Now that I have gone digital in two of three rooms (the last one is digital to analogue) and have upgraded to the best possible sound reproduction within my budget range, I am once again rediscovering some excellent recordings I have.
One boxed set I have been listening to extensively again is Eva Knardahl’s recordings of Grieg’s complete music for solo piano (BIS, 2006, 12 CDs). It is unfortunate that this set only remains available at premium prices. Lovely set with formidable sound.
“Norwegian pianist Eva Knardahl’s recordings of Grieg’s complete music for solo piano, mostly recorded in Sweden’s Nacka Hall and here collected together as a posthumous tribute to the artist, were a milestone when first released on LP at the end of the 1970s. […] If she tends to downplay the sweetness of the melodies, it seems in order to bring out the “Ibsenesque” quality. […] Knardahl’s set has the concentrated feel of a survey of the entire opus and maintains a high consistency and idiom of performance.” [grammohone]
“Grieg’s piano music is one of the monuments of keyboard music, and probably deserves to be regarded much more highly. While not as intense as Beethoven’s piano sonatas, or the works of Chopin or Liszt; while not as lofty as the vast output of Bach or that of Mozart, Grieg’s piano music combines not only a unique impressionistic approach to the piano, but also elements of folk music from his native Norway. On top of that, many of the tunes in the short pieces are so engaging that you’ll find yourself humming them. […] The recording quality of these discs is excellent, and the piano sounds present without too much reverb.” [musicweb-international]