The Songs of Edvard Grieg

The Songs of Edvard Grieg

Beryl Foster


Boydell Press



Comprehensive survey of Grieg's 180 songs, considering particularly questions and issues of performance.
Edvard Grieg's 180 songs mirror his artistic and personal development more intimately than any of his other music, yet are still the least known part of his output. This definitive appraisal, now revised and updated, discusses every song, including those left only in manuscript and sketches at the composer's death, set against the background of his life and times. It also deals with the poetry set, often chosen to reflect his current situation, and the poets, several of whom, including great figures of the day such as Ibsen and Bjornson, were his friends and colleagues. Grieg frequently bemoaned poor translations and indifferent performances, and the various editions and translations, from first publication to the present day, are also discussed, together with his own ideas for interpretation. Musical examples and analysis are included to give a closer understanding of Grieg's word-setting and harmonic development, although their performance is always kept paramount.

BERYL FOSTER is a graduate of London University and studied singing in Colchester and at the Royal College of Music. As well as all the usual repertoire, since 1980 she has made a particular study of the songs of Grieg and other Norwegian composers, giving recitals, lectures and workshops in Britain, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and China. She is also a private teacher and festival adjudicator.


September 2007
28 line illustrations
280 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843833437
Format: Paperback
Library eBook
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Folk-song to Art-song
Translation and Interpretation
`Melodies of the Heart'
`A balanced mind, a spiritual vitality...'
`The claim of the ideal'
`...awakened from a long, long trance'
`The Mountain Thrall'
`The Goal'
Travels and `Travel Memories'
`Music's torch, which ever burns...'


All is admiration for a study which, as well as fulfilling those old cliches "essential" and "important", is most readably written. More than being just a guide to the songs, it becomes en route one of the most perceptive, and detailed, books in English on the composer yet published. GRAMOPHONE

Beryl Foster's authoritative study can claim to be the most thorough investigation of this repertoire yet to have appeared in English, and is likely to remain the standard work on the subject for many years to come. TLS (Robert Layton)

Beryl Foster's Songs of Edvard Grieg is a wonder...her scholarship and musicianship are writ large throughout its pages. ANGLO-NORSE REVIEW (Lionel Carley)

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