Accompanied by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the German-Japanese classical pianist Alice Sara Ott performs Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16. Conductor: Thomas Dausgaard.
The work is written in 1868, when the Norwegian composer 24 year old and it is the only concerto that Edvard Grieg (15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907) wrote. It is one of the most popular and frequently played piano concertos.
The three movements are:
- Allegro molto moderato (A minor): It is noted for the timpani roll in the first bar that leads to a dramatic piano flourish. The movement is in the Sonata form. The movement finishes with a virtuosic cadenza and a similar flourish as in the beginning.
- Adagio (D-flat major): It is a lyrical movement in D-flat major, which leads directly into the third movement.
- Allegro moderato molto e marcato – Quasi presto – Andante maestoso (A minor → F major → A minor → A major): The last movement opens in A minor 4/4 time with an energetic theme (Theme 1), which is followed by a lyrical theme in F major (Theme 2). The movement returns to Theme 1. Following this recapitulation is the 3/4 A major Quasi presto section, which consists of a variation of Theme 1. The movement concludes with the Andante maestoso in A major, which consists of a dramatic rendition of Theme 2 (as opposed to the lyrical fashion with which Theme 2 is introduced).
The concerto was originally scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A and B flat, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in E and E flat, 2 trumpets in C and B flat, 2 trombones, tuba, timpani and strings (violins, violas, cellos and double basses). He later added 2 horns and changed the tuba to a third trombone.
Alice Sara Ott
Alice Sara Ott (born 1988) is a German-Japanese classical pianist. She was born in Munich, Germany, in 1988; her Japanese mother had studied piano in Tokyo, and her father was a German civil engineer. At the age of three, after being taken to a concert, she decided she wanted to become a pianist; as she says, she realised that “music was the language that goes much beyond any words” and that she wanted to communicate and express herself through music. She started piano lessons when she was four, and reached the final stage of the youth competition in Munich at the age of five, playing to a full house in the Hercules Hall.
From the age of twelve, she studied at the Salzburg Mozarteum with Karl-Heinz Kämmerling while continuing her school education in Munich. Ott has won awards at a number of piano competitions, including first prize at the 2004 Pianello Val Tidone Competition. She has made recordings of Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes and Frédéric Chopin’s waltzes for Deutsche Grammophon, and is currently performing concert tours in Europe, Japan, and the United States.
She has gained critical acclaim for her performances at major concert halls worldwide and has established herself as one of the most exciting musical talents of today. The Guardian, commenting on her recent performance with the London Symphony Orchestra, said that she “gave the kind of gawp-inducing bravura performance of which legends are made.”
Alice has worked with the world’s leading conductors, including Lorin Maazel, Paavo Järvi, Neeme Järvi, James Gaffigan, Sakari Oramo, Osmo Vänskä, Vasily Petrenko, Myung-Whun Chung, Hannu Lintu and Robin Ticciati.
Ott has won many international competitions since winning the Jugend musiziert competition in Germany when she was seven years old. In 2002 she was the youngest finalist at the Hamamatsu International Piano Competition in Japan where she won the Most Promising Artist award. She won first prize in the 2003 Bach Competition in Köthen, Germany, the 2004 Pianello Val Tidone Competition in Italy, and the 4th EPTA (European Piano Teachers Association) International Competition in 2005.