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Nathan Howard
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Download Peer Gynt Suite No. 1 Op. 46 and Learn More About Grieg's Famous Incidental Music


Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46: A Masterpiece by Edvard Grieg




If you are a fan of classical music, you have probably heard of Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, a collection of four orchestral pieces by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg. This suite is one of Grieg's most famous and beloved works, and it contains some of his most recognizable melodies, such as Morning Mood, The Death of Åse, Anitra's Dance, and In the Hall of the Mountain King. But do you know the story behind this suite? Do you know how it was composed and what it represents? Do you know how it has influenced other composers and artists over time? In this article, we will explore these questions and more, as we delve into the fascinating world of Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46.




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Introduction




Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 is not a standalone work, but rather a selection of music from a larger work called Peer Gynt, which is an incidental music composed by Grieg for a play of the same name by his fellow Norwegian Henrik Ibsen. Incidental music is music that accompanies a dramatic work, such as a play or a film, to enhance its mood, atmosphere, and expression.


Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was one of the most prominent composers of the Romantic era, a period in music history that spanned He spent two years working on the music, and composed 26 pieces for the play, totaling about 90 minutes of music. He used various musical techniques and devices to create different moods and effects, such as leitmotifs, thematic development, contrast, and instrumentation. He also incorporated some Norwegian folk tunes and dances into his music, to reflect the national and cultural identity of the play.


The incidental music for Peer Gynt was well received by the audience and the critics, and Grieg was praised for his skill and creativity. However, Grieg himself was not satisfied with his work, and he felt that some of the music was too weak or too dependent on the play. He decided to revise and rearrange some of the music into two separate suites, each consisting of four movements. He published the first suite, Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, in 1888, and the second suite, Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55, in 1893. These suites were intended to be performed as independent concert pieces, without the need for the play.


The Four Movements of Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46




The four movements of Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 are based on four scenes from the play, each representing a different stage or aspect of Peer Gynt's life and journey. They are:



Movement


Scene


Act


Morning Mood


The Moroccan Desert


IV


The Death of Åse


Peer Gynt's Home


III


Anitra's Dance


The Oasis


IV


In the Hall of the Mountain King


The Mountain King's Hall


I


Let us take a closer look at each movement and see how Grieg composed them.


Morning Mood: A Serene and Idyllic Scene




This movement is one of the most famous and popular pieces by Grieg, and it is often used as a symbol of dawn or morning in various contexts. It is played at the beginning of Act IV of the play, when Peer Gynt wakes up in the Moroccan desert after being abandoned by his companions. He sees the sun rising over the horizon, and he feels a sense of peace and wonder.


The music is written in E major, a bright and cheerful key, and it has a slow tempo and a simple meter. It begins with a solo flute playing a gentle and lyrical melody, accompanied by soft strings and harp. This melody is repeated several times, with slight variations and modulations, creating a sense of calmness and beauty. The melody is then taken over by other instruments, such as oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, and violin, adding more color and texture to the music. The music gradually builds up to a climax, where all the instruments play together in harmony, before fading away to a quiet ending.


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The music evokes the mood of a sunrise in the desert by using various musical elements, such as:



  • The flute melody represents the sun's rays shining through the clouds.



  • The strings and harp create a smooth and warm background that suggests the sand and the sky.



  • The modulations from E major to C major and back create a contrast between light and dark.



  • The crescendo and diminuendo express the rising and falling of the sun.



  • The simple rhythm and harmony convey a sense of tranquility and simplicity.



This movement is a masterpiece of musical impressionism, as it paints a vivid picture of a scene with sound. The Death of Åse: A Tragic and Emotional Moment




This movement is one of the most poignant and expressive pieces by Grieg, and it is often used as a symbol of sadness or grief in various contexts. It is played in Act III of the play, when Peer Gynt returns to his home after many years of wandering, and finds his mother, Åse, dying. He tries to comfort her by telling her stories of his adventures, but she is too weak to listen. He holds her in his arms as she breathes her last.


The music is written in B minor, a dark and somber key, and it has a slow tempo and a complex meter. It begins with a solo viola playing a mournful and melancholic melody, accompanied by low strings and timpani. This melody is repeated several times, with slight variations and embellishments, creating a sense of sorrow and regret. The melody is then taken over by other instruments, such as cello, bassoon, horn, and clarinet, adding more depth and emotion to the music. The music gradually builds up to a climax, where all the instruments play together in dissonance, before fading away to a silent ending.


The music expresses the grief and sorrow of Peer Gynt for his mother's death by using various musical elements, such as:



  • The viola melody represents the voice of Åse, weak and fading.



  • The low strings and timpani create a dark and heavy background that suggests the gravity of the situation.



  • The variations and embellishments of the melody convey the agitation and desperation of Peer Gynt.



  • The crescendo and dissonance express the intensity and pain of the loss.



  • The silence at the end signifies the finality and emptiness of death.



This movement is a masterpiece of musical expressionism, as it communicates a powerful emotion with sound. Anitra's Dance: A Seductive and Exotic Dance




This movement is one of the most lively and playful pieces by Grieg, and it is often used as a symbol of seduction or exoticism in various contexts. It is played in Act IV of the play, when Peer Gynt meets Anitra, a beautiful and cunning desert princess, who pretends to be in love with him. She dances for him and flatters him, while secretly planning to rob him of his money and jewels.


The music is written in A minor, a bright and energetic key, and it has a fast tempo and a simple meter. It begins with a solo violin playing a catchy and rhythmic melody, accompanied by plucked strings and tambourine. This melody is repeated several times, with slight variations and ornaments, creating a sense of charm and flirtation. The melody is then taken over by other instruments, such as flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, and trumpet, adding more color and sparkle to the music. The music gradually builds up to a climax, where all the instruments play together in syncopation, before ending with a flourish.


The music portrays the allure and charm of Anitra by using various musical elements, such as:



  • The violin melody represents the movement and grace of Anitra's dance.



  • The plucked strings and tambourine create a light and crisp background that suggests the desert environment.



  • The variations and ornaments of the melody convey the personality and wit of Anitra.



  • The crescendo and syncopation express the excitement and tension of the scene.



  • The flourish at the end signifies the triumph and deception of Anitra.



This movement is a masterpiece of musical characterization, as it depicts a vivid character with sound. In the Hall of the Mountain King: A Frenzied and Dramatic Chase




This movement is one of the most thrilling and dramatic pieces by Grieg, and it is often used as a symbol of tension or danger in various contexts. It is played in Act I of the play, when Peer Gynt enters the hall of the Mountain King, the king of the trolls, who wants to marry him to his daughter. Peer Gynt rejects the offer and insults the trolls, who then chase him out of the hall.


The music is written in B minor, a dark and ominous key, and it has a fast tempo and a complex meter. It begins with a low string playing a short and simple melody, accompanied by a bass drum. This melody is repeated several times, with slight variations and additions, creating a sense of repetition and anticipation. The melody is then taken over by other instruments, such as viola, cello, bassoon, clarinet, horn, and trumpet, adding more volume and intensity to the music. The music gradually builds up to a climax, where all the instruments play together in a frenzy, before ending with a bang.


The music depicts the tension and danger of Peer Gynt's escape from the trolls by using various musical elements, such as:



  • The low string melody represents the footsteps of the trolls.



  • The bass drum creates a loud and menacing background that suggests the heartbeat of Peer Gynt.



  • The variations and additions of the melody convey the increasing number and speed of the trolls.



  • The crescendo and frenzy express the panic and fear of Peer Gynt.



  • The bang at the end signifies the escape or capture of Peer Gynt.



This movement is a masterpiece of musical drama, as it creates a suspenseful and exciting scene with sound.


The Legacy and Influence of Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46




Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 is not only a masterpiece by Grieg, but also a masterpiece in the history of music. It has left a lasting legacy and influence on many other composers and artists in various genres and media. Some examples are:



  • Grieg created two suites from his original incidental music for Peer Gynt, but he also arranged some of the music for other combinations of instruments, such as piano solo, piano duet, violin and piano, and organ. These arrangements have made Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 more accessible and popular among musicians and listeners of different levels and preferences.



  • Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 has become one of Grieg's most popular and well-known works, and it has established him as one of the greatest composers of the Romantic era and of Norway. It has also contributed to the recognition and appreciation of Norwegian music and culture around the world.



  • Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 has inspired and influenced other composers and artists in various genres and media, such as classical music, jazz, rock, pop, film, television, video games, literature, and art. Some examples are:




  • Morning Mood has been used or adapted in many films and TV shows, such as Monty Python's Flying Circus, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Madagascar, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, South Park, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, Breaking Bad, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Modern Family, Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers, M*A*S*H, The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, The Hunger Games, Frozen, Toy Story, The Lion King, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and many more.



  • The Death of Åse has been used or adapted in many films and TV shows, such as The Godfather Part III, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Full Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Schindler's List, The Pianist, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Diary of Anne Frank, Titanic, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, and many more.



  • Anitra's Dance has been used or adapted in many films and TV shows, such as Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, Indiana Jones, Aladdin, The Prince of Persia, Sex and the City 2, Game of Thrones, Homeland, NCIS, Criminal Minds, CSI, Bones, House, Grey's Anatomy, ER, Scrubs, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Seinfeld, The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants, and many more.



  • In the Hall of the Mountain King has been used or adapted in many films and TV shows, such as The Social Network, The King's Speech, The Avengers, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, The Lion King, Frozen, Shrek, The Muppet Show, Sesame Street, The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants, South Park, Family Guy, and many more.




Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 has also been performed and recorded by many orchestras, conductors, and musicians around the world, and it has been praised and admired by many critics and audiences. It is widely considered as one of the greatest and most influential works of classical music ever written.


Conclusion




In conclusion, Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 is a masterpiece by Edvard Grieg that showcases his musical genius and creativity. It is a selection of music from his incidental music for Peer Gynt, a play by Henrik Ibsen that tells the story of a young man's adventures and quest for identity. It consists of four movements that are based on four scenes from the play, each representing a different stage or aspect of Peer Gynt's life and journey. It uses various musical elements and techniques to create different moods and effects, such as melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, tempo, key, modulation, contrast, instrumentation, leitmotif, thematic development, impressionism, expressionism, and characterization. It has left a lasting legacy and influence on many other composers and artists in various genres and media, such as classical music, jazz, rock, pop, film, television, video games, literature, and art. It has become one of Grieg's most popular and well-known works, and one of the greatest and most influential works of classical music ever written.


If you are interested in listening to or learning more about Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46, you can find many resources online or offline. You can listen to the suite on YouTube, Spotify, or other streaming platforms. You can read the score on IMSLP, Musicnotes, or other sheet music websites. You can watch the play on YouTube, Amazon Prime, or other video platforms. You can read the play on Project Gutenberg, Google Books, or other e-book websites. You can also find many articles, books, podcasts, documentaries, and courses that discuss and analyze Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 in depth and detail.


Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 is a masterpiece that deserves your attention and appreciation. It is a musical journey that will take you to different places and times, and make you feel different emotions and sensations. It is a musical treasure that will enrich your mind and soul.


FAQs




Here are some common questions and answers about Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46:



  • Q: What is the difference between Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 and Peer Gynt Suite No. 2 , Op. 55?



  • A: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 and Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55 are both selections of music from Grieg's incidental music for Peer Gynt, a play by Ibsen. They are both composed of four movements each, but they are based on different scenes from the play. Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 is based on scenes from Act I and Act IV of the play, while Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55 is based on scenes from Act II and Act V of the play. Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 is more famous and popular than Peer Gynt Suite No. 2, Op. 55, but they are both considered as masterpieces by Grieg.



  • Q: What is the meaning of the title Peer Gynt?



  • A: Peer Gynt is the name of the main character of the play by Ibsen, and it is also the name of the Norwegian fairy tale that inspired the play. The name Peer Gynt has no definitive meaning or origin, but it may be derived from the Old Norse word per, which means "a person", or the Norwegian word gynte, which means "a wanderer". The name Peer Gynt may also be a pun on the word per gynt, which means "per lie" in Norwegian, reflecting the character's tendency to lie and exaggerate.



  • Q: What is the genre and style of Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46?



A: Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 is a genre of classical music called orchestral suite, which is a collection of short pieces for orchestra t


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