Skip to page content

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) wrote his Peer Gynt selections as incidental music for the play of that name by Norwegian poet and dramatist Henrik Ibsen. The music first appeared in 1875 as a piano duet and was later orchestrated by the composer. Inspired by romantic Norse legend, these gems of the miniaturist's art became instantly popular and attracted the attention of prolific transcriber Lemare, whose organ arrangement of these selections was published soon after his immigration to America. Lemare's exploits on these shores connect with California musical history, for he played to many audiences in excess of 10,000 as the official organist for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, remaining for some years as the Civic Organist in that city. During his retirement in Los Angeles he put forward a plan to place a concert organ at the Hollywood Bowl, a scheme that came to naught. For the record, Lemare transcribed only the first three movements of Peer Gynt; "In the Hall of the Mountain-King" may easily be adapted from the piano score.

- Notes © 2005, Thomas Murray