Sheet music

Musical contribution - September 2016

Solveig’s Song (Edvard Grieg) 1843-1907

The Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg was born in Bergen, the city in which he would die 64 years later. He suffered many setbacks during his life, both in childhood and adulthood.

He always went his own way and that made him a great composer who was already very popular during his lifetime, as demonstrated by his funeral procession of around 50,000 people.

In 1875, Grieg wrote the music for a play by Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen had been commissioned by the Norwegian government to go into the mountains to record the stories of the people. In the village of Vinstra, he wrote of Peer Gynt’s historical adventures. It later turned out that this would be one of Grieg’s most famous works.

In the last act, Solveig, the daughter of the pastor, sings a beautiful song in which she expresses the hope that God will accompany Peer, and that they will one day be reunited, either here on earth or in heaven. This month, we offer you this beautiful melody.

We play bars 8 to 24 inclusive with a leading stop and a muted accompaniment. I chose a larigot 3’ because of the melodious character of this register. Bar 25 to 39 inclusive is an allegretto, and for this reason I recommend choosing another register. A flute 8’ on two different keyboards would be a good choice. The first and last seven bars remain. These represent a stately melody quite different in character to bars 8 to 24. For this reason, I chose a principal 8’. Bars 7 and 46 are both pp. Two sets of strings together gives a nice contrast.

Enjoy this moving melody.

André van Vliet