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Grieg - Two Elegaic melodies



Type of Spiritual Experience


Two Elegiac Melodies, Op. 34, is a composition in two movements for string orchestra by Edvard Grieg, completed in 1880 and first published in 1881.

The two movements are instrumental arrangements Grieg made of two of his 12 Melodies, Op. 33, published in 1880: these were settings for voice and piano of words by the Norwegian poet and journalist Aasmund Olavsson Vinje.

Two Elegiac Melodies was dedicated to Heinrich von Herzogenberg. Grieg also made an arrangement for solo piano.


It is scored for 1st violins (sometimes in two parts), 2nd violins (in two parts), violas (in two parts), cellos and double basses. The many parts allow for a thick texture when required

A description of the experience

Edvard Grieg : 2 Elegiac Melodies op 34

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra

No.1 The Wounded Heart - Vinje's words, from Grieg's Op. 33 No. 3, relate that wounds have been suffered by the heart in the struggles of life, but it has survived; faith is not destroyed

No.2 Last Spring - In Vinje's words, from Grieg's Op. 33 No. 2, the poet describes the beauty of the countryside in spring, appearing after the snow of winter; he thinks he might be seeing it for the last time

The Life and Works of Edvard Grieg: A Lecture Recital April 18, 2011, FAC 214 Leah Kennedy, soprano

As Grieg’s popularity rose, he often struggled to find quiet places to compose. He resolved to rid himself of all things city-related and to find a quiet place where he could fully devote himself to his art. In 1877, he found that place in Hardanger about five miles from the town Børve, Norway. Grieg arranged to have a hut built some distance from any other structure, and soon it was called, “Komposten,” a play on words meaning both, “the composer’s hut” and “the compost heap.” Grieg often locked himself in his hut for hours while he painstakingly wrote melody after melody during the winter months. When Grieg left his hut, he would leave following note on his desk in case of intruders: “If anyone should break in here, please leave the musical scores, since they have no value to anyone except Edvard Grieg.” Here he also acquainted himself with Nynorsk, an emerging dialect of Norwegian language that sought to purge any Danish influence.

Norway, at the time, was in the process of great change, having received independence from Denmark and just decades earlier. The country was still bent on developing its own identity in all areas. Grieg aided in this process through his music, and much of his inspiration came in his little hut.

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