Grieg’s Holberg Suite: Baroque Dances in the Scandinavian Woods

In December of 1884, the city of Bergen, Norway celebrated the 200th birthday of one of its most famous natives, the satirist and playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754). In honor of the event, Edvard Grieg, Bergen’s most famous composer, was commissioned to write a festive cantata and an instrumental work. While the cantata is now largely forgotten, the Holberg Suite became one of Grieg’s most enduring works. The five-movement suite, titled “From Holberg’s Time,” was written …

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Exploring the Sarabande Over 400 Years

No one seems to be sure, exactly, about the roots of the sarabande as a dance form. It may have originated in Mexico or some other part of Latin America. It was popular in the Spanish colonies during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The zarabanda was first mentioned in a 1593 poem, Vida y tiempo de Maricastaña, written in Panama by Fernando de Guzmán Mejía. As a dance, it was so spicy that it was considered …

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