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Ibsen and music

Grieg and Ibsen


Edvard Grieg, 1880. Photo: E. Bieber
At year-end the Ibsen Year 2006 baton was passed on to Grieg Year 2007. The one deceased genius is hereby commemorated after the other. In the case of Grieg and Ibsen however, the transition is more finely tuned than one might imagine. The connections between the two great minds are numerous and deep. Peer Gynt has immortalised them both and this work lives now literally a worldwide existence as a "three-headed troll": as the orchestral suites (op. 46 and 55), as the stage version with the music of Edvard Grieg and as the stage version without Griegīs music. But Peer Gynt was not the only work by Ibsen that Grieg put to music.

Operas based on Ibsenís works

Ibsen was apparently not particularly musical, but his repeated attempts to write opera librettos for his dramas testify to a great interest in the possibility of combining music and theatre. Ibsen never managed personally to create opera, but his works have nonetheless left an influential mark on opera history.

Terje Vigen is music!

Ibsenīs best known and beloved poem, Terje Vigen, is an epic about atonement and forgiveness. With its melodramatic plot in perfectly forged rhyme and rhythmic form, crafted in the incomparable Ibsen-esque style, the poem holds a strong appeal to all manner of composers and musicians. The epic poem has been rendered in a myriad of musical styles.