Grieg Symphonic Dances Program Notes
In his twenties, a close friend introduced Grieg to the huge Older and Newer Norwegian Mountain Melodies collected by Ludwig Mathais Lindeman. Grieg would spend much of his career crafting these melodies (as well as his own) into a Norwegian national style. In doing so, he would become a central figure of Norwegian culture, even when living in neighboring Denmark, where many of Norway’s most influential cultural figures lived and worked (since Norway was considered quite provincial at the time). In all four Symphonic Dances, the movement’s opening section returns after a contrasting middle section (A-B-A, or ternary form). Grieg’s beautiful melodic sensibility, charming use of woodwind solos, and string writing, make for a sometimes-wistful diversion, with great opportunities for musical expression throughout the orchestra.