Edvard Grieg's music in popular culture  

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The music of classical composer Edvard Grieg continues to be relevant in popular culture into the 21st century. This is due to his music's fast pace, instrumentation, and similarity in feel to many popular musical genres. This is not a coincidence, since Grieg was known for taking many of his melodies from Norwegian folk music. For example, Lamberto Bava's 1985 horror film Dèmoni (aka Demons) includes a title theme by Claudio Simonetti that incorporates the melody of In the Hall of the Mountain King. (see horror films and classical music).


Music education

Grieg's music remains an important part of music education.

Grieg wanted classical music to be accessible, and by appropriating folk music of his native country, he brought it into the classroom and people's homes. For the 150th anniversary of his birth, Norway organized a huge celebration, "Grieg in the Schools", which included programs for children from pre-school to secondary school in 1993. The programs were repeated in 1996 in Germany, and called "Grieg in der Schule", in which over a thousand students participated. There were Grieg observances in 39 countries, from Mexico to Moscow. <ref>MNC Web Site, Edvard Grieg Remembered</ref>

Further celebrations of Grieg and his music were held in 2007, the 100th anniversary of his death. Bosnia and Herzegovina held a large-scale celebration, featuring Peer Gynt and the Piano Concertoon a public concert for children and adults.

In the United States, his music is often performed for students. The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery in Nebraska presented a chamber music concert that featured one of Grieg's string quartets.


Grieg's music has inspired neopaganists. The Experience Festival, a neopagan movement program, has an entire links page regarding Grieg on its web site, entitled A Wisdom Archive on Edvard Grieg.

Grieg is alleged to have created the neopagan neologism Asatru in his 1870 opera Olaf Tryggvasson.

References to Grieg's music in popular culture

Peer Gynt

Grieg's most famous piece, the incidental music to Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, has made frequent appearances in twentieth-century popular culture. "Peer Gynt" served as a basis for the theme of the Inspector Gadget animated series <ref>Kickass Classical Composers A-Z</ref>. Another piece from Peer Gynt, "Anitra's Dance", serves as background music in Quest for Glory IV. The U.S. metal group Kamelot used the melody of "Solveig's Song" in "Forever", from its album Karma. The Norwegian metal group Midnattsol also used Solveig's Song in their song "Tapt Av Håp", as did the Faroese metal group Týr in their song "Valkyrjan". A 1993 Soyuzmultfilm short cartoon "Dwarves and the Mountain King" (rus. Гномы и Горный Король, directed by Innessa Kovalevskaya) is completely based on Grieg's music, primarily on Peer Gynt themes.

Morning Mood

Morning Mood was a favorite of Carl Stalling who often used it for morning establishing shots in Warner Bros. cartoons. It is now typically associated with Nordic scenes; however, it was meant to depict sunrise over the Sahara Desert.<ref>Steve Hoffman's blog</ref><ref>Spiritus-temporis web site, reference to Carl Stalling</ref><ref>Golden Age of Cartoons Forum</ref><ref>Edvard Grieg on the Experience Festival music web site</ref> Amazon.com sells a compilation CD of Cartoon music, Cartoons Greatest Hits, Various Artists, which includes Stalling's version of Morning Mood by Grieg. <ref>Amazon.com web site</ref>

Morning Mood is also used in Katsuhiro Otomo's animated short film Construction Cancellation Order, a segment of the 1987 anime anthology film Neo Tokyo (aka Mani Mani Labyrinth Tales). The film derives a great deal of dark humor from the dissonance between the pastoral splendor of Morning Mood and the mechanized chaos and destruction that takes place in the film.

It can also be heard in two episodes of Phineas and Ferb.

Morning Mood was also used in a television commercial for Hardee's/Carl's Jr. in the late 90s and early 2000s.

It was used at the beginning of the theatrical trailer to Monsters vs. Aliens

In the Hall of the Mountain King

Music covers

British rock band The Who also used In the Hall of the Mountain King for their song Hall of the Mountain King from their 1967 album The Who Sell Out. The Who was originally a cover band, and so they did a version of Grieg's 1867 standard.<ref>The Who dot Net web site</ref><ref name=autogenerated1>200th Anniversary celebration of Grieg</ref><ref>NNdB web site</ref> Tucson Weekly has called this cover a "Who-freakout arraingment"<ref>Tucson Weekly</ref> One reviewer calls The Who's version the "weirdest of these" covers on The Who Sell Out, and claims it is "a rendition of the corresponding extract from Grieg's Peer Gynt suite ... [yet] it hardly sounds like Grieg here, anyway..." Another claims that "the main function of the composition is to evoke thoughts of (naturally) King Crimson and (unnaturally) Pink Floyd, because in parts it sounds exactly like 'Interstellar Overdrive'. <ref>Only Solitaire</ref>

The Michigan-based band SRC recorded a cover of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" on their 1969 album Milestones.

The Italian progressive rock band Buon Vecchio Charlie incorporated In the Hall of the Mountain King in the track Venite giù al fiume on their only album, recorded in 1971.<ref>Buon Vecchio Charlie's Venite giù al fiume</ref>

The British Band Apollo 100 used "In the Hall of the Mountain King" as inspiration for their version "Mad Mountain King" on their 1972 album Joy.

Electric Light Orchestra made a version on their 1973 album "On the Third Day".

Progressive rock keyboardist Rick Wakeman introduced the piece in a part of his album Journey to the Centre of the Earth (1974).

Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is, to this day, the only band to perform Hall of the Mountain King as a song (Stranger in Us All album, 1994), with Peer Gynt-inspired english lyrics written by Candice Night. <ref>Ritchie Blackmore's RAINBOW: Stranger In Us All Review by Andy Craven.</ref><ref>DeBaser review: Rainbow: Stranger In Us All</ref>

A version of Hall of the Mountain King also appears on the 2000 album Cult by Finnish cello metal band Apocalyptica.<ref> Almost all the references on Google are in other languages. See Google Search for Apocalytica + Grieg, retrieved August 10, 2007</ref>

Slayer's Raining Blood sounds similar to ""In the Hall of the Mountain King"".

Film and TV:

This well-known piece has seen extensive use in movies and commercials, usually in accordance with a dramatic and fantastic or ominous event.<ref>8notes bio of Grieg</ref>

In the Hall of the Mountain King was famously used in the 1931 film M, in which Peter Lorre's character whistles it. <ref>Pauline Kael's Review of this film, mentioning the essential part of this music.</ref><ref>discussion on Archive.com blog</ref><ref>For a further discussion of Grieg's important contribution to this seminal film, see M (film).</ref> As of February 2008, it may be viewed and heard on YouTube. <ref>YouTube clip of M with the music whistled</ref>

The song also appears during the teaser trailer of Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Funny Games, Bride Wars and Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian.

It is also played over the end credits of the Woody Allen film Scoop.

A young boy is seen playing In the Hall of The Mountain King as a piano practice piece in an episode of Mad Men entitled "The Mountain King".

In the final episode of Beavis and Butthead, In the Hall of the Mountain King is being played when Principal McVicker has flashbacks to their antics. In the episode Farmer-Hunter, Farmer Hunted (Courage the Cowardly Dog) the song can be heard several times.

In the Hall of the Mountain King is also featured in the intro of the television series The Dudesons.

The vampires in The Lost Boys: The Tribe whistle the tune to this song.

Lamberto Bava's 1985 horror film Dèmoni (aka Demons) includes a title theme by Claudio Simonetti that incorporates the melody of In the Hall of the Mountain King.

In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg, and Flight of the Bumblebee by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov are used in the theme songs and throughout the animated series Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Video games:

In the Hall of the Mountain King was also featured in the 1995 video game Return Fire, where the piece would play as the background music when the player used the Armored Support Vehicle.

Cult Spectrum video game Manic Miner includes this as in-game music. <ref>Review of the game Manic Miner</ref>.

In Porky Pig's Haunted Holiday, a game released for the super nintendo, part of In the Hall of the Mountain King is used in the music to the Abandoned Mines level.

Burger King used parts of "In the Hall of the Mountain King" piece sped up for a few of their commercials involving their mascot. The UK theme park Alton Towers used "In the Hall of the Mountain King" in many of its advertisements. In the late 1990s and early 2000s Nabisco, an American baked snacks company, featured "In the Hall of the Mountain King" on many of their commercials.<ref name=autogenerated1 />

Piano Sonata

The motion picture The First Legion used Grieg's Piano Sonata in E minor as a way to introduce a Jesuit priest's prayer. The priest, Father Fulton, plays the sonata as a way of connecting himself to the other Jesuits, when "forced to revise their standards of belief after experiencing first a makeshift and later a 'real' miracle." <ref>Lutz Koepnick, The Dark Mirror: German Cinema between Hitler and Hollywood, Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism, 32, found at U.C. Press web site.</ref>

Brothers, Sing on!

The folk song "Brothers, Sing On!" ( EG 170 - in the original Norwegian "Sangerhilsen") was written by Grieg with lyrics by Sigv. Skavlan, with English language lyrics by Herbert Dalmas and/or Howard McKinney.<ref name="Brothers">University of Northern Iowa Varsity Men’s Glee Club (Brothers Sign On!) official web site. Accessed May 5, 2008.</ref><ref>Choralnet ideas web site. Accessed May 5, 2008.</ref> It is a popular piece for glee clubs' repertoire,<ref>Bowling Green Statue University web site. Accessed May 5, 2008.</ref> often as the opening number.<ref name="Brothers" /><ref>The Virginia Glee Club's Finals Concert, Press release, found at U of Vorginia Music department web site. Accessed May 5, 2008.</ref><ref>"Singing Superintendents Lend Rousing Voices to Final Session," The Conference Daily, Sunday, March 4, 2007, found at American Association of School Administrators web site. Accessed May 5, 2008.</ref> The Mohawk-Hudson Male Chorus Association (MHMCA) presented a massed concert, with 90 male singers, at the historic Troy Savings Bank Music Hall on May 3, 2008, entitled "Brothers, Sing On!", with the titular song, which was also adopted as the organization's theme song in 1974.<ref>"In 1974 'Brothers, Sing On!,' by Edvard Grieg, was adopted as the organization's theme song." See Conductor's Club web site. Accessed May 5, 2008.</ref> They had previously performed the same song in the same venue in 2002.<ref>BH Singing web site. Accessed May 5, 2008.</ref>

The University of Northern Iowa has gone so far as to name its web site and to start every concert with this song: Template:Quote

Other pieces

The musical Song of Norway, based very loosely on Grieg's life and using his music, was created in 1944 by Robert Wright and George Forrest and a film version was released in 1970. The 1957 movie musical The Pied Piper of Hamelin uses Grieg's music almost exclusively, with In the Hall of the Mountain King being the melody that the Piper (Van Johnson) plays to rid the town of rats.

The first movement of Grieg's Piano Concerto is used in Adrian Lyne's 1997 film Lolita <ref>Lolita (1998) - Cast and Credits - Yahoo! Movies</ref>. The popular British comedy duo Morecambe and Wise featured the Piano Concerto in a famous sketch involving Andre Previn. It also can be heard extensively on Rick Wakeman's (keyboardist with British rock group Yes) album Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The Simpsons used this piece as well. <ref>Rhapsody.com</ref>

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Edvard Grieg's music in popular culture" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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