Hommage à Grieg, Vol I - Dena Piano Duo

Hommage à Grieg, Vol I - Dena Piano Duo

2L  2L-040-SACD

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Instrumental

Mozart (arr. Grieg): Sonata in C major K.545, Sonata in F major K.533/494, Sonata in G major K.283, Sonata in C minor K.475/457

Dena Piano Duo:
Tina Margareta Nilssen
Heide Görtz

Mozart was without a doubt one of Edvard Grieg's favourite composers. When his mother gave lessons or entertained family and friends for an evening of music, it was the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart which made the greatest impression on him. During the winter of 1876/77 he arranged four of Mozart's nineteen piano sonatas for two pianos by adding his own, newly composed part. What is special about Grieg's adaptations of the Mozart sonatas is that he has not reworked them in the traditional - and perhaps derogatory - manner.

Grieg's unusual achievement lies in the fact that he has retained Mozart's text unchanged, adding an entirely new part which can be performed together with the original. When both parts are played, they interweave and become something entirely new. Two different musical styles meet in dialogue, ending up in a symbiosis of colour and texture. Mozart's music expands in time and space. Grieg's additional piano part is a romantic's respectful embrace, a romantic commentary; Mozart in romantic guise.

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Reviews (1)

Review by John Broggio - June 3, 2007

Here is another set of the piano sonatas of Mozart to which Grieg wrote an additional piano score. Whilst the harmonic language and, on occasion, style of counter-melody employed by Grieg can seem a bit gauche to modern ears (especially those devoted to HIP), there is no denying the great pleasure that this duo take in playing this music, the stunning recording by 2L or the (ever so slightly guilty) smile that consistently spreads across my face when listening.

The Dena Piano Duo (Tina Margareta Nilssen and Heide Görtz) take it in turns to play the first and second parts and they are completely indistinguishable in approach to the music. The clarity is not just down to the wonderful recording but their highly sensitive and delicate touch. The timings of each movement are conventional and allow the original and the additional musical language to be easily conveyed. Their phrasing is delightful and in each movement there are moments when I defy any listener not to smile with pleasure both from the original Mozart but also the embellishments that Grieg supplied. I have not heard the competing Mozart-Grieg: Piano Sonatas - Piano Duo Trenkner/Speidel but cannot imagine it surpassing this issue.

The sound is very clear and precise – a difficulty even with one piano, let alone two. Whilst the sound of the instruments is bright, they are naturally so – some pianos are voiced to give this lighter sound; these are clearly two of them. Other performers and listeners have expressed a distinct preference for Bosendorfer in this repertoire (if not going fully down the HIP road) but the sound here should not be a barrier to all but the most hardened opinion holders.

Very good and very enjoyable indeed – highly recommended. Once again, 2L have a real winner!

Copyright © 2007 John Broggio and


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Comments (4)

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - January 11, 2016 (1 of 4)

Can’t help having mixed feelings about these musical experiments. Agreed: Grieg’s craftsmanship is excellent and the playing is lovely. But… ‘Arranging’ Mozart in a novel way, with add-on and filling up ‘gaps’ has something unnatural. Add-on cloud and divert the composer's intention, and empty spaces form an integral part of a composition. It would seem to me as though Mozart has been hacked and subsequently hi-jacked by Grieg, resulting in a product that is neither fish nor meat. Recommended for filling-up your curiosa cabinet.

Comment by John Broggio - January 17, 2016 (2 of 4)

Agreed - but it's rather good hijacking IMHO!

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - December 25, 2022 (3 of 4)

Interesting thought: "The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between." - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Comment by hiredfox - December 30, 2022 (4 of 4)

Ah! yes but as Emperor Joseph II once said to Wolfgang Amadeus about a newly performed opera "too may notes dear Mozart, too many notes!"

Perhaps leaving too few silences to form the music?