A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger
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|1. Biographical/Artistic Vignettes|
|4. Program Notes|
4. PROGRAM NOTES, continued
NOTE: THIS ONLINE VERSION IS CURRENTLY "TEXT ONLY." MUSICAL EXAMPLES REFERRED TO IN THE TEXT HAVE TO BE SCANNED SEPARATELY AND WILL BE ADDED AT A FUTURE DATE.
"Difficulty: medium advanced.
"Though the melody is folk-like in character, the musical content of this vital and spirited work is entirely original, with a hearty, infectious melody and lively rhythms to match. Some of the parts are challenging (e.g. horns) and considerable emphasis is placed on the woodwinds. A piano is highly desirable but the solo passages have been effectively cued into the band instruments. Frank Erickson in his revision [G. Schirmer, 1971] has made minor changes to conform to modern band instrumentation. A highly enjoyable work for players and audiences alike."--Joseph Kreines (GSJ IV/2).
"Although said by some to derive from Smetana's Vltava and by others to be an eighteenth century marching song, the jolly, bouncing principal melody of this delicious little march is entirely original. The composer published it in several forms more or less simultaneously--for military band and piano (or massed pianos), in which form the composer at the end directs that a bass string of the piano be struck with a marimba hammer, piano duet, and a shortened version for piano solo. T he composer directed the Goldman Band of America in the first performance of the band version and he and Ralph Leopold gave the first performance of the piano duet version, both in America. The dedicatee is 'My playmate beyond the hills' but there is no clue as to his or her identity."--W.A. Chislett.
"[Grainger's] thorough understanding and effective scoring for wind band was obviously influenced by his period of service in the U.S. Army between 1917/19, having enlisted as a bandsman (2nd Class) in the Coast Artillery Band. A brilliant a nd extravagant example of this ability is embodied in the Children's March 'especially written to use all the forces of the Coast Artillery Band which I was serving in 1918.' This is one of his earliest wind compositions which required a piano as a n integral part of the ensemble."--Eric Banks (British 1).
"The Children's March follows a pattern typical of most of Grainger's works, introducing a tune and then subjecting it to all kinds of harmonic, rhythmic, textural, and orchestral treatments with little alteration of the actual themat ic material. A novel aspect of the score is its optional wordless part for a quartet of men's voices."--Frank Hudson.
"This is an original work for band, even though its tunes may sound like folksongs; one bears a resemblance to Smetana's The Moldau. This fascinating study in sonority calls for a bass oboe (a heckelphone is used for the Michigan State University Symphonic Band recording), low brass, tam-tam, tambourine, castanets, snare drum and piano string struck by a percussion mallet. Its form is so greatly extended that nothing like this jaunty romp is to be found in the march repertoire. The scoring was completed in February 1919. Children's March is considered to be one of Grainger's most memorable contributions to the band literature."--Dana Perna (Michigan).
Chosen Gems for Winds
"When transcribing for another medium, Grainger was adept at capturing the mood, intent, content, and fullest expression of the source. This set him apart from other band arrangers....
"The Belgian-born French composer, organist and teacher César Franck was [one] of Grainger's favorites. Grainger once said that `Franck's Three Chorales are certainly the greatest music since Wagner at his best'. The original is one of Franck's last compositions, composed between August and September 1890 (Franck died on November 8, 1890). The work shares themes with Franck's D Minor Symphony. Grainger's skills of orchestrations are brought to the fore in this consummate transcription. It is amazing that Grainger never produced a full score to his setting. Working only from the organ version, he seems to have kept a running 'mental score' of the orchestration while he copied the parts--a feat even more amazing when one realizes that he also added and aligned all of the detailed phrase and dynamic markings. Through his scoring, he produced sonorities that resemble those of Franck, as if Franck had cast his Symphony for band rather than the orchestra. The Chorale No. 2 is Grainger's largest and most ambitious arrangement. It is a 'gem' in every respect."--Dana Perna (Michigan).
"Colleen Dhas (or 'The valley lay smiling') was composed in Denmark in October 1904 and first performed while Grainger was staying at the home of Herman Sandby's brother, a village doctor and amateur flutist. Other local musicians mad e up the impromptu band on that occasion, adding to the flute, cor anglais, harp and strings. [The work is listed in Chapter 2, Catalog of Works, above, as an arrangement for flute, English horn, guitar, vioin, viola and cello. (Ed.)] It is Grainger's first room music setting of a folk-song, taken from Thomas Moore's ten volumes of Irish Melodies which Stanford re-edited in 1895. 'Colleen Dhas' is Gaelic for 'pretty maid', and while Grainger was collecting and phonographing folk-songs in Lincolnshire in 1906, he came across a variant in The pretty maid milkin' her cow which he also set."--Steven Lloyd.
