Grieg, Edvard (1843 - 1907)

Norwegian composer and pianist. He first met Dvorak in 1895 during his visit to Vienna. The taciturn Dvorak didn’t make a great impression on him to begin with, as suggested in a letter Grieg wrote to another Norwegian composer, Iver Holter: “I spent much time with Brahms. He was friendly and in high spirits. I could not say the same of Dvorak, whom I have nevertheless met only superficially.” It was only in 1903 that Grieg was given the opportunity to get to know Dvorak better. He had come to Prague to appear before the public as a conductor of his own works. The concert programme included a selection of his songs performed by Dvorak’s daughter Magda. (“There was a young singer there as well, Magda Dvorakova, the composer’s daughter. She sang with warmth, but in Czech – which made the situation somewhat more difficult for me.”). Dvorak attended the concert and visited his Norwegian colleague in his dressing room; Grieg likewise attended a performance of Rusalka at the National Theatre and went to see the Dvoraks in their flat. This time he had a different impression of Dvorak, as conveyed in his correspondence: “My time spent with Dvorak was very pleasant. If I might put it delicately, he has his own temperament, but he was very kind.” After Dvorak’s death in 1904 Grieg published an article in the Norwegian magazine Verdens Gang, in which he applauded Dvorak both for his music and as an individual.