- Symphony in C minor, EG 119
- Old Norwegian Romance with Variations for orchestra, Op. 51
- Sigurd Jorsalfar, suite for orchestra (or piano or piano, 4 hands), Op. 56
Since Edvard Grieg's "Symphony in C minor" was his only work in the symphonic genre, and because he inscribed it with the warning "Must never be performed," it provokes curiosity and makes one hope that it might actually be a long lost magnum opus that he merely underrated. Yet there is little reason to get excited over this piece: it proves to be a skillful yet unexceptional example of mid-nineteenth century Romantic symphonic writing, with some charming passages and an agreeable tone, but with nothing especially striking or memorable about its themes, development, orchestration, or structure. Its style falls safely between Mendelssohn's and Schumann's, and its layout of four movements -- with a dance-like Intermezzo taking the place of a scherzo -- is conventional and unremarkable for the 20-year old Grieg. Rather in the same way that Georges Bizet's youthful and bland "Symphony in C major" (composed eight years before this work) reflects a static period in symphonic development and fails to predict much about its composer, so too does Grieg's symphony reflect the conservative musical attitudes of his time and anticipates few of his mature characteristics, aside from its abundant lyricism. The 2005 performance by the Malmö Symphony Orchestra under Bjarte Engeset is polished and professional, and plainly a contender among the few available recordings; filled out with the quaint "Old Norwegian Romance with Variations" and the popular "Three Orchestral Pieces" from the incidental music for Sigurd Jorsalfar, this CD is worth hearing for its clarity and worth snapping up at the affordable price, even if the symphony isn't a fully fledged masterpiece.