Sentimentals No. 1
Grainger: "Originally composed for 2 voices (soprano and tenor), harp and full orchestra. Composed as Yule-gift for mother, 1911. Scored as Yule-gift for mother, 1912. Rescored, early 1914.
"SHORT PROGRAM NOTE: In this piece the composer has wished to express feelings aroused by thoughts of the scenery and people of his native land, Australia. It is dedicated to the composer's mother.
"LONG PROGRAM NOTE: No traditional tunes of any kind are made use of in this piece, in which I have wished to express feelings aroused by thoughts of the scenery and people of my native land, (Australia), and also to voice a certain kind of emotion that seems to me not untypical of native-born Colonials in general.
"Perhaps it is not unnatural that people living more or less lonelily in vast virgin countries and struggling against natural and climatic hardships (rather than against the more actively and dramaticly exciting counter wills of their fellow men, as i n more thickly populated lands) should run largely to that patiently yearning, inactive sentimental wistfulness that we find so touchingly expressed in much American art; for instance in Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and in Stephen C. Foster's ado rable songs My Old Kentucky Home, Old Folks at Home, etc.
"I have also noticed curious, almost Italian-like, musical tendencies in brass band performances and ways of singing in Australia (such as a preference for richness and intensity of tone and soulful breadth of phrasing over more subtly and sensitively varied delicacies of expression), which are also reflected here."
"Colonial Song was first scored for soprano, tenor, harp and orchestra, and in 1913 Grainger arranged this tune for the wind band. On June 6, 1919, Edwin Franko Goldman gave its first performance with his professional band. Colonial Song is generally regarded as the earliest known band composition to be scored for piano and harp. Grainger states that this is 'an attempt to write a melody as typical of the Australian countryside as Stephen Foster's exquisite songs are typical of rural America.'" --James Westbrook.
"This setting requires the wind and brass players to execute uncharacteristically legato phrases even in the high registers. Grainger's original ending was quite extraordinary, the last notes being scored for French horns and a single harmonic-produced pitch in the string bass."--Dana Perna.
"Difficulty: medium advanced to advanced.
"A truly great work, in slow and sustained tempo, which demands the upmost in flexibility, nuance and sensitivity. Very challenging to conductors, requiring skill in tempo control, subdivision and feeling for long line. The melodies, all ori ginal, the socring as fine as anyting in band literature. Requires good saxophone, trumpet and baritone soloists, strong horns and mature low woodwinds. A piano (and/or harp) is desirable though it can be omitted. Strongly recommended."--Joseph Kreines (GSJ IV/2).
Composer's headnote: "Wayward in time. Rich, broad and vibrating, with ample swells."
"Percy believed that the peoples of lonely, underpopulated colonial lands tended to express a 'patiently yearning, inactive sentimental wistfulness' in their art. With the Colonial Song, his love song to Australia, he creates melodies that seem to have been born with a past life and regional associations. Through changing meters and myriad tempo modifications, Percy conveys a folksong-like flexibility. The piece's luxuriant textures are saturated with independent-minded countermelodie s, inner voices, and leisurely harmonic digressions. Like so much late romantic music, its aural richness delights some and induces esthetic queasiness in others. (Sir Thomas Beecham pronounced it 'the worst piece of modern times.') Those sympathetic to it, however, find it a masterpiece whose broad, sweeping gestures convey the awesome vastness of virgin land."--Joseph Smith.
"Colonial Song was intended as the first in a series of `Sentimentals'--a project which for some reason was never followed up. In this sumptuous work Grainger `wished to express feelings aroused by thoughts of the scenery and people of [my] native land, Australia.'"--John Pickard (Piano 1).
British Folk-Music Settings No. 22
English Morris Dance Tune, collected by Cecil J. Sharp
Grainger: "Rough-sketched for 2 whistlers and a few instruments about 1908. Worked out for piano, spring, 1918. Birthday gift, mother, July 3, 1918.
"Groups of countryside dancers--'teams' of 'Morris Men'--decked out with ribbons and jingling bells, still dance the Morris Dance to the accompaniment of such tunes as Shepherd's Hey and Country Gardens, in some parts of rural England. We owe our knowledge of such things to that genius among folk-music collectors, Cecil J. Sharp, and those interested in the subject should consult Morris Dance Tunes and The Morris Dance Book, both by Cecil J. Sharp and Herbert C. Macil waine and both published by Novello & Co., Ltd. "The traditional tune, as collected by Cecil J. Sharp, is [given as Mus. Exam. 3, below]."
"[This] English Morris-dance tune... became Grainger's curse, but equally, let it be admitted, posterity's delight."--Leslie Howard (Piano 1).
