Grieg’s Holberg Suite, Op 40 for piano needs little introduction. It has attracted arrangers since its composition in 1884, the first of whom was Grieg when he published the work for string orchestra a year later. The principal attraction how the ‘olden style’ – in a proto-neoclassical suite to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of the Scandinavian ‘Molière’, Ludvig Holberg – is ingeniously coupled to Grieg’s unmistakable love of his own vernacular. Stylised dances they may be but each movement carries its baroque reference lightly, through strong sequential progression, periodic phrasing (but often wrong-footed), ornament and textural luminosity; the slow movements reveal the emotional intensity of Grieg at his most unequivocal. The opening Preludium is a brilliant springboard for the trumpet and piano to ‘take off’ in a work whose arrangement here explores the chiselled extremes between the collaborative potential of the duo (notably in the delightful rustic shenanigans of the Gavotte and Rigaudon) and the simple primus inter pares of the trumpet in the less intricate parts of the score.
- Trumpet in C