Sunday, August 28, 2011

Edvard Grieg - Peer Gynt Suite (Morning Mood)

Edvard Grieg is without doubt Norway's most famous composed.  Much beloved in his country because of the way he included traditional Norwegian music in his works, 40,000 attended his funeral in 1907.

The Peer Gynt Suite is without doubt his most famous work.  Grieg himself didn't much care for it - he wrote it as the score for a Henrik Ibsen play that Grieg thought particularly difficult to adapt music to.  Ironically, some of his distaste related to what made him so popular.  He wrote:
I have also written something for the scene in the hall of the mountain King – something that I literally can't bear listening to because it absolutely reeks of cow-pies, exaggerated Norwegian nationalism, and trollish self-satisfaction! But I have a hunch that the irony will be discernible.
Irony for this piece didn't end with Grieg's death.  The film Soylent Green depicted a dystopian future of overpopulation, where older people were expected to "Go home" via government assisted suicide.  One character is asked by the government operator what sort of music he wanted.  "Light classical" was his ironic reply.  In that scene, Dick van Patten gave what was perhaps his greatest (certainly most ironic) line: Too bad you missed the overture.

Perhaps I'm in the mood for irony, having just embarked in a journey of going home.  Still, it's morning, and I hope the mood is unironic.

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