"Of Country Gardens Grainger once wrote: 'The typical English country garden is not often used to grow flowers in; it is more likely to be a vegetable plot. So you can think of turnips as I play it.'"--John Bird [Adni].
"In an NBC broadcast of 1936, Grainger said of his Country Gardens, 'I arranged this Morris Dance originally to be whistled by two whistlers with a few instruments accompanying them. That was in 1908. In 1918 when I was in the Band of the 15th Coast Artillery Corps I used to improvise on Country Gardens at Liberty Loan concerts. Finally in 1919 I had it published for the piano and you have been afflicted with it ever since.' All that one can add here is that Cecil Sharp first gave Grainger the tune but lived to regret it and whilst the piece's phenomenal popularity earned the Australian (and his publishers) a small fortune it also obscured most of his other compositions. It must also be one of the few works composed by a dedicated pacifist in an army barracks."--John Bird (Rambles).
"Difficulty: medium advanced to advanced.
Grainger's original setting for piano became his most popular work during his lifetime. The adventurous and imaginative setting [for wind band] was one of the results of the collaboration with Leopold Stokowski for an all-Grainger record made in 1950. Soon afterward, Grainger [reset] the orchestral original with his characteristically colorful yet subtle approach to scoring. It is entirely different from the earlier setting in its use of strange dissonances, intricate rhythmic figurations and striking con trapuntal and harmonic touches. The writing requires fluency and agility from woodwinds and trumpets, [with its] considerable rhythmic intricacy and precision problems. Nevertheless, this is without doubt Grainger's finest version of this much-played work and is strongly recommended."--Joseph Kreines (GSL IV/2; Unknown).
"Between 1949-1950, Grainger re-scored several of his most popular compositions for an orchestral recording conducted by Leopold Stokowski. One of them was a completely new and inventive version of Country Gardens. In this version, th e folktune is restored to the order which Cecil Sharp notated, as opposed to the form of Grainger's original piano solo version. While Grainger had earlier composed several settings of this piece, he did not score it for band until May 1953, when he made a setting of the version he had prepared for Stokowski. Ironically, it proved to be one of Grainger's last works for band, and was not published until 1990. While the scoring demonstrates the composer in his full maturity, the approach is quite different from the earlier settings. Colors are more transparent, the percussion are used to their best effect, and the blendings carefully elicit optimum contrasts. The setting is autobiographical. Grainger seized the opportunity presented by Stokowski to fashion an ironic, jolly/bitter personal statement. His last Country Gardens is both frolic and harshly biting satire. A few well-placed wrong notes show the pain he associated with this music. Near the end, the composer (via the trombones) conclusively st icks out his tongue at the world, and then quietly fades away.
"Grainger first heard the [John Philip] Sousa Band under the 'March King's' direction at the 1900 Paris Exhibition. He later came to know Sousa personally, and their correspondence demonstrates great mutual admiration. While Grainger's music was often featured on Sousa's programs, Sousa did not hesitate to modify or arrange Grainger's compositions. Sousa prepared these 'fripperies' (as Grainger referred to them) specifically for the Sousa audience and the sound of the Sousa Band. The Sousa Band's repe rtoire included Sousa's own versions of Shepherd's Hey, Handel in the Strand and Molly on the Shore. Sousa, in a letter to Grainger, remarked that his band had performed their own version of Country Gardens about two hundred times during a recent tour. In the same letter, Sousa pointed out: `I have probably played your compositions a greater number of times than any conductor in America, and there is something about all of them that makes a very strong appeal to me and to my public.'"--Dana Perna (Michigan).
"This is the traditional original setting, efficiently scored for band, but in no way comparable to Grainger's later  setting."--Joseph Kreines (GSJ IV/2).
British Folk-Music Settings
Grainger: "English Folksong collected (at Brigg, N.E. Lincolnshire, England, on July 28, 1906) from the singing of Mr. Joseph Taylor (of Saxby-All-Saints, N.E. Lincshire), and set for voice and piano 1920-1921, New York City. Loving birthday gift to Mother, July 3, 1921.
"[Headnote:] Slowly and gently rhythmic."
"The setting [is] much simpler than the other songs in [Thames Publishing's 1982 collection of 13 folksongs]. The folksong was phonographed from Joseph Taylor... two days before Hard Hearted Barb'ra (H)Ellen was noted. No other versions are known to exist. It was finished on June 18, 1921."--David Tall (Songs).
"Grainger paid his English composer friend Delius the compliment of transcription in the spring of 1922, arranging the First Dance Rhapsody. Both in the Rhapsody and The Song of the High Hills [see below] Grainger attemp ts a genuine recreation of the work in the medium of two pianos; his transcriptions are colorful and original, and make every attempt to sound like chamber music rather than orchestra substitution. Grainger's flair for the medium is, as always, very much in evidence, and the result is remarkable satisfying music."--Neely Bruce.
