Presented at the Grieg Conference in Bergen May 27, 2000
Jean-Michel Nectoux, France
Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris
Grieg. The Paris stay of 1903
April 1903, Edvard Grieg is in Paris for the fourth time of his life. He was on his sixtieth year and this French sojourn was to be the last. Paris was still one of the few Mecca’s in European music and the Norwegian composer was at the top of his glory in Europe. In Paris, his work was very popular among music lovers since the years seventies, when his concerto, Peer Gynt and especially his piano pieces and songs became favourites both of concert stages and of many amateur singers and pianists. The favour encountered by the composer and his music with French public was a part of an important movement of interest for Scandinavian arts and culture in general, and for Norwegian artists especially. During the two last decades of the nineteenth century, many Norwegian painters, writers and musicians passed months, some times years or decades in Paris and were quickly introduced in cultural circles of this cosmopolitan town. It was the time of the sojourn of the charming Harriet Backer who painted musical scenes, probably on inspiration of the concert life of her famous sister: Agathe Backer-Grøndahl, composer and pianist who played with great charm and authority the A minor concerto at a Norwegian concert of the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889.
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Jean-Michel Nectoux paper 2000