Peer Gynt

The Play

Peer Gynt is a play written by a famous Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote the five act play based on a folk hero named Peer Gynt. The play is written in poetry and wasn't originally written to be put on the stage. But a few years after he wrote the play Ibsen decided to put it on the stage and asked Edvard Grieg to write the music. Grieg found that writing music for Peer Gynt was really difficult and it took him more than a year to complete the music. He conducted the first performance in 1876 but kept working on the music and revising it. The 90 minute score wasn't published until a year after Grieg died.

The Suites

About ten years after Peer Gynt was performed, Grieg took four sections of the music from the play and put them into a  suite  (pronounced "sweet"). A Suite is a collection of short musical pieces which can be played one after another. In the Baroque Period, the pieces were usually dances but in later periods they were often music from plays.

Grieg arranged two suites of music from Peer Gynt and they are some of his most popular compositions.

 

Suite No. 1, Op. 46

  1. Morning Mood 

  2. The Death of Ase 

  3. Anitra's Dance 

  4. In the Hall of the Mountain King 

Suite No. 2, Op. 55

  1. The Abduction of the Bride. Ingrid's Lament

  2. Arabian Dance 

  3. Peer Gynt's Homecoming (Stormy Evening on the Sea) 

  4. Solveig's Song 

Both "Morning Mood" and "In the Hall of the Mountain King" are used in many different movies, commercials and even Minecraft. Jazz composer, Duke Ellington, also arranged the suite in Jazz Style. Here are some unusual performances of those pieces. You can see more videos on the Grieg Music and Videos page.

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