Ted's Piano World *


PIANO CONCERTO IN A MINOR Edvard Grieg

Norwegian audiences of the day had limited interest in serious music; at one point, Grieg and his friends had given up trying to perform much of anything outside their own homes.  In contrast, Danish audiences were enthusiastic, particularly toward Scandinavian music.  Consequently, it was arranged that this work first be performed outside the composer's native land.

Grieg had planned to play the solo part himself; however, due to scheduling commitments with the Oslo orchestra, he was unable to attend the premiere on April 3, 1869, in Copenhagen.  This was unfortunate indeed, as he missed out on the crowning moment of his early career — at age 25.  The three prominent local critics proved highly appreciative, and there were numerous instances of thunderous choruses of applause throughout the performance.  Also in the audience was piano virtuoso Anton Rubinstein, who declared himself "astounded to have heard a composition of such genius".  The score was dedicated to Edmund Neupert, the piano soloist for the premiere.

Subsequently, the work was well-received in Oslo, but the composer's greater triumph came later by way of an invitation to the home of Franz Liszt, who had been impressed by a Grieg violin sonata.  Sight-reading the concerto score as only he could, Liszt stopped excitedly near the end and strode about the room with arms raised, singing the theme at the top of his voice.  After repeating the work, Liszt said, "Carry on, my friend; you have the real stuff in you."

That was high praise indeed from the consummate musician.  Similar accolades were forthcoming from the likes of Pyotr Tchaikovsky, and the A-minor Concerto has been a worldwide favorite ever since.  Inspired at least in part by the recent birth of Grieg's only child, it is rife with Norwegian folk dance elements and rhythms; its invention, sparkle, and originality cannot help but please the ear.

Judging from the extent of this testimonial, it should come as no surprise to you that this concerto is my personal favorite.  It is a primary goal to play it for my friends — with electronic assistance, of course.

As not all of us can play as well as Artur Rubinstein, some tempos have been reduced, and certain measures with cadenzas or many grace notes have been increased in duration; all such adjustments are indicated on the piano-only score and are flagged by barlines — double for standard tempo or key changes, solid for others.  The playback files incorporate these timing changes; there are no other adjustments such as accellerandos or ritards.  Sorry.  Virtuosos desiring to play at full speed could make the necessary adjustments using their own midi software.

The only lead-in for the first movement is the built-in 1-measure drum roll.  Admittedly, coordinating the 35-bar cadenza with the reappearance of the orchestra would be difficult without visual or pedal-driven assistance from appropriate software.

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SAMPLES SIZE
Concerto A-1st  .mid Preview (11:48) 165 kb
1st movement, page 1 33 pages 174 kb
2nd movement, page 34 12 pages228 kb
3rd movement, page 46 59 pages189 kb
Piano part, page 1 14 pages186 kb

DOWNLOAD
Concerto A-Mv1-orchestra  .mp3 Orchestra, 1st movement  9.8 mb
Concerto A-Mv2-orchestra  .mp3 Orchestra, 2nd movement  5.5 mb
Concerto A-Mv3-orchestra  .mp3 Orchestra, 3rd movement  9.3 mb
Concerto A-sheet music  .zip 104 + 33 pages, pdf format  3.6 mb
ConcertoA  .zip 3 MIDI files,
6 Finale 2005 files,
6 XML transportable files
 1.6 mb

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