In 1874 the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen sent a request to Edvard Grieg to have him compose music for a stage production of his ‘dramatic poem’ Peer Gynt. Grieg's immediate response was positive, and a happy collaboration between the two artists was established, the result of which was the premiere of Ibsen's drama with Grieg's music at the Christiania Theatre in the Norwegian capital in February of 1876. The history of Grieg's work, the first performances in Scandinavia, the editions of the score, and finally the 26 individual musical pieces of Peer Gynt are described in this paper.
Finn Benestad has been Professor of Musicology at the Univeristy of Oslo since 1965 and is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters and Academia Europaea. He has been chairman of the Edvard Grieg Committee since 1980, which has been responsible for the edition of Edvard Grieg's Complete Works in 20 volumes.
* Institutt for musikk og teater, Universitetet i Oslo, P.O. Box 1017, 0315 Oslo, Norway.