Edward Grieg's reputation rests on his modest orchestral output and some items from the 66 Lyric Pieces for solo piano. His String Quartet in G minor and Violin Sonata in C minor are also popular in chamber music circles, but the composer's greatest efforts were always directed towards the song genre.
It is salutatory to remark that Grieg actually wrote some 180 songs and almost 60 choral works, not to mention the many folk arrangements. A substantial number of these vocal works were well known and frequently performed during his lifetime, but after his death, they remain the most neglected aspect of his entire output.
This magnificent issue focuses on some of Grieg's most important cycles such as the fateful and rather restrained group of the six Ibsen poems and the docile innocence of "Melodies of the Heart". "Princess" is a solitary song setting relating the predicament of a royal lady just as she hears a horn call from outside her castle, a really beautiful touch.
Karneus and Drake are perfect bedfellows with the music sounding as romantic as one could ever hope for. Sound recording is excellent as are the copious notes provided with the issue. A must for all lovers of song.
Copyright © 2008 by Gerald Fenech