It`s hard not to love Edvard Grieg - for his wonderful piano concerto, for his Peer Gynt music, for his under-appreciated songs, and for his many and various pieces for solo piano. Here we have 72 minutes of some of his finest and most rewarding works in the genre, played with sensitivity and delicacy by Grieg compatriot Einar Steen-Nokleberg, and recorded in Oslo. Even the cover of this sonically splendid disc from the ever enterprising Naxos shows a magically evocative painting of a Bridal Voyage on the Hardanger Fjord.
I`ve recently been enjoying the correspondence between Delius and Grieg (as well as Grieg`s wife Nina) who were all great friends, and they are both heartwarming and moving, Grieg acting as `teacher` and mentor to the younger, grateful Delius.
Listening to these inventive, lyrical pieces (though you`ll find the actual Lyric Pieces on other discs in this series) one can easily hear the attraction for the English-born composer. I have to say that there isn`t a moment of this marvellous music I would wish any different. Listening to this fine pianist playing these captivating pieces has made me want to have all Grieg`s piano music. He may not quite be a Chopin - who is? - but the beauty and integrity of this music is rewarding and utterly beguiling.
The piano sonata is a good place for the disc to start, but there are many sublime moments to come, including the brief but lovely pieces that make up Stimmungen (Moods), the heady three-minute Jeg elsker dig (I Love You), his Four Piano Pieces Op.1, and a 55-second miniature called The Sirens` Enticement, from his Melodies of Norway.
With excellent and comprehensive booklet notes, I can`t recommend this superb disc too highly. If you already have Grieg`s Lyric Pieces (perhaps, as I have, in the famous recording by the peerless Emil Gilels) then you must hear these other works for piano by the modest Norwegian. They are delightful, surprising and often heart meltingly lovely.