[For catalog entry, see La Scandinavie]
"The 'Dalvisa' (vocalise) for a capella mixed chorus has been constructed from separate 'voice-trial parts?' in the collection of the Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne (MG15/1-3-1:1 to 5). These parts are listed as being 'Billi ng Choruses' (i.e. Choruses written at Billing?). The original tune is a folk-song from Dalarna, called 'Vindarna suckla', and was collected by Hugo Alven, and used to great effect in his Midsommarvaka, Swedish Rhapsody No. 1, Op. 19 of 1903 . The words to this folk-song are:
Vindarna sucka uti skogarna,--English transl. by Fru Ulla Lundin
Forsarna brusa uti „lvarna,
Vargorna gunga sakta,
Vargorna gunga sakta
Gunga sakta fram mot Siljans strand.
The winds whisper softly in the forests,
The waterfalls surge out into the rivers,
The waves move slowly in motion,
The waves move slowly in motion,
Moving slowly towards the shores of the Siljan.
It is quite possible that Grainger may have intended at some stage to publish this version, as in approximately the same year it was written, his other Swedish folk-song setting 'A Song of Vermeland' was published by The Vincent Music Company Ltd . The two works together would form an attractive addition to any future choral concerts of Grainger's works for this medium.
The question remains, did Grainger plan to add words at some later stage? In the light of the manuscript parts being used for 'voice-trials', this is quite possible."--Barry Peter Ould (GSJ VI/2).
"NOTE. According to tradition, the Bard David lived in a house called 'Y Garreg Wen' (The White Rock) in a remote situation in North Wales. He was commonly called by his Christian name followed by the name of his house--a common custom in Wales, and one which survives to the present day.
"Like many other Welsh bards, David was also a harpist, and is reputed to have had his harp continually at his side. On his death-bed, he is supposed to have asked that his harp be once more placed in his hands in order that he might play just one more tune.
"The melody he played was afterwards called by his name 'Dafydd Y Garreg Wen' (David of the White Rock), and this same melody was performed on a single Welsh harp at his funeral, as was his dying wish.
"The Welsh words were subsequently added by Ceiriog Hughes in the nineteenth century. Words and melody are now inseparably linked, and are together widely known and regarded as one of the most popular of Welsh Traditional Songs."--Richard Bowen.
British Folk-Music Settings No. 10
Grainger: "Died for Love ["In 'love' the 'o' should be sounded like 'u' in 'butcher'."] (Folksong from Lincolnshire). Collected from the singing of Mr. Joseph Taylor (of Saxby-All-Saints, North East Lincolnshire) by Lucy E. Broadwood and Percy Aldridge Grainger, and set for a woman's voice accompanied
by flute, clarinet and bassoon,
or muted fiddle, muted middle-fiddle (viola) and muted bass-fiddle (cello),
or flute, muted middle-fiddle (viola) and muted bass-fiddle (cello).
[The 1912 edition published by Schott & Co. is marked "Score, or voice and piano version", and includes a piano part for which the above-named instruments may be substituted. (Ed.)] "May be key-shifted (transposed). Begun ? 1906, ended 18.12. 1907. Tellingly, and with rhythmic stress, though not loudly. Quite simply, and with tender gaiety. Not dragged, and strictly in time throughout.
"Mr. Taylor sang this song with an exquisite tender gaiety and gentle dance-like rhythmic lilt. The tune and words are here given as nearly identical with my noting down of a phonograph record I took of his singing (at Brigg, Lincs, 28.7.1906) but for an added bar's rest (bar 22) and a lengthening of the end note (bars 42, 43). The pronunciation 'gress' (Mr. Taylor sang 'grass') in bar 18 is borrowed from another Lincolnshire folksinger.
"For Miss Broadwood's version and setting of Mr. Taylor's tune (and notes thereon) see 'Died of Love' (pp. 92 and 123) in English Traditional Songs and Carols by Lucy E. Broadwood (Boosey & Co.).
"For my notation of the above mentioned phonograph record, for notes on the tune and words, and for a small sketch in which I have tried to give some slight hint of Mr. Joseph Taylor's lovable personality and exceptionally perfect style of folksong singing see pp. 164 and 188 of Journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 12 ."
"A hektograph score dated 16/18/12.07, for women's voice and various combinations of three instruments, is in the Grainger Museum (MG5/13). "[Grainger's] precise choice of instruments was not done theoretically or haphazardly. It was his habit to try out his compositions, or parts of them, in 'sound trials' before he decided on the final version. In the National Library of Scotland collec tion there is a listing of various possibilities for the instruments for Died for Love. It is therefore important to use one of the three instrumentations given in the vocal score [as above]....
