Five essential works by Grieg
We choose the best pieces by Norway's finest composer, Edvard Grieg
He wrote one of the most famous piano concertos, plus a collection of much-loved tone poems, while his solo piano music anticipates that of Debussy in its bold harmonic progressions. Here are some of the best works by Edvard Grieg, and some of the best recordings of those works.
Grieg's Piano Concerto: best recording
Including one of the most famous concerto openings, Grieg’s sole completed work in the genre won Liszt’s admiration.
Leif Ove Andsnes; Berlin Philharmonic/Mariss Jansons
EMI 394 3992 (paired with an equally excellent rendition of the Schumann Piano Concerto)
Grieg's Peer Gynt: best recording
Grieg’s incidental music to Ibsen’s drama includes two perennial hits – ‘Morning’ and the splendidly menacing ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’.
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham
EMI 965 9342
Grieg's Lyric Pieces: best recording
These unassuming yet haunting pieces sowed the seeds for some of the most revolutionary and forward-looking music of the 20th century.
DG 449 7212
Grieg's Holberg Suite: best recording
Classical grace appropriately informs this suite in homage to the 18th-century Norwegian-born playwright Ludvig Holberg, born a year before Bach, Handel and Scarlatti.
Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
Grieg's Haugtussa: best recording
Grieg’s genius is most evident in his songs, largely inspired by the singing talent of his wife. His song cycle Haugtussa (‘The Mountain Maid’) is one of his greatest works, with strikingly impressionistic piano writing.
Katarina Karnéus (mezzo-soprano), Julius Drake (piano)
Hyperion CDA 67670
Freya Parr is BBC Music Magazine's Digital Editor and Staff Writer. She has also written for titles including the Guardian, Circus Journal, Frankie and Suitcase Magazine, and runs The Noiseletter, a fortnightly arts and culture publication. Freya's main areas of interest and research lie in 20th-century and contemporary music.