Norway and Scotland : a cultural symbiosis

Norwegian native and committee member, Eva Tyson, reflects on the Grieg Society of Scotland’s special From Norway with Grieg heritage tour & concert project which welcomed Troldhaugens Venner – Friends of the Edvard Grieg Museum, Bergen – to the North East of Scotland this spring.

The Grieg Society of Scotland welcomes Troldhaugens Venner
‘From Norway with Grieg!’ The Grieg Society of Scotland welcomes members of Troldhaugens Venner (Friends of the Edvard Grieg Museum in Bergen) to its special collaborative concert at Queen’s Cross Church, Aberdeen, in May 2023.

In May, Aberdeenshire experienced a Viking invasion of a more gentle kind, when 35 friends of the Edvard Grieg museum in Bergen, were treated to a historic and fascinating tour. This included not just sightseeing in the North, but an important visit to the graves of Grieg’s Scottish forefathers located in Rathen Old Kirkyard in Aberdeenshire.

The tour finished on the 13th May with a concert in Queen’s Cross church in Aberdeen. The concert was well attended with many local Aberdonians telling me how they love Grieg’s music and would not miss such an occasion. The well known Norwegian pianist Rune Alver, played several pieces of Grieg’s compositions, including the popular Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, to great applause. Dr Sally Garden, Honorary Director of the Scottish Grieg Society, is herself a noted mezzo-soprano and her recital included Scottish songs, particularly loved by Grieg’s wife Nina, such as Comin thro the rye and Afton Water both by Rabbie Burns. This was delivered with brilliant technique and emotion to the delight of the audience.

Rune Alver (piano) & Sally Garden (mezzo) in concert
Rune Alver (piano) and Sally Garden (mezzo) in concert in Aberdeen, May 2023. Their programme ‘From Norway with Grieg!’ of Norwegian and Scots piano music and song, brought the spirits of Edvard and Nina Grieg together on the concert platform, and the audience together with the artists in song to a rousing Norwegian-Scottish finale.

Nature was an inspiration both to Grieg and Burns and this leitmotiv was so apparent during the concert, bringing Scotland and Norway together in an expressive and imaginative way.

Author: Eva Tyson (Committee Member, Grieg Society of Scotland)