The theme of the first piece in the set, Arietta, was one of the composer’s favorite melodies. He used it to complete the cycle in his very last lyric piece, Remembrances(Efterklang) — this time as a humorous walz.
Arietta was taken from “Lyric Pieces” in norvegian: Lyriske styler, a collection of 66 short pieces for solo piano written by Edvard Grieg.
They were published in 10 volumes, from 1867 (Op. 12) to 1901 (Op. 71). The collection includes several of his best known pieces, such as Weedding Day at Troldhaugen (Bryllupsdag på Troldhaugen), To Spring (Til våren), March of the Trolls (Trolltog), and Butterfly (Sommerfugl).
In 2002, Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes recorded a CD with 24 of the lyric pieces on Grieg’s own 1892 Steinway grand piano at Troldhaugen , the composer’s residence. Among other notable pianists to make recordings of the collection are Walter Gieseking, Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Eva Knardahl, Andrei Gavrilow, Einar Steen-Noekleberg, and Gerard Oppitz. A few recordings and piano rolls of Grieg himself performing also exist, and they have been published by the Norwegian record label Simax.
Four of the six pieces from Book V, Op. 54, were orchestrated under the title of Lyric Suite . Both Grieg and Anton Seidl had a hand in the orchestrations. Grieg also orchestrated two of the pieces from Book IX, Op. 68.