Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg, composed The Holberg Suite in the summer of 1884, as a commission for the celebration of the bicentennial birthday of writer, Ludvig Baron Holberg. During the early 18th century, the Danish poet-dramatist had brought Scandinavia to the forefront in European theatrical circles. His comedies were so cleverly humorous that he was called “the Molière of the North.” Norway claimed Holberg as their own, due to the fact that, for a time, he had resided in Bergen, Edvard Grieg’s hometown. Because Holberg was a contemporary of Bach and Handel, Grieg chose to compose this 20-minute composition in the style of a Baroque dance suite. Written in five short movements, the work originally composed for piano consists of an introduction and a set of dances. The form and melodies of The Holberg Suite reflect a Baroque style, yet the lush string writing and rich Romantic harmonies were drawn from the composer’s own era. Grieg called this work “my powdered-wig piece.” The suite remains in the repertoire frequently performed by contemporary string orchestras.
Alixandra Porembski, English Language Annotator