Grieg in Leipzig
edvard greg and leipzig
It was the composer Edvard Grieg who put Norway on the musical world map with his musical art. For more than half a century he felt a special connection with Leipzig. It was the rich musical life of this city that attracted Grieg, the opportunity to hear new works as well as his own compositions in outstanding interpretation from excellent orchestras and virtuosos. Grieg was also attracted to Leipzig by the sociable contact with musicians and personalities interested in music, with important interpreters and composers whom he met here, including Johannes Brahms and Peter Tchaikovsky, who became his friends.
At the age of 15 Grieg went to Leipzig and studied piano and composition at the then conservatory. At the end of his studies, Max Abraham, the director of the Leipzig music publishing house C. F. Peters, noticed the young Norwegian's great talent in Grieg's early works (Four Piano Pieces op. 1 and Four Songs op. 2), so he had them printed. In the period that followed, a firm, lifelong friendship developed between Abraham, his successor Henri Hinrichsen and Edvard Grieg. In1889 Grieg concluded a general contract with C. F. Peters, which secured the publishing house the sole right to publish his works and Grieg, and after his death his wife, a good financial livelihood for life.
When Grieg was in Leipzig during the concert season, sometimes for up to half a year, when he took advantage of the opportunity of a short stay in Leipzig on his travels to or from Rome, Paris, Prague, Vienna or Karlsbad, he could always count on the hospitality of the directors of the music publishing house C. F. Peters. The hospitality of the publishers at Talstraße 10 included not only the provision of a study and a bedroom, but also the organisation of convivial gatherings with composers and interpreters, the procurement of tickets for Leipzig music performances and for the first complete performance of Richard Wagner's Ring tetralogy in Bayreuth, as well as the often time-consuming preparation of Grieg's concert appearances in the European cities of music.
The Grieg Meeting Place
In 1998, 91 years after Grieg's last visit to Leipzig, the association was founded with the aim of erecting a memorial in memory of the Norwegian composer in the building of the music publisher C. F. Peters in Talstraße 10, at that time still under the name Edvard Grieg - Gedenk- und Begegnungsstätte Leipzig e.V. This followed the words of the long-standing director of the music publishing house Henri Hinrichsen, who called in his chronicle of the publishing house for future generations to make this historically significant place accessible to the public. On November 7, 2005, founding president Prof. Dr. Hella Brock accepted the key.
Since then, the apartment on the first floor has been open to the public with an exhibition on Grieg's life and a historic concert hall from around 1900. Shortly after the inauguration of the premises, a historic grand piano from the J. L. Duysen company was also purchased, on which concerts are regularly played - in addition to piano recitals, chamber music programmes and song matinees. Furthermore, readings, lectures, receptions and workshops are part of the association's activities, often with a focus on Norway, the history of the music publisher C. F. Peters or the musical life of Leipzig.
The association is also involved in research on Grieg: three invitations have already been extended to the International Edvard Grieg Congress in Messestadt (the last one in 2016) and guests from Scandinavia, the USA, Great Britain and other countries have been welcomed. Since 2016, the Edvard Grieg Research Centre in Leipzig has also housed a scientific library focusing on Grieg and Norwegian music, which once again underlines the academic profile of the Grieg meeting place. A highlight in the still young history of the association was the celebration of Edvard Grieg's 175th birthday in 2018, when numerous visitors accepted the invitation to the concerts, lectures and receptions in the Grieg Meeting Place, but also in the Old City Hall of Leipzig or in the University Church of St. Paul.