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Reviews: Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites - Ruud

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Reviews: 4

Site review by Polly Nomial February 12, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Review by wehecht December 9, 2006 (6 of 7 found this review helpful)
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Recently I was driving my daughter's car, which is old enough to lack a cd player. As a result I was scanning up and down the FM band and heard a familiar melody, which I couldn't immediately place. Far several minutes I did my best Glenn Gould imitation, singing along with the music, occasionally in tune. I was really enjoying this piece which I knew well but couldn't name, and I realized I had not heard it in a very long time. Eventually, of course, the penny dropped and I recognized that I was listening to the incidental music from Peer Gynt. Those very enjoyable few minutes in the car caused me to place an order for this disc as soon as I got home. I presume that this recording of the suites is excerpted from BIS' recording of the complete Peer Gynt music which has been very favorably reviewed elsewhere on this site. Grieg came to almost regret the popularity of the Peer Gynt music, its prevalence in numerous strange arrangements, and the way it overshadowed his other works, excepting, always, the piano concerto. Nonetheless this is simply great fun, the suites providing over a half hour of uninterrupted melody, colorfully orchestrated. The music is beautifully played by the Bergen Philharmonic under Ole Kristian Ruud, and recorded in fabulous sound. Timbres are perfectly rendered, dynamics are realistic, and the orchestral image has an entirely appropriate scale, with clear impressions of width, depth, and height. In my room, on my equipment, this is as good as it gets.

In addition to the PG suites the disc contains two terrific short pieces, a moving funeral march for Grieg's friend Rikard Nordraak, and the evocative "Bell Ringing", a highly impressionistic orchestration of one of the "lyric pieces" originally for piano. The other sizable piece, a set of variations on an old Norwegian tune, is not out of Grieg's top drawer but is still a pleasant enough listen for 25 minutes. All in all, a wonderful disc.

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Review by bissie December 11, 2006 (11 of 11 found this review helpful)
Thanking wehecht for his review, let me just point out that the Peer Gynt Suites were NOT extracted from the Complete Peer Gynt, recorded earlier. They were recorded anew in the version that Grieg himself made. For obvious reasons, I cannot grade my own SA-CD, but I do like it immensely...

Best - Robert (von Bahr), CEO, BIS Records

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Review by JJ May 28, 2007 (5 of 10 found this review helpful)
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Avec cet enregistrement miraculeux des deux Suites pour orchestre d’Edvard Grieg, d’après la pièce d’Ibsen, Peer Gynt, le chef d’orchestre Ole Kristian Ruud nous démontre une nouvelle fois son grand talent. Phrasés, coloris, respirations se conjuguent au sein d’un discours musical au naturel évident. Ruud souligne le drame avec ferveur et puissance, faisant de la musique un des principaux personnages de la pièce d’Ibsen. Rarement, le poids dramatique de ces œuvres célébrissimes n’aura été aussi tangible. Avec la Marche Funèbre à la mémoire de Rikard Nordraak, Grieg rend un hommage vibrant à son ami disparu. « La nouvelle la plus triste qui pouvait me frapper – Nordraak est mort – mon seul ami et l’espoir de la culture norvégienne. Quelles ténèbres m’entourent maintenant. Et il n’y a personne ici qui puisse comprendre ma peine. Trouvons donc consolation dans la musique, elle qui ne m’a jamais fait défaut en temps de deuil ! » Écrivait le compositeur dans son journal en 1866. Le programme de ce disque s’achève avec la Vieille Mélodie Norvégienne et Variations op. 51, composée à l’origine pour deux pianos, ainsi que Son de Cloche op. 54 N°6 tiré de la Suite Lyrique et dont Grieg disait à son propos : « A mon avis, la seule chose discutable au sujet de la suite est que, quand le public aura entendu Son de Cloche, il pensera que je suis devenu fou… ». Voici donc un Super Audio CD stéréo et multicanal de tout premier plan qui poursuit, avec bonheur, l’enregistrement intégral de la musique de Grieg, par un de ses plus grands représentants.

Jean-Jacques Millo

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