Edvard Grieg's prelude to the fourth act of Henrik Ibsen's “dramatic poem” Peer Gynt (1867/76), “Morning Mood,” is among the best-loved passages in the repertoire. Commonly assumed to invoke Norway's iconic western fjords, the prelude in fact sets the stage for Ibsen's eponymous wanderer, washed up on the Moroccan coast. Commentators have recently argued for a more nuanced and multilayered response to the sense of place in Grieg's score, but the idea of “mood,” and its relationship with landscape, is central to Grieg's work in other ways and extends well beyond his famous collaboration with Ibsen. This article examines the significance of mood in one of Grieg's last works, the piano collection Stemninger (“Moods”), op. 73, and assesses the term's significance and its association with notions of landscape, absence, agency, and displacement.
“In the Mood:” Peer Gynt and the Affective Landscapes of Grieg's Stemninger, op. 73
Daniel M. Grimley is professor of music at the University of Oxford and tutorial fellow at Merton College. His books include Grieg: Music, Landscape and Norwegian Identity (Boydell & Brewer, 2006), and Carl Nielsen and the Idea of Modernism (Boydell, 2010). In 2011 he was scholar-in-residence at the Bard Festival, for which he edited Jean Sibelius and His World (Princeton University Press). He has recently led the Leverhulme International Network “Hearing Landscape Critically” and is finishing a monograph entitled Delius and the Sound of Place.
Preliminary versions of this article were read at the International Grieg Society's Seminar, “Grieg and Aspects of Interpretation,” Bergen, August 2013, and at the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society in Milwaukee, November 2014. I am grateful to Michael Beckerman, Jeffrey Kallberg, Arvid Vollsnes, Siren Steen, Asbjûrn Eriksen, Annika Lindskog, Erik Wallrup, Sebastian Wedler, and Benedict Taylor for comments and conversations that have vastly improved the text, and to the anonymous readers of the journal and Berthold Hoeckner in particular who have generously shared feedback on my preliminary text. All translations are mine unless otherwise acknowledged.
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Daniel M. Grimley; “In the Mood:” Peer Gynt and the Affective Landscapes of Grieg's Stemninger, op. 73. 19th-Century Music 1 November 2016; 40 (2): 106–130. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ncm.2016.40.2.106
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