Edvard Grieg : biography
Edvard Grieg was born and spent his youth in Bergen. This city was known by its creative traditions especially in a theatre field: Henrik Ibsen and Bjornson Bjorntjerne started their creative work there. Ole Bull was born in Bergen and lived there for a long time, he was the first who noticed the musical talent of Edvard (who composed music since he was twelve years old) and he advised Edvard’s parents to send the boy to Leipzig conservatory and they did it in summer of 1858.
One of the most famous Grieg’s compositions was the second suite “Peer Gynt” which consists of plays “Ingrid’s complaint”, “Arabian dance”, “Peer Gynt’s returning home”, “The song of Solveig”, “In a cave of mountain king” and “Morning”.
The dramatical play “Ingrid’s complaint” was one of dancing melodies which was played during the wedding of Edvard Grieg and Nina Hagerup, the composer’s cousin. The marriage of Edvard Grieg and Nina Hagerup gave them a daughter Alexandra who died from meningitis when she was only one year old, after this event the relationships between husband and wife began to get worse.
Grieg published 637 songs and love songs. After his death about twenty Grieg’s plays were published. He appointed only to poets of Denmark and Norway in his lyrics and sometimes he used German poetry (Heine, Chamisso, Uhland). The composer was interested in Scandinavian literature and especially literature of his own language.
Grieg died in his native town Bergen on the 4th of September in 1907. He was buried in one grave with his wife Nina Hagerup.
Edvard Grieg was born on the 15th of June in 1843 in Bergen. His father’s family was descended from Scottish merchant Alexander Grieg who moved to Bergen in 1770 and for some time was fulfilling the duties of the British vice-council in this city. The position of the British representative in Bergen inherited firstly grandfather, then father of the composer, who was also Alexander Grieg. Edvard Grieg’s grandfather John Grieg played in the Bergen orchestra and married the main conductor Nils Haslunn’s daughter. The composer’s mother Gesine Hagerup was a pianist who finished Hamburg conservatory where mostly only men studied. Edvard, his brother and three sisters received musical education since childhood as it was the rule in rich families. The future composer began to play the piano at the age of four years old. When he was ten he was sent to general school. But his interests were very different, moreover his independent character often made him deceive teachers. The composer’s biographers tell that in first classes Edvard got to know that pupils who were drenched under frequent rains in his motherland were sent home to change into dry clothes. Edvard started to wet his clothes on the way to school. As he lived far away from the school studies often were finished by the time he returned.
Ole Bull was the first musician who listened to Grieg’s compositions. While listening always smiling Ole suddenly became serious and quietly said something to Alexander and Gesine. After that he came to the boy and claimed: “You are going to Leipzig to become a composer!” years that Grieg spent in Copenhagen were marked with many important events for his creative life. Firstly he got acquainted with Scandinavian literature and art. He read books of its most outstanding representatives, for example the famous Danish poet and story teller Hans Christian Andersen. It involved the composer in the race of the close national culture. Grieg wrote songs for texts of Andersen and Norwegian romantic poet Andreas Munch.
In Copehhagen Grieg found an interpreter of his compositions – the singer Nina Hagerup who became his wife. The creative unity of Edvard and Nina continued for the whole life. Delicacy and artistic skills of the singer’s performance of Grieg’s songs were the highest criteria of its creative incarnation which the composer always meant when he created his vocal miniatures.
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