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Great composer carried with him Scots memento; History: Grieg's connection to Scotland remained.


One of the world's greatest composers carried a memento of his north-east roots with him throughout his life, researchers have revealed.

Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, who lived from 1843 to 1907, is revered across the globe as one of the leading Romantic-era composers.

His music is part of the standard repertoire worldwide, and he is perhaps best known for his musical accompaniment to the Henrik Ibsen play Peer Gynt.

Though he is to the Norwegians what Shakespeare is to the British, Grieg is also claimed by the Scots.

And now archivists have discovered Grieg carried in his pocket the family crest of his greatgrandfather Alexander, who emigrated to Norway from Fraserburgh.

The gravestone of Grieg's great-great-grandparents on his paternal side, John and Ann Greig - who used the original Scottish spelling of the name - lies at Rathen Old Kirkyard near Fraserburgh.

Their son, Alexander Greig, Edvard's greatgrandfather, was born in Cairnbulg near Fraserburgh and emigrated to Norway in the mid-1700s.

Edvard Grieg was born in Bergen in 1843.

Though Grieg's grandparents were all born in Norway, he never forgot his Scottish roots.

Honorary director of the Grieg Society of Scotland, Dr Sally Garden, has conducted extensive archival research into the composer's Scottish ancestry.

She said: "It was an Elgin minister, the Rev William Gray, who by chance met Grieg in the Norwegian mountains, who learned that the composer carried on the end of his watch chain his Scottish family 'crest' featuring a ship sailing on the waves.

"Grieg knew the story of his great-grandfather Alexander's emigration from Fraserburgh, and the crest he proudly wore was actually Alexander's seal - at that time letters were sealed with wax."


HISTORIC TIES: Edvard Grieg carried his Scottish family 'crest' on his watch chain

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Publication:The Press and Journal (Aberdeen,Scotland)
Date:May 23, 2019
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