Troldhaugen

Troldhaugen (Hill of the Trolls), about 8km south of the city centre off Highway 580, was the lakeside home of Edvard Grieg for the last 22 years of his life – though “home” is something of an exaggeration, as he spent several months every year touring the concert halls of Europe. Norway’s only composer of world renown, Grieg has a good share of commemorative monuments in Bergen – a statue in the city park and the Grieghallen concert hall to name but two – but it’s here that you get a sense of the man, an immensely likeable and much-loved figure of leftish opinions and disarming modesty: “I make no pretensions of being in the class with Bach, Mozart and Beethoven,” he once wrote, “Their works are eternal, while I wrote for my day and generation.”

A visit begins at the museum, where Grieg’s life and times are exhaustively chronicled, and a short film provides yet further insights. From here, it’s a brief walk to the house, a pleasant and unassuming villa built in 1885, and still pretty much as Grieg left it, with a jumble of photos, manuscripts and period furniture. Grieg didn’t, in fact, compose much in the house, but preferred to walk round to a tiny hut he had built just along the shore. The hut has survived, but today it stands beside a modern concert hall, the Troldsalen, where there are recitals of Grieg’s works in the summer (see Edvard Grieg). The bodies of Grieg and his wife – the singer Nina Hagerup – are inside a curious tomb blasted into a rock face overlooking the lake, and sealed with twin memorial stones; it’s only a couple of minutes’ walk off from the main footpath, but few people venture out to this beautiful, melancholic spot.

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