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Grieg’s Morning Song

Edvard Grieg

grieg-1890Edvard Grieg, one of the most popular composers of the 19th century, is certainly the most famous musician from the country of Norway.  Grieg began taking piano lessons at the age of six from his mother.  Young Edvard was sent to the Leipzig Conservatory in 1858 and after living in Copenhagen for several years, in 1867 he finally returned home to Norway and began presenting concerts of Norwegian music.

The Norwegian government decided to support Grieg so that he could spend most of his time composing and his music soon became famous all over Europe.  His fame soon spread all over Europe.  In addition to his works for orchestra, and for piano, he also wrote songs, meant especially for his wife to sing.

Grieg’s music was admired by such great composers as Johannes Brahms and Peter Tchaikovsky.  His music evokes the spirit and mood of Norway’s folks songs with beautiful, yet sometimes sad melodies. 

In 1874 and 1875, Grieg wrote music to author Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt. Each piece was written to set the mood for what was happening on stage. Some of the highlights from Grieg’s incidental music for Peer Gynt include:

  • “Morning Mood”
  • the spooky “In the Hall of the Mountain King”
  • “Arabian Dance”
  • “Solveig’s Song”  


The first movement “Morning Song” or Morgenstemning alternates the melody between the flute and the oboe.

Featured instrument: Flute

  • The flute is an instrument in the woodwind family.
  • Members of the woodwind family make sound by blowing air through a tube. They all make their sounds by blowing across a hole or a reed (pieces of cane strapped together) into a hollow tube with holes on the side.
  • The flute is one of the oldest instruments and was once made of wood or bone, but is now usually made of metal.
  • Flute players press their fingers down on the body of the flute to open and close holes in the pipe. This changes the sound and makes it higher.
Holritz_Kristen closeup

Kristen Holritz, Principal Flute

Related to the flute

  • Piccolo – means “little flute” and is about half the size of a flute. It’s played the same was a concert flute, but produces the highest notes in the orchestra.
  • Native American Flute – legend says woodpeckers pecked holes in hollow branches; when the wind blew through the holes, Native Americans nearby hear the music.
  • Recorder – part of a family in the woodwinds called “fipple flutes”, many elementary school students play the recorder!
FluteHear the flute

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