Holberg Suite

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Holberg Suite, Op. 40

Performed by the Virtual Philharmonic Orchestra (Reinhold Behringer)

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The Holberg Suite, Op. 40, more properly "From Holberg's Time" (Norwegian: Frå Holbergs tid, German: Aus Holbergs Zeit), subtitled "Suite in olden style" (Norwegian: Suite i gammel stil, German: Suite im alten Stil), is a suite of five movements based on eighteenth century dance forms, written by Edvard Grieg in 1884 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Danish-Norwegian humanist playwright Ludvig Holberg.

It exemplifies nineteenth century music which makes use of musical styles and forms from the preceding century. It can be compared with Franz Liszt's À la Chapelle Sixtine, S.360 (1862) and contrasted with later neoclassical works.

The movements of the suite are:

  1. Praeludium (Allegro vivace)
  2. Sarabande (Andante)
  3. Gavotte (Allegretto)
  4. Air (Andante religioso)
  5. Rigaudon (Allegro con brio)

The Holberg Suite was originally composed for the piano, but a year later was adapted for string orchestra. The suite consists of an introduction and a set of dances. It is a charming, early essay in neo-classicism, an attempt to echo as much as was known in Grieg's time of the music of Holberg's era.[1]

Although it is not as famous as Grieg's incidental music from Peer Gynt, which is itself usually performed as arranged in a pair of suites, many critics regard the works as of equal merit.[2]


  1. ^ Mozart: Eine Kleine Nachtmusick, Serenata of London, from the CD booklet written by Leonard Burkat, 1987, MCD Records (barcode 0-7674-25162-2-2)
  2. ^ Krellmann, Hanspeter. Edvard Grieg (1999), Reinbek: Rowohlt ISBN 978-3-499-50430-3

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