"[Grainger] also wrote out the setting a tone lower than the published version. There are ms. parts for piano and for violin, viola, cello in the Grainger Museum (MG15/10-3) for this lowered version.
"A version for piano solo (undated), which literally transcribed the vocal line and the three instrumental lines, is now  in the British Library. The voice part has also been written out for violins, first verse at the same pitch, second verse p lus the upper octave, so that it may be played with the other three string parts for string orchestra. Only the song has been published, for voice and piano and for voice and three instruments, in each case only in the original key (Schott 1912 [as above] )." --David Tall (Songs).
The folksong Died for Love has a poignant melody for its doleful confession: 'I wish my baby it was born lyin' smilin' on its father's knee, and I was dead and in my grave and green grass growin' all over me.'"--John Bishop.
"The source materials for this edition [Published by Bardic Edition--see Chapter 3, Locations of Scores, above.] were all photocopies from Percy's personal holdings found at his White Plains home, as supplied by Stewart Manville. These include d a hand-prepared part for the first violins, which was the voice part edited for the violin or a section of violins. The other parts were extracted from those which had contained the vocal part with the respective instrument. As was Grainger's custom, these were referred to as 'fiddles' (e.g. 'fiddles', 'middle fiddles' [violas] and 'low fiddles' [cellos]) and it would appear that, given his immense interest in the music from earlier periods, he was treating this instrumentation as a modern day fiddle co nsort. The Double Bass part did not appear in Grainger's hand and was fabricated by the editor, Dana Perna. This part, as it appears in score, is notated as if it were a 'cue', since it is an optional part. The full string orchestra version was designed f or conductors who wish to make use of all of their forces. For conductors desiring a more 'authentic-to-Grainger-sound' in performance of this piece, the Double Bass part may be omitted entirely.
"In Percy's original hand, the first violin part was written on the same stave where the part is marked 'divide'. In the score and the newly prepared part for this edition, the divided part has been copied onto two staves. This was done to provide gre ater clarity for conductor and players. The violin 1 part should be performed without a mute, all of the other parts are to be performed with mutes on throughout. On Percy's set of parts to the parts which are now fiddles 2, middle-fiddle and low-fiddle, grease pencil was used, remarking the phrasing he wished the all-fiddle version to have. It would appear that these were Grainger's own markings and those phrasings have all been adhered to in this edition. (It was not uncommon for Grainger to supply part s to instruments other than those included in his score if he discovered that such players and instruments would become available to him. Thus, our adding a Double-Bass part follows Grainger's own custom.)
"NOTE: No dynamics are indicated for parts other than violins 1. It appears that Grainger wished to indicate inflections here because theirs is the only section to play the tune throughout. The remaining 'fiddles' (and bass, if used) are to rem ain muted and pianissimo. Grainger wished to match the bowing and phrasing style common and characteristic of 'fiddle playing' against the bowing found in 'classical' violin playing. This setting of Died for Love is uniquely Percy Grainger."<19 7>Dana Perna.
Sea Chanty Settings Nr. 2
Grainger: "Two versions of a Capstan or Windlass Chanty, by kind permission of Charles Rosher, C.E., F.R.G.S., and H. E. Piggott. [See Mus. Exam. 4, facing page.]
"Mr. Perring said this was a 'tipical' ('ti' rhymes with 'my') Negro Chanty, sung by Negro sailors in the East India trade, in complaint at their being harder worked and lower-waged than white seamen. The vowel a in alf was sounded as in the usual American pronunciation of half, i.e. like the first vowel sound in hair (standard English pronunciation).
"For other variants of these chanties, for notes upon them and for a description of Mr. Perring's singing see Journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 12."
British Folk-Music Settings Nr. 36
"Percy Grainger's 'Duke of Marlborough' Fanfare takes its inspiration from an 18th-century broadside ballad, probably written relatively close to the event it portrays--namely the Battle of Ramillies (1706) between the English and French.
"The version Grainger uses was collected by Miss Lucy E. Broadwood, about 1895, from Henry Burstow of Horsham, Sussex, whom he describes as 'one of the very finest of all English folk singers'.
"In the ballad the duke lies 'on a bed of sickness,... resigned to die.' He thinks back on his deeds of valor and in his imagination exhorts 'you gen'rals all and champions bold' to 'stand true', as he had done in the past:
We clim'ed those lofty hills away,
With broken guns, shields likewise;
And all those famous towns we took,
To all the world's surprise...
The sun was down, the earth did shake,
And I so loud did cry,
'Fight on, my lads, for England's sake,
We'll gain the field or die...'
