Grieg - Peer Gynt Suite - Norwegian Bridal Procession
Type of Spiritual Experience
Peer Gynt is a five-act play in verse by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen. It was first performed in Christiania (now Oslo) on 24 February 1876, with original music composed by Edvard Grieg that includes some of today's most recognized classical pieces, In the Hall of the Mountain King and Morning Mood. It was published in German translation in 1881, in English in 1892, and in French in 1896.
Ibsen asked Edvard Grieg to compose the incidental music for the play in 1874. Grieg composed a score that plays approximately ninety minutes. The play and the music were first performed two years later.
Grieg extracted two suites of four pieces each from the incidental music (Opus 46 and Opus 55), which became very popular as concert music. One of the sung parts of the incidental music ended up in these suites (the famous In the Hall of the Mountain King) in the 1st suite with the vocal parts omitted. Originally, the second suite had a fifth number, The Dance of the Mountain King's Daughter, but Grieg withdrew it.
Grieg himself declared that it was easier to make music "out of his own head" than strictly following suggestions made by Ibsen.
Peer Gynt was written in Danish—the common written language of Denmark and Norway in Ibsen's lifetime. The play is loosely based on Per Gynt, a Norwegian fairy tale.
Bride, bridegroom and the lovers are all symbolic.
Reindeers are symbolic, the blacksmith is symbolic, farmer is symbolic.
Peer Gynt is thus an allegory of the spiritual path and many of the places that Peer Gynt visits are well known spiritual symbols – oceans and seas, mountains, forests, deserts, caves etc. The theme indicates that man must progress along the stages of the spiritual path as dictated by his destiny. There is no avoiding the stages and Peer Gynt chronicles the journey of its titular character from the Norwegian mountains to the North African desert.
Ibsen clealry knew both the spiritual path steps and the various symbols used in spiritual ascension and incorporated them. So did Grieg.
A description of the experience
- Prelude: At the Wedding (I brudlaupsgarden)
- Norwegian Bridal Procession in passing (Brudefylgjet dreg forbi)
- Halling (Halling)
- Springar (Springdans)
Wikipedia Act I
Peer Gynt is the son of the once highly regarded Jon Gynt. Jon Gynt spent all his money on feasting and living lavishly, and had to leave his farm to become a wandering salesman, leaving his wife and son behind in debt. Åse, the mother, wished to raise her son to restore the lost fortune of his father, but Peer is soon to be considered useless. .
As the play opens, Peer gives an account of a reindeer hunt that went awry, a famous theatrical scene generally known as "the Buckride". His mother scorns him for his vivid imagination, and taunts him because he spoiled his chances with Ingrid, the daughter of the richest farmer. Peer leaves for Ingrid's wedding, scheduled for the following day, because he may still get a chance with the bride. His mother follows quickly to stop him from shaming himself completely.
At the wedding, the other guests taunt and laugh at Peer, especially the local blacksmith, Aslak, who holds a grudge after an earlier brawl. In the same wedding, Peer meets a family of Haugean newcomers from another valley. He instantly notices the elder daughter, Solveig, and asks her to dance. She refuses because her father would disapprove, and because Peer's reputation has preceded him. She leaves, and Peer starts drinking. When he hears the bride has locked herself in, he seizes the opportunity, runs away with her, and spends the night with her in the mountains