Serene/content: Grieg

Morning Mood is the first movement in a four-movement suite (No. 1) entitled Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). The melody to this piece is very well-known, as is the playful and devious one from the fourth movement, In the Hall of the Mountain King. Beginning instrumentalists will know Morning Mood well because they only have to know 5 notes to play the melody. It appears in most beginner method books. Even though this work has been overly-exposed in method books, commercials and for every other frivolous occasion, I still find it to be a masterpiece worth experiencing from time to time because of the great contentment it expresses.

I have always imagined a dramatic sunrise while listening to this piece. At first, the dynamic is calm and soft – a very serene atmosphere. But as the light gets stronger, the tension builds as the listener gets the first glimpse of sunlight. When the light finally breaks fourth, a beautiful and vibrant landscape is revealed. I love how Grieg never leaves a phrase of music to end where it began. This piece is continually modulating to a higher, brighter-sounding key. To me, this signifies the sun rising higher in the sky. Instead of ending a phrase where it began, it moves beyond where we expected, which is thrilling.

There are many comforting aspects of this piece. The morning can often be a beautiful, inspiring time of day. To focus on nature with the senses – sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste – can help relieve stress and make life seem to slow down a little. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “stop and smell the roses.” The message of this weeks posts on emotion is that life could be just that much easier and more peaceful by listening to Classical music actively, while not doing anything else but taking in its beauty and listening to its simple messages.

Next week: Anger! Grr!

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