Edvard Grieg is one of the world’s best known composers, with compositions that reach far beyond the classical music field. His Piano Concerto in A minor is one of the most played and recorded of all piano concertos. But why on earth did he not compose a violin concerto?
When I started my career as a soloist more than twenty years ago, I was constantly asked to suggest Norwegian violin concertos. But when I proposed the excellent concertos by Sinding, Svendsen and others, there was not much interest. Come to think of it, a ‘Grieg Violin Concerto’ would have been so very useful!
Ever since my arrangement of Grieg’s song I Love Only You for violin and orchestra, I have toyed with the idea of arranging his violin sonatas for violin and orchestra as well. Despite being among Grieg’s own favourite pieces, the sonatas are less known than many of his other works.
To orchestrate the three violin sonatas is, of course, a major challenge. A suitable opportunity came when I was asked to become artistic director of Tromsø Chamber Orchestra. Having heard that they had an excellent arranger of music among their members, I aired the idea of arranging these sonatas together with him. Both Bernt Simen Lund and the orchestra embraced my suggestion. With Bernt Simen’s input we often ended up with different ideas for the same passage. The result was solutions that neither of us would have come up with. It was much more fun, and a much better result than if I had done it alone.
– Henning Kraggerud