Donald Macleod explores the life of the Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg.
Donald Macleod begins by exploring the music heard at the first of two poignant memorial concerts held in London following Grieg's death a century ago, and looks at how Britain reflected on the loss of one of its most loved foreign composers. The second of two memorial concerts held in London following Grieg's death in 1907 was a chamber music event. Donald Macleod investigates the music and artists who performed and also considers the Scottish ancestry to be found in the Norwegian composer's family tree.
Donald Macleod asks what made the pervasive Norwegian identity in Grieg's music so attractive to audiences in Britain, from his landmark pieces to his later, more complex compositions; exploring some of the personal encounters with British people that helped to shape Grieg's life, from his long-standing friendship with composer Frederick Delius to a meeting in Birmingham with a church leader that precipitated a change in the Norwegian's spiritual outlook.
Musical Britain was greatly excited about Grieg's London debut in 1888. Albums of his piano pieces were already popular in homes across the country, and his arrival on stage here as a concert pianist was held up by the storm of applause that greeted him. Donald Macleod concludes by looking at Grieg's reception in British concert halls and considers whether the composer was held in equally high esteem as a pianist.