This sunset makes me a little nostalgic. A week at the Channel. A cozy evening in a beachhouse. Dinner outside, tea and cookies inside when the fresh land breeze had set in. Reading, chatting, watching the sun, the few seconds it takes to disappear, that magic afterglow in the sky. And Edvard Grieg. A happy moment.
Here is a little gem. In many respects. A wonderful piece. Extraordinary artists. Add the two and you get a great musical moment. The piece: Sonata in A minor for Cello and Piano, op. 36, written by Edvard Grieg. The artists: Françoise Groben playing the cello and Alfredo Perl at the piano. Perl is a Chilean-German pianist and conductor, known for his Beethoven interpretations. Mrs. Groben was a Luxembourg cellist, no, she was THE Luxembourg cellist.
The first cadences could well illustrate the moment a discoverer’s ship leaves the port of Oslo: majestic, full of hope, peaceful. But Edvard Grieg had something totally different in mind when he composed the “Holberg Suite”, op. 40. He had been tasked to write a piece to commemorate the 200th birthday of the Danish poet Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754). Continue reading!
Here is the truth: I can’t remember how I came across this guy. Röntgen. Conrad Röntgen? The guy who discovered the X rays? What has he got to do with music? Nothing. I mean Julius Röntgen. The composer. Oh! Röntgen was a Dutch-German composer (1855-1932) and wrote some 600 works that are mostly forgotten. What better reason could I have to present him here? He was born in Leipzig and soon proved to very gifted. He began to compose when he was still a young boy. His mother was a good pianist, his father led the orchestra of the Leipzig concert hall, the Gewandhaus, and both had taught him before he started the real thing: studying music in Leipzig and Munich. He became a music teacher and professional pianist when he moved to Amsterdam at 22. He taught there until 1925, when he turned 70, and he was heavily involved in convincing the Dutch to build a new concert hall in Amsterdam, the actual Concertgebouw. So far for his biography.