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Book Review: Edvard Grieg

by David Monrad Johansen
1938

translated from the original Norwegian by Madge Robertson

This is a very interesting book about one of the great Norwegians, composer Edvard Grieg. The book is divided into the periods of Grieg’s life: Childhood; Student Days in Leipzig; Results of Leipzig; Youthful Years in Denmark; Christiania Period; Bergen and Lofthus; Troldhaugen; and The Last Years.

I was very impressed with the great enthusiasm of the author and with his enormous respect and admiration for his subject, Edvard Grieg. I could tell from the outset that this biography would be very positive in tone.

I was very interested in the tremendous love of Grieg for Norway, especially the nature of Norway, and how passionate he was about maintaining his Norwegian-ness in his works. I learned a lot about Grieg’s work as the author went into great detail about how each work was created and what its elements were. I learned about the lack of a sense of a specific Norwegian culture at the time of Grieg’s life and how he, along with Bjornson, Ibsen, and others tried to encourage and foster a Norwegian cultural identity.
           
Grieg was a great artist, and fortunately he was greatly appreciated during his lifetime. According to this biographer, 500 people attended his funeral in the church while 30,000 to 40,000 people were assembled outside to pay him homage. He was loved and revered in his own country as well as abroad.

- Review by Christine Foster Meloni