Edvard Grieg, “Heimweh” (Homesickness)






Posted here is a short piano piece by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843–1907): “Heimweh” (Homesickness).

It is one of the Lyric Pieces (Norwegian: Lyriske stykker), a collection of 66 short pieces for solo piano written by Grieg over a period spanning the years 1867 to 1901 and published in ten volumes. “Heimweh” was part of Book VI, Op. 57, comprised of six pieces published in 1893.

The piece intrigues me. Besides being emotionally engaging and completely descriptive, there is the contrast between the mournful opening theme, which expresses so well the feeling of homesickness, with a brief interlude of energetic, seemingly cheerful music, followed again by the opening theme.

I realized quite a while ago when I purchased CD’s of Grieg’s complete piano music, and also of his songs, that he excels in miniature works. His music is very “pictorial.” It is anything but abstract — I guess one would say — and is the polar opposite of works by “cerebral” composers such as ______ (Bach? Stravinsky? I am sure you readers of this post can come up with better examples).

Enjoy the piece.





There is an excellent article by New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini:

“Respect at Last for Grieg?”

The New York Times

September 16, 2007


which strongly makes the case for Grieg.



— Roger W. Smith

   May 2018

About Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith is a writer and independent scholar based in New York City. His experience includes freelance writing and editing, business writing, book reviewing, and the teaching of writing and literature as an adjunct professor. Mr. Smith's interests include personal essays and opinion pieces; American and world literature; culture, especially books and reading; classical music; current issues that involve social, moral, and philosophical views; and experiences of daily living from a ground level perspective. Besides (1) rogersgleanings.com, a personal site, he also hosts websites devoted to (2) the author Theodore Dreiser and (3) to the sociologist and social philosopher Pitirim A. Sorokin.
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2 Responses to Edvard Grieg, “Heimweh” (Homesickness)

  1. gsmilnor says:

    Roger- I just had a few minutes break and listened to the enclosed piece. Very stirring and emotional, and appropriately entitled . Thanks for sharing. — Scott

  2. Thank you, Scott. It is very gratifying to have discerning readers such as you.

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