Edvard Grieg – Anitra’s Dance
This song is rated: 1 Pill – entry-level for music novices
Last night, Dr. Whuzzerface and I, along with some friends, attended the Phoenix Symphony’s performance of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with acclaimed piano virtuoso Olga Kern. It was an amazing concert. In the first half, they played a symphony by a Polish composer whose work had been previously lost, due to him having to escape the Nazis and then barely survive through Russia under Stalin’s rule, but has recently been gaining more interest. The conductor told us that this was the North American premiere of this particular work. Pretty cool. I just love going to the symphony.
However, for today’s classical post, I’m going to highlight famous Norwegian composer of the late Romantic period, Edvard Grieg, with Anitra’s Dance from his popular Peer Gynt Suite. This music was originally written as incidental music for the play Peer Gynt but these few pieces collected into the suite have lived on as memorable works. You’re probably more familiar with the Peer Gynt Suite than you ever thought: I’m sure you’ll recognize the sounds of Morning Mood and In the Hall of the Mountain King very well. I’ve been familiar with Grieg for years; I’m pretty sure our Peer Gynt CD was one of my favorites for awhile growing up (alas, I think we have since lost that CD), and I also remember always dancing around when In the Hall of the Mountain King came on (more like running in place as if I’m running from the trolls that the song is about…). Some of my favorite piano pieces I’ve played over the years have been by Grieg. He’s probably the most well-known Norwegian composer and often includes Norwegian folk melodies in his music. Apparently, composing Peer Gynt was one of Grieg’s least favorite tasks, particularly In the Hall of the Mountain King, of which he said: “something that I literally can’t stand to listen to because it absolutely reeks of cow pies, ultra-Norwegian-ness and trollish self-sufficiency.” (NY Times article on Grieg)
Anitra’s Dance is one of my favorites from the Peer Gynt Suite. I managed to find a free copy of the violin sheet music online and I plan on tackling it someday, but I’d also love to get my hands on a piano arrangement. I’m not always good at explaining why I love certain classical pieces, so I’ll just let you listen and see if you can discover it for yourself.