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Peer Gynt Suites Nos. 1 & 2, Sigurd Jorsalfar: 3 Pieces, Holberg Suite, Piano Concerto, Lyric Pieces, Norwegian Dances.
Stephen Kovacevich · Emil Gilels · Sir Colin Davis · BBC Symphony Orchestra· Berliner Philharmoniker · Herbert von Karajan
DG Panorama 469-142-2 146m DDD/ADD

This useful collection of popular Grieg repackages Karajan's excellently polished digital recordings of the 'Peer Gynt' excerpts. The great Austrian conductor finds much magic, mystery and poetry in proceedings especially in the famous 'Death of Aase' and 'Morning' pieces. We also have his analogue renditions of the Holberg and Sigurd Jorsalfar excerpts which match string playing of astonishing BPO vintage with the pompous plodding of the Homage March, striking contrasts indeed! The second disc contains a serviceable recording of the Piano Concerto (from Philips), Emil Gilels outstanding recording of the Lyric Pieces and Neeme Jaarvi's cloudily recorded 'Norwegian Dances' that hail from the Estonian conductor's fine survey of complete Grieg works. The pick of the lot from this issue must be Gilels who is fascinatingly imaginative in all the Lyric Pieces. DG have added an interesting historical timetable to their notes and the recordings have resurfaced as fresh as a fiddle. Recommended to all those who wish to begin exploring Grieg's unique brand of poetic imagery.

Gerald Fenech

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