Listen to Alexander Rybak’s music inspired by Edvard Grieg

The “Kjempesjansen”- winner Alexander Rybak shows the way in “Urørt’s” Grieg project. He has recorded his own music inspired by Grieg, but will not make a pure style-copy

NRK.no’s Urørt/Grieg-project has started. From 13th. February 2007 you can upload music you have made yourself on NRK.no/Urørt.

Article from nrk.no, published 12.2.2007. Text and photo:  Anne Christine Bratt / NRK. Translated by TessaLa, revised by Anni Jowett

One who already has been inspired by Grieg to make new music is the “Kjempesjansen” -winner Alexander Rybak from Nesodden. He won the talent competition on NRK with self-made music where he both sang and played violin. The song he performed seemed more influenced by American music than the essence of Norway, but Alexander tells that through the years he has been inspired by a lot of different music, including Grieg.

– I have listened to and liked many composers. For a while I was fascinated by composers who wrote cleverly. But as a 16-17 year old I discovered Grieg, and the genius of simplicity in his music. The chords are often very simple, while at times there’s a little twist that makes it exciting and keeps you listening, he says.

Alexander has played many of Grieg’s music pieces on his violin, and has a great sense both for the violin sonata in C-minor and the violin concert.

– Grieg makes such good use of the instruments he uses, and he mixes them so incredibly nicely, he says. 

Didn’t want to copy 

When Alexander was making his own music inspired by Grieg, he didn’t want to try to copy Grieg’s style.

– When I discover such a fantastic composer, I don’t want to try to do the same as he does. He has his personal touch, while I have to be myself. I wanted to make something simple from me, and that is the story behind “Siste minner” (Last Memory).

Alexander calls ”Siste minner” for mood music, and says it is many small melodies woven together.

– This is not actually music you listen to, but just relax to. When it comes to this I can’t even get close to Grieg. He made music you can both listen to and relax to. I would say it is the expression that is inspired by Grieg. 

Listen to Rybak’s Grieg inspired melody “Siste Minner” (Last Memory).

The melody is the most important

Alexander is concerned that the music should speak to the heart, and also have a beautiful melody. Then it becomes music and not just only maths, he says. 

– The music becomes boring when you are only keen to impress and show that you are capable of, for example, composing and arranging techniques (music theory). Many think what, how and whom when they make music, but not many think about why. I don’t like it when people are going to be innovative just to be innovative either. It’s actually the worst thing I know. I don’t think Grieg was concerned about being innovative. It sounds like his music was just like this inside him. He was just very talented and had to get it out. 

From “Fiddler on The Roof”. Photo: L.P. Loretnzen

Currently Alexander is in his 2nd year at Barratt Due Music Institute in Oslo. He also plays the role of the fiddler, Tevye’s alter ego in “Fiddler on The Roof” at the “Oslo Nye” Theatre. 

– I am open for what the future will bring. I don’t want to be stuck in a genre. I want to try out different musical sides of myself. Fortunately there are many arenas for people who like to work with music nowadays, he says.  

Click here to listen to Alexander Rybak playing more classical music.

This post is also available in Deutsch and Norsk.

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