"The majestic, long-measured tune of this ballad is said to be quite unlike the general style of an English folk song, being altogether more artfully conceived. One would suppose that it took its origin in the 'polite' tradition of the formally composed music heard in English pleasure gardens and playhouses of the early Georgian era.
"Grainger's dissonant harmonies are much in keeping with the stridency of its military theme."--Stewart Manville.
"The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare was written for the brass choir of the wind band or symphony orchestra. Grainger writes that 'my fanfare (written March 5-6, 1939 at Coral Gables, Florida) is based on the English folksong 'The Duke of Marlborough'. In my setting, the tune is heard twice. The first time (behind the platform) it typifies memories of long-past wars--vague, far-off, poetic. The second time (on the platform) typifies war in the present--fast-moving, close at hand, de bonair, drastic."--James Westbrook.
"'The Duke of Marlborough' Fanfare is based on an English folksong gathered by Miss Lucy E. Broadwood. The first part is played by a horn off-stage and the full brass group on-stage enters for the second half."--John Hopkins (O rchestral 1).
"Simple but sophisticated, 'The Duke of Marlborough' Fanfare is scored for full brass with optional parts for bassoons and saxophones. The opening horn solo is performed [in a University of Illinois Symphonic Band recording] by eight players in unison. The second section of the work treats the original material played by the horns fugally with the entire brass section."--Frank Hudson.
Old English song (set 1901-40; also 1950)
[Published in Percy Grainger: Thirteen Folksongs [for] Solo Voice and Piano by Thames Publishing, 1982. (Ed.)] British Folk-Music Settings Grainger: "English traditional song set for soprano voice and room-music (9 strings, flute, horn, double-bassoon at will) October 16, 1901-August 4, 1940, White Plains, New York. Set for voice (woman's or man's) and piano August 15, 1940, White Plains, New York.
"[Headnote:] Slowly, anguished."
"This was first set as a single verse for voice and piano when Grainger was 16. He composed it as one of 25 settings of melodies from Augener's The Minstrelsey of Old England and it bears the hallmarks of the young composer, with bold harmonies that lack the experience necessary to place the chords effectively in the piano accompaniment.
"Two years later, in 1901, he returned to these early works and made a number of new sketches. One was a development of the harmonies of Early One Morning for mezzo soprano and three altos; another was a totally different setting for mezzo sopr ano and male choir.
"The sketches lay fallow until September 1939, when he was working on The Easy Grainger, a projected collection of easy keyboard pieces which was never completed. He composed a new harmonization of Early One Morning in the minor key and followed it with a transcription of the soprano and male-voice choir sketch to make a 20-bar setting for two players at one harmonium. In October he transcribed it for strings and the following year he extended it to a full 40 bars by incorporating the sk etch for women's voices and composing new material for the ending. It was now in its definitive form for room-music with optional soprano. The transcription for voice and piano was made on August 15, 1940.
"Though thoroughly integrated, the origins of the material [in this latter version] are clearly discernable by comparison with the earlier versions:
"It was to be transformed yet again, into full orchestral dress, for the 1950 Stokowski recording."--David Tall (Songs).
bars 1-9 for harmonium duet: September 24-25, 1930
bars 10-20 for soprano and male choir: October 16, 1901
bars 21-24 (later modified) for voice and piano: January 20, 1899
bars 25-40 for voice and room-music: July 30-August 4, 1940
"Grainger began this setting in 1901, but did not complete it until 1939-40, when he made three different scorings. In 1950, he made yet another version (for Stokowski), which differs in several respects from the earlier ones. "The text of the song is as follows:
Early one morning, just as the sun was rising
I heard a maid sing in the valley below
'O don't deceive me, O never leave me!
How could you use a poor maiden so?
Remember the vows that you made to your Mary
Remember the bower where you vowed to be true
O don't deceive me, O never leave me
How could you use a poor maiden so?'
"This is one of Grainger's most poetically sensitive and imaginatively harmonized folk-song settings. It begins with a brooding, anguished statement of the tune in the minor mode, abruptly changing to the major. The transcription features several solo ists (euphonium, bassoon, oboe, flute, trumpet) and concludes with a broad, fully-scored statement. It uses the 1940 version as its basis, with some elements from the 1950 version. It closely follows Grainger's original in its use of solo instruments and demands beauty of sonority and sensitivity to details of balance, nuance and feeling of line."--Joseph Kreines (GSJ IV/2; Unknown; Two Grainger Melodies).
"The  arrangement of Early One Morning... is a beautifully conceived exercise in sliding chromaticism between consonance and dissonance."--John Bird (Grainger).
Grainger: "PROGRAM-NOTE. In no sense an attempt to write in the style of any particular English dance-form, nor based upon folk-music or popular music in any way, my English Dance is the result of an urge to express in large form that co mbination of athletic energy and rich warmth that is characteristic of such English tunes as 'Come lasses and lads', and of English music in general. I wished to tally in my music a certain bodily keenness and rollicking abandonment that I found typical and enthralling in English national life--as manifested in such things as furious football rushes, the love of sprinting, the high average speed of men and women walking in the streets, newspaper distributors swerving wildly, yet cunningly, through crowded London traffic on low bicycles, a pro-fusion of express trains hurtling through the dark factories clanging and blazing by night, and numberless kindred exhilarating showings.
"The work is dedicated to Cyril Scott. In its original form the English Dance was begun about 1899 (in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany), but was chiefly composed and scored (for orchestra) in 1901 or 1902 (in London, England). It was thoroughly rewo rked and rescored in 1906, 1907, 1908 and 1909 (in England and on tour in Australia and New Zealand), the musical contents then being greatly added to and assuming their present form. The final radical reorchestration, for orchestra and organ (without involving, however, any alteration of the musical material), was undertaken in 1924 and 1925, in the United States."
"Shortly before Sir Thomas Beecham asked Grainger about writing a ballet [See The Warriors, below. (Ed.)], he conducted the young Australian composer's English Dance in a Sunday afternoon concert at the London Palladium. Though this score was 'chiefly composed and scored in 1901', thoroughly 'reworked' and rescored around 1906, it was not put into its final form until some 15 years later. Indeed Beecham made some suggestions for amendments which Grainger gladly accepted.
"In comparison with the colorful, wild exotic nature of The Warriors, the English Dance is rather monochrome. Indeed, Grainger aimed to achieve what he called the 'somewhat grey and certainly monotonous scheme of Bach's colourings'. This was to allow him to concentrate on 'intervallic expression', which he considered the strongest of all musical elements. Grainger said 'In nature at its sublimest (the desert, the ocean, and the like) a certain monotony is generally present; the smaller elements of contrast do not intrude upon the all-pervading oneness of the larger impression.' The composer's extensive analysis in the score includes a further point, 'Personally, I have always felt that Bach's scores provide the most useful hint s towards the solution of certain problems of modern composition; especially where we are concerned with 'large form'.' He disliked what he called 'the small sectionalness and constant thematic reiterations of sonata-form'. Certainly the English Dance is one of Grainger's most energetic and muscular works in which the sinewy nature of the melodic lines is clearly evident. In this work, Grainger said, 'I wish to tally in my music a certain bodily keenness and rollicking abandonment that I found typi cal and enthralling in English national life.' English Dance is dedicated to Cyril Scott."--John Hopkins (Orchestral 5).
[Edition published by G. Schirmer, 1924. (Ed.)]
Grainger: "For Cyril Scott, with long love. 1st Pianist at 1st Piano, 2nd & 3rd Pianists at 2nd Piano. Elastic Scoring: Room-music or orchestral combinations of almost any size or make-up may be formed by combining this version (singly, or massed to a ny extent) with any or all of the orchestral parts of the orchestral version published by G. Schirmer, Inc., New York.
"[Headnote:] Fast, very rigid in time."
"The final orchestral version of English Dance was completed in 1909, the composer having worked on it sporadically for ten years. The version for two pianos was 'dished up' in 1921 whilst Grainger was touring the U.S.A. Marked 'Fast, very rigi d in time', the work has an almost non-stop patter of quavers over a jogging accompaniment. The rise, fall and leaps of the main theme heard at the beginning typify the general character of the piece which, despite some moments of gentle beauty, creates a n atmosphere of great energy. In a letter to Roger Quilter, Grainger commented: 'You known I've always felt the English Dance as the whole land on the hop, the whole caboozle of football, factory furnaces, newspaper bicyling boys, fire engines; the general athletic pith of England whanging away.'"--David Stanhope (Piano 3).
"Grainger... felt certain that the success of English Dance would win him the plaudits of British music society and, years before its February 18, 1912 premiere under Thomas Beecham, contrived to make everyone aware of its existence. After a private reading with Grainger at the piano, Fauré is said to have exclaimed:
"It's as if the total population was a-dancing."
Delius, on receiving the first hand-prepared copies, advised the composer to
"Finish it. I will have it played when you like. Your music is the first music I have heard for years which I really love. It is fresh and new and thrilling.""Grainger was more pleased and proud of his English Dance than of any other piece he had composed up to that time....
"The 1912 premiere of English Dance was educational for Grainger; he felt the work's orchestration needed improvement and that the piece lacked the substance he had thought it contained. After extensive revisions of its orchestration (and a new set of parts), Grainger conducted it himself in a concert given as part of a series sponsored by Balfour Gardiner. Happier with the improvements Grainger was still not sure that English Dance had reached a state of final completion; but additional performances were to follow.
A month following the death-by-suicide of Percy's beloved mother, Rose Grainger, English Dance was featured on a program which also included Green Bushes and The Brides Tragedy. This occasion, a part of the Evanston (Illinois) Festiva l, must have made him appreciate what a fine composition in fact it was. He radically revised the orchestration between 1924 and 1925, "without involving any alteration of the musical material"--by which time the 2 piano/6-hand version had alre ady been published. It is in this last form (with organ, published in 1929) that the English Dance is performed by orchestras today.
"Grainger acknowledged some indebtedness to J.S. Bach:
The general lay-out of the musical form is on very broad lines and will be found to follow Bach's formal technic more closely than that of any more recent compositional styles. Also in the methods of scoring the somewhat grey and certainly mono tonous scheme of Bach's coloring (as instanced in the first chorus of the "Matthew" Passion and in the Brandenburg Concertos) has been preferred to the more heterogeneous, shorter-breathed, broken-up brush-work of modern orchestration habits. By l aying the minimum of emphasis upon tonal "color", by adopting an instrumentation of mainly "neutral" tints, I feel it is possible to concentrate the whole appeal upon what appears to me to be the strongest of all musical elements--purely intervallic expression."Though lacking the vast forces of "tuneful percussion" which Grainger often employed, the orchestral forces required for this English Dance are still quite large: piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, E-flat clarinet, 2 clarinets i n A, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contra-bassoon, 4 French horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, euphonium, tuba, timpani, percussion (3 players--cymbals, side drum, glockenspiel and bass drum), organ, piano (with the option of additional pianos) and strings. This composition is every bit a twentieth century concerto grosso, not only because of the obvious contrast and interplay between piano and organ, but also with respect to the treatment of each instrumentalist's part. Solos move in and out of other solos which are played simultaneously; tuttis arrive as great climaxes of colliding impact. The structure of English Dance grows organically out of its opening tune, sounded by the organ. That tune is followed by a perpetual rondo of Grainger's ow n devising. An exuberant coda brings the work to its exploding conclusion.
"When Grainger began work on English Dance, he was a young Australian of 16 or 17 years of age. When he completed it, he had become a master of his craft (and an American citizen). The piece was dedicated 'to Cyril Scott, with long love' (as students together in Germany, Scott, Grainger, Balfour Gardiner and Roger Quilter had formed an alliance called 'The Frankfurt Group'). For all the years required to complete it, the work never lost its youthful freshness, and intensity. If ever a single co mposition could be said to reflect the complex nature and intense personality of its composer, English Dance could be... it is a virtual incarnation-in-tone of Percy Grainger."--Dana Perna.
"An Australian by birth and American by adoption, Grainger none-the-less put his special imprint on the English folk song revival. An avid collector himself--especially in Lincolnshire--he elevated both the scholar's and the arranger's approach to produce another 'genre'. His fifty or so arrangements are artistic creations in their own right and show a special genius. He was meticulous in transcribing what the folk singers sang and notates the music, embellishments and even the dialect s with an accuracy never found in Cecil Sharp. Comparing The sprig of thyme [below] with its brother The seeds of love we can perceive that Grainger allows the melodic line to leap and twist (aided and abetted by the accompaniment) with a r ustic vitality which makes Sharp's version and Vaughan William's accompaniment seem rather prim. Every rhythmic variation and subtlety in Six Dukes went a-fishin' [below] is carefully annotated with irregular bars and fine distinctions between dotted and triplet rhythms. The accompaniment to Died for love [above] is quite as extraordinary as that for British waterside is virtuosic (Grainger was a brilliant recital pianist), and there can be nothing but wonder at the perfection of the simple accompaniment to the haunting Willow willow [below]."--Robert Walker.
PREFACE to published score [Gershwin Publishing Corp., 1951; reissued by Chappell/Intersong Music Group, distr. by Hal Leonard. (Ed.)]: George Gershwin composed Porgy and Bess in 1934-1935. The 'American folk opera' is based on a play about a beggar in Charleston, South Carolina, which was written and adapted by DuBose Heyward. Gershwin wrote part of Porgy and Bess when living on an island near Charleston during the summer of 1934. Many of the songs, including I got plenty o' nuttin', Summertime, and Leavin' for the promise' land', reflect Gershwin's impressions of the music, speech, and lifestyle of the local blacks.
"Porgy and Bess received a mixed reaction from both blacks and whites. Critics pointed to the opera's characterization of the blacks, as well as it being merely a collection of hit songs rather than a true opera. Others praised it as the beginning of a new