deeply sceptical person who considered religion at best in a non-Christian context. Numerous conversations and correspondence with his friend, the Lofthusian clergyman E. Chr. Christie, testify of his doubts and spiritual search.

His production of sacred pieces is essentially limited to works dating from his time as a student in Leipzig or short pieces composed for particular occasions (for example "Ave Maris Stella", "Dona Nobis Pacem"), which are often not even mentioned in catalogues of his works. Even his last work, the "Four Psalms", op. 74, is to be considered more as a tribute to the religiously influenced folk literature of the Norwegian Baroque than as the "spiritual about-turn" of a man critically ill.

Nevertheless, great works of the church music tradition, such as Mozart's "Requiem" and Mendelssohn's "Elias", were time and time again the focus of Edvard Grieg's conducting activities, for example as conductor of the Concert Society in Bergen.

Grieg most likely came into contact with the organ during his studies in Leipzig, even if only a few small original studies of fugues remain. These studies were certainly written in the classes of Moritz Hauptmann, who was an experienced writer of religious music. It is possible that Grieg's later total rejection of this period of his life prevented him from ever writing a more important piece for the organ.

Numerous compositions by Grieg nevertheless offer, in view of their themes and their symphonic sonority, good prerequisites for an organ transcription.

About the principle of transcription

The task set up by a transcription is, on one hand, to translate a piece into the language of the new instrument but, on the other hand, to ensure at the same time the greatest possible authenticity and attention to the musical intentions of the original text.

For that reason, all the available original versions (versions for piano or orchestra, original transcriptions by the composer) have been referred to in making these arrangements. By way of comparison, already existing transcriptions by other musicians, either dating from the same period as the pieces or made later, were also used. Moreover, transcriptions for the organ of works by romantic composers (for example Franz Liszt) written by the composers themselves provide information about an "organistic" arrangement of a piece, typical of its time.

In the present arrangements, great importance was given to a faithful rendering of the original tonalities, articulations and dynamics. It was nevertheless necessary to decide, in each case, which of the sometimes different versions was the most "organistic" and if one should either use the different registers of the organ (16', 8', 4') or rather change the notes. One of the biggest tasks of the organist is, with the possibilities offered by registration and changes of keyboard, to re-create orchestral colours, or, in the case of piano pieces, to create them.

A particular problem is presented by the rendering of accents on the organ, although there are a number of possibilities offered by registration, swell, articulation and rubati.

In the last movement of the first "Peer Gynt Suite" a transposition of a semitone to C minor was necessary in order to avoid constantly going below the organ range.

About the works

The incidental music of "Peer Gynt", the "Norwegian Faust" by Henrik Ibsen, has become the epitome of the formal and tonal aesthetic of Edvard Grieg. "Peer Gynt", at first a dramatic poem written in 1867, was adapted for the stage by its author in 1874 and premiered with great success in 1876.

The composer himself had great difficulty with this project, as is shown for example by the following excerpt from one of his letters: "Peer Gynt went as you predicted - it is still for me a sort of nightmare; ... It is a terribly inflexible subject, apart from a few places... I literally cannot bear to hear it any longer, because it sounds so much like cow-pat, over-norwegianism and self-satisfaction". *5) The composer, who shows here very clearly his excessively self-critical side, was never happy with the combination of theatre and music and therefore gathered in 1888 and 1891 the most important pieces of the twenty-three numbers he had composed into two orchestral suites.

The enormous success and the continuous popularity of these pieces led to countless transcriptions, among them those by Edwin Lemare (1865-1934) for the organ (number 1-3 from the First Suite). They have been used, along with the orchestral and piano versions, as a basis for the present recording.

The first movement, "Morning-Mood", illustrates the sunrise at dawn after Peer Gynt's kidnapping of the rich peasant woman Ingrid and leads the central character to repentance and recollection. The organ version partly takes up Grieg's contrasted orchestration. The large-scale crescendo effects and the wide accompanying chords are at the same time translated into the language of the organ.

On the death-bed of his mother Ase, Peer Gynt simulates the illusion of a peaceful and happy life (second movement, "The Death of Ase"). The various forms of accent are produced on the organ through use of different techniques (swell, articulation). Some passages are played - due to their key - with a soloistic 16' in the pedal. The broad range of string toned stops of the Dortmund Concert Hall organ allows a subtly differentiated rendering of the different shades of this piece, which is written for strings only.

In the third movement, "The Dance of the Arabic maid Anitra" in the self-chosen exile of Peer Gynt, great attention had to be given in the transcription to the comparison and the harmonsation of the different dynamics and articulations in the piano and orchestral versions.

In order to portray the gurgling and ranting sounds made by the mountain troll in the last movement ("In The Hall of The Mountain-King"), a transposition from B minor to C minor was realised, thus allowing the organ pedal to be played in its lowest range.

The writing of another of his most popular works, the "Holberg Suite", was not at first a great source of joy for Edvard Grieg. In numerous commentaries and letters, he denigrates baroque music and its authors, describing his own work as occasional music or "wig-piece" which hides itself behind obsolete models.

The Holberg suite and a cantata were composed on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the great Norwegian baroque poet Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754), the "Norwegian Molière". The suite was first written in a piano version that Grieg orchestrated afterwards for strings. The piano version was used as a basis for the organ transcription of the "Prelude", because the broken chords are much closer to the writing of an organ prelude than the repeated notes in the string version. Many of the short melodic sections are played by the pedal with 4' and 2' stops. The basic sound of the plein-jeu is appropriate to an organ prelude.

The second movement in typical saraband rhythm was based on the string version, using manual changes, colours and articulations, for example a 16' pizzicato effect in the pedal.

In the third movement as well, the string version, with its characteristic rhythm and articulation, has been used in preference to the piano version, as the former offers a considerably more concise sound picture. In addition, a typical organistic orchestration with soloistic reed mixture has been used in the "Musette".

The fourth movement (Andante religioso) is perhaps the movement of the "Holberg Suite" that shows the strongest influence of Norwegian harmony and melancholic melody. The sound of the organ allows especially in this case a very intensive sonorous continuity, which is moreover enhanced by the adoption of the richness of chords offered by the string version, a richness which was for technical reasons (overlapping) impossible to obtain in the piano version. In order to imitate the leggiero effect of the strings in the soloistic beginning of the "Rigaudon", a transparent registration typical of German late romantic organ music was employed (as in Reger's music, for example the beginning of his Op. 135b). Pizzicato accents of the string version enrich here the original piano version. The "Trio" can even be performed on the organ in an authentic manner, using two keyboards and the pedal.

Large musical forms are rare in Grieg's production. In the field of the sonata, one finds only, besides three violin sonatas and a cello sonata, an early Piano Sonata, his Op. 7 in E minor (1865). Grieg's struggle with large forms is testified in several commentaries and could well be a result of the relative lack of training in orchestration offered at the Leipzig Conservatory.

The Piano Sonata was written at the time of Grieg's first successes and shows a young and ambitious composer eager to make his own contribution to an important form in music history. The Piano Sonata, and the Violin Sonata which followed it shortly afterwards were very positively received by audiences: "... the two [pieces] awakened more than an ordinary interest, through their noble content and their very interesting features." *6) The composer himself evokes the composition of these pieces in a positive light: "Whether the enchanting surroundings or the fortifying air inspired me stays open. In any case, I did write my Piano Sonata within eleven days". *7) Like many works by young composers, this piece shows an abundance of harmonic, melodic and formal ideas and an uninhibited emotional urge besides a kinship to famous models and some reminiscences of great composers. Despite its first success the signification of this early work is underestimated today - it is barely mentioned among the piano works in the biographies of Grieg found in standard musical dictionaries.

The first movement presents the mixture of folkloric elements (dance-rhythms, bourdons), youthful "Sturm und Drang" with virtuoso display on the piano and a distinctive chromatic melodic line with other intervals (for example augmented seconds) so typical of Grieg. Formally orientated towards the classical sonata form, the composer comes up with many personal ideas, for example a recapitulation where the maintained change of meter of the development and the complex motivic combination between main subject and development influence each other.

Grieg inserts commentaries into the unsophisticated two-part "lied" form of the second movement: elements of Norwegian folk-music, hymnic passages. The result is a characteristic mixture of strange modal harmony avoiding leading note tension, on one side, and expressive late romantic chromaticism on the other.

The third movement is based on the classical succession of Minuet-Trio-Minuet, each part being itself subdivided into a contrasted A-B-A form, with a stretto effect occasioned by the reduction to the A part in the recapitulation of the Minuet.

Although the last movement appears in the spirit of a scherzo, like a brilliant virtuoso finale, its form recalls strongly the treatment of sonata form of the first movement. As a final apotheosis, the second theme appears in the recapitulation in the major tonality.

If Grieg had a hard time in dealing with large forms, he became a master in the field of musical miniature. His ten volumes of "Lyric Pieces" for the piano have played a determining role in establishing his popularity. They were written in the course of over twenty-five years, from 1864 to 1901, and reflect the stylistic variety, the level of development and the diverse creative phases and interests of the composer.

The pieces chosen for this recording are representative of the different periods of Grieg's creativity, from simple "lied" forms ("Solitary Wanderer", "At The Cradle"), to miniatures in Norwegian folkloric style or descriptions of nature ("Elves' Dance", "March of The Dwarfs", "Little Bird") and works with orchestral sonorities ("Evening in The Mountains"), to more harmonically complex character pieces ("Summer Evening").

One of Grieg's most beloved pieces, "Wedding Day at Troldhaugen", exists in several variants, among them an organ transcription by Cyril S. Christopher, which was likewise used for the present recording.

The Dortmund Concert Hall and its organ

With the concert organ of the Westphalian Philharmony, the town of Dortmund possesses an instrument of a romantic-symphonic style of German character. The organ building firm Johannes Klais in Bonn took up with its great instruments of the turn of the century again, in particular in using heavy wind stops with double pressure. The instrument is therefore ideally suited to the symphonic repertoire with choirs and orchestras and to the whole original organ repertoire of the late romantic period, for example works by Max Reger and Josef Gabriel Rheinberger. Moreover, the combination of extremely good acoustics and an instrument with orchestral colours allows the best rendering of organ transcriptions of symphonic works.

1)   Grieg, Edvard, Briefwechsel an die Verleger Peters, Leipzig, 1932, p. 60.
2)   Abell, Arthur, Gespräche mit berühmten Komponisten, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 1962.
3)   Oelmann, K.H., Edvard Grieg. Versuch einer Orientierung, Köln/New York, 1993.
4)   Grieg Edvard, Mein erster Erfolg, Leipzig, 1910.
5)   Oelmann, loc.cit.
6)   Benestad, Finn, Schjelderup-Ebbe, D. - Edvard Grieg, Mensch und Künstler, Oslo, 1980.
7)   Interview in der Tageszeitung Dannebrog, 1893, from Benestad, Finn, loe. cit.

Григ и орган, они никогда не пересекались, но ожидаемое родство естественно интригует. Начинается сюитой Из времен Хольдберга, с ее старинными норвежскими танцами, хотя Ария звучит как баховский хорал. Сразу про звучание. Заметно с первых звуков. Концертный орган в концертном зале, ревербераций нет, вроде как зала нет, только особенность: орган звучит за линией фронтов сверху?! Как оказывается звук просто сверху, я понимаю, «стерео слой», проходящий через точку прослушивания, мы воспринимаем сверху. Но вот как спереди сверху и без 2+2+2 оказывается звук мне не очень понятно, ведь колонки (все) на земле (буквально) стоят. То уже работа зала. Переход в стерео и звук сразу опускается вниз к колонкам, и никакого зала, никакой волшебности. Сюиту раньше не слушал, ни оркестровую, ни фортепианную версии. А вот фортепианные пьесы из Лирических тетрадей знакомы и приятно услышать в органной версии с регистровой интерпретацией, собственно как и волнительную вторую сонату. На десерт представлена Сюита из Пер Гюнта, к сожалению только первая. Утро явно не органное, или регистры не удачно выбраны, нет той прозрачной акварельной легкости, как гуашью мазана. Уже в Смерти Асе очень удачное звучание или Танец Анитры в волшебно-флейтовых тонах. Ну, а в Пещере горного короля органу есть где разгуляться: солирующая 16 дюймовая труба на педалях.

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