Edvard Grieg: 16 Lyric Pieces

“I was surprised just how well these transcriptions really worked, and if any of you have yet to hear any of this material, and only think of Grieg as the writer of the Piano Concerto and the Holberg Suite, think again.” Chris Dumigan, Classical Guitar Magazine, May 2003. (See the full text of this review below.)

Edvard Grieg: 16 Lyric Pieces is published by Mel Bay Publications and includes sixteen solo classical guitar transcriptions in standard notation with extensive performance and analytical notes for each piece. The joining of Grieg's music and the classical guitar seems to be a most obvious and fruitful endeavor, yet, with a few exceptions, this wonderful music has been overlooked by guitarists. This collection presents transcriptions from Grieg's best known and loved piano works. 72 pages.

 


Edvard Grieg: 16 Lyric Pieces
Transcribed for guitar by Richard Yates
Published by Mel Bay Publications, Inc. 70 pages.
Review by Chris Dumigan, Classical Guitar Magazine, May 2003

As far as I am aware, this composer’s works have not often been attempted on the guitar, one or two exceptions notwithstanding. Any pianist beginner who gets past the very easy stages often ends up trying some of these little gems out, as they are delightfully tuneful and not, for the most part at any rate, terribly difficult to play. The left hand often has either single notes or static drone basses, whilst the right hand is usually less concerned about flights of fancy down the keyboard, than giving the performer interestingly chromatic harmonies, often of the rarely-moving chord variety, or the single note line. I certainly went down that path in my late teens and so was particularly interested to see these arrangements.

After a five-page introduction covering a number of aspects come the actual works, each preceded by its own thorough introduction. So I am pleased to report that, largely for the musical reasons mentioned in my opening paragraph, most of these arrangements work very well indeed. Take the lovely At the Cradle op. 68 no. 5 transcribed from E to A major. The very static nature of the slow moving chord progressions make this ideal guitar material. Similarly the Album Leaf op. 12 no. 7, which in its original key of E minor seems made for the guitar. Even the surprising chromaticisms of the Elegy op. 47 no. 7 work really well, although the difficulty factor goes up a notch or two in consequence. I was also heartened to see the inclusion of what was Grieg’s final Lyric Piece, the Remembrances op. 71 no. 7, with its reworked material from his first Lyric Piece the Arietta op. 12 no. 1, being included, and working very well indeed, its poignancy working all the more on the guitar.

I was surprised just how well these transcriptions really worked, and if any of you have yet to hear any of this material, and only think of Grieg as the writer of the Piano Concerto and the Holberg Suite , think again. This material contains some of his most telling music written in a chromatic but lyrical style that sounds all at once like bits of Wagner, combined with portions of Chopin and a little smattering of an anticipation of the Debussyan harmonic world too. You could do worse than to give this largely successful volume a try. Nicely printed too!