Hey, there are songs in Classical Music, too! Maybe you think you don’t like that stuff? Stick around and give this one a listen. This Song is the last movement of Peer Gynt Suite #2 by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, dating from 1876. It’s exceptionally beautiful, one of the great melodies of all time. I encountered it some decades ago, when my cello teacher assigned it to me, and it works well on that instrument. I loved playing it and now I love listening to it.

It turns out there are a lot of ways to perform this; while I mentioned cello, it’s often played as a piece for orchestra; the version I happen to have is from a 1989 Karajan/BPO outing and it’s lovely, but I’m not going to claim that it’s definitive, I’ve seen rave reviews of Beecham’s 1957 (!) recording, and I enjoyed listening to four different takes on Spotify; if you’ve got some extra minutes, you might want to do that and marvel at the huge differences following on small changes in tempo and balance. In this piece, a lot depends on getting a big-but-soft sound out of your violin sections.

But it’s not just an orchestral piece, it’s a song too; see below.

This is part of the Song of the Day series (background).

Links · I already covered Spotify; you can get the Karajan version I have from iTunes or Amazon. Now, as for live-video links… pull up a comfy chair, sit down, and take in this performance by Sissel Kyrkjebø from Norwegian TV. I’d never heard of Ms Kyrkjebø, generally just called Sissel, before this. The video and audio are a little out of sync in this performance, but oh my goodness gracious, here is a woman who has her mojo working and knows it. Awesome.


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From: Ianjs (Jan 07 2018, at 01:32)

Wow. Thanks for that. That was stunning.

I have been listening to the Peer Gynt Suite since I was a kid but they were always the orchestral arrangements and (believe it or not) it never occurred to me that Solveig's Song was an actual song.

Hearing that familiar, haunting melody sung so beautifully brought a tear to my eye.


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