Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sunday Classics preview: More of Grieg's lovely little "Lyric Pieces"


Håkon Austbø plays the "Berceuse" from Book II (Op. 38), one of the Grieg Lyric Pieces we hear below played by Arthur Rubinstein.

by Ken

We're still working our way toward our little computer-style dramatic reenactment of Grieg's music for Ibsen's mind-blowing play Peer Gynt, but I'm afraid we're not going to get there this week. Once again I had a plan. In tonight's preview we would revisit Grieg's little Lyric Pieces, and even the not-so-little but much-loved Piano Concerto. But once again the preview kept growing, to the point where it was too much work for me and too big a burden on the reader for what's supposed to be just a "preview." (I know the quantity of music stuffed into these posts has grown alarmingly, and I hope it's not too daunting. I tell myself it's okay because a blogpost is something that by its very nature you can return to as often as you like, but that could just be something I tell myself.

So once again tonight's "preview" is shoved forward into the main "post" slot tomorrow; tonight we have just a preview of tomorrow; and Peer Gynt will have to cool his heels another week. (It'll be good practice for him. He's used to going wherever he feels like i and doing whatever he feels like whenever he feels like it.)

When we first listened to some of the Lyric Pieces (see the link above), we relied on Peter Katin's remarkable Unicorn-Kanchana recording of all 66 of them, made in the remarkable space of the last few days of 1989. But I also threw in two performances by the great Arthur Rubinstein. This week we're going to hear more Lyric Pieces from Rubinstein, again set alongside other pianists' versions. But for tonight's preview, we're going to let the master have his own, strikingly unsentimental way with these four:

Cradle Song, Book IX (Op. 68), No. 5

Spring Dance, Book IV (Op. 47), No. 6

Berceuse, Book II (Op. 38), No. 1

Folk Song, Book II (Op. 38), No. 2

Arthur Rubinstein, piano. RCA/BMG, recorded 1953


More of the Lyric Pieces, played by Arthur Rubinstein and other pianists, plus Rubinstein's first recording of the Grieg Piano Concerto in better sound than we heard before. [And, as it turned out, Grieg's G minor String Quartet as a special bonus!]


The current list is here.

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At 9:31 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

very pretty...and yes a little daunted recently but also on the road with slower connections, don't stop.



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