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,
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
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.
|Concerto A-1st .mid||Preview (11:48)||165 kb|
|1st movement, page 1||33 pages||174 kb|
|2nd movement, page 34||12 pages||228 kb|
|3rd movement, page 46||59 pages||189 kb|
|Piano part, page 1||14 pages||186 kb|
|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