Grieg – Holberg Suite

by Max Derrickson

Edvard Grieg (1843 – 1907)

Holberg Suite (From Holberg’s Time), Op. 40

  1. Praludium – Allegro vivace
  2. Sarabande – Andante
  3. Gavotte – Allegretto, Musette, Un poco mosso
  4. Air – Andante religioso
  5. Rigadoun – Allegro con brio


The marvelous works of Norwegian composer Edward Grieg always seem to capture the ineffability of sweetness and nostalgia that other composers only seldom approached.  Grieg’s music somehow always satisfies the soul.  And so it is with one of Grieg’s greatest works, his Holberg Suite, written in 1884.  This was the year that the Northern countries were celebrating the bicentennial of the Danish author Ludwig Holberg’s birth (1684 -1754).  Besides a remarkable historian and scientist, Holberg was also called “the Moliere of the North” for his satires and comedies.  Grieg offered his contribution with a surprising twist – realizing that Holberg was a contemporary of Bach, Handel and Domenico Scarlatti, all musical giants of the Baroque era, Grieg fashioned his homage in the image of the music Holberg would have heard in his times.    [. . .]      To our ears today, we recognize Holberg’s Suite as the heart-charming, beautiful music so unique to the masterpieces of Grieg.