Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

Completion of Grieg’s second piano concerto sketches receive premiere recording

2:27, 2nd February 2018

Mark Bebbington’s new recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Jan Latham-Koenig will include the world premiere of Robert Matthew-Walker’s completion of Grieg’s second piano concerto.

The work was commissioned by Peters Edition in 1882, but never completed. Robert Matthew-Walker has orchestrated the 150 bars sketched by Grieg to create a single movement, adding three bars for continuity, to give an idea of what the completed work might have sounded like.

Bebbington said: ‘It is fascinating to see and hear what was in Grieg’s mind as he embarked on this second concerto; certainly the jaunty opening idea shares a similar character to the main Allegro theme of the A minor concerto’s Finale, but elsewhere there are simply tantalising glimpses of what might have been.’

Matthew-Walker said: ‘The sketches, when placed together in sequence, make a broadly coherent single movement, although it is very unlikely that Grieg intended other than a three-movement work. Nonetheless, in hearing those sketches, one after another, flowing as naturally as they do, the listener is at last able to hear just what was in Grieg’s mind at the time.’

The recording, which also includes Grieg’s A minor concerto, Delius’s piano concerto and Delius’s Three Preludes, will be released by SOMM Recordings on 30 March.

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