Violin Sonata No.1 in F major Op.8

Composer: Edvard Grieg (b. 1843 - d. 1907)
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Composer: Edvard Grieg (b. 1843 - d. 1907)

Performance date: 05/07/2017

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1865

Duration: 00:25:31

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Artists: Dénes Várjon - [piano]
Henning Kraggerud - [violin]

F major Sonata was the first violin sonata ever to be composed by a
Norwegian composer, when Grieg was only twenty-two. It is an inspired
work full of youthful high spirits composed in the happy summer of
1865. The great Norwegian patriot Ole Bull had been an early
influence, realising Grieg’s talent and insisting his parents send
the fifteen-year-old boy to Leipzig for the formal theoretical
grounding that Norway could not provide. At that time Norway was
still ruled by Sweden and, as in many subject states around Europe,
there was a strong nationalist independence movement with roots in
the Norwegian folk tradition where the fiddle reigned supreme.

graduated from Leipzig in 1862 and moved to the happier environment
of Copenhagen, which was very much the Nordic cultural capital. There
he fell in love with his cousin, Nina Hagerup, who was both a pianist
and a singer and he wooed her with songs. His other great friend was
the young Norwegian composer, Richard Nordraak, who was a passionate
advocate of his country’s folk music and inspired Grieg to devote
his genius to Norwegian melody and to create a specifically national
art – the sound of Grieg’s violin was to become the sound of
Norway and its longing for independence.

these influences came together to create the flow of delighted
inspiration that led to this glorious work. It begins in an
extraordinary way with two drawn-out minor chords in the piano before
the violin brushes such introspection on one side with an overflowing
abundance of one beguiling melody after another. The music sweeps
over us in waves, occasionally pausing for breath before conjuring up
another idea.

doubles as slow movement and Scherzo, beginning with a gentle,
folk-derived tune that is picked out on the piano before the violin
takes over. The trio is something else altogether as the violin does
its level best to pretend to be a
fiddle with its extra resonating strings, something that only
violinists who have played Norwegian folk music may be able to bring
off. The Finale is another high-spirited profusion of melodies, ideas
literally falling over each other, with a spectacular
for a showboat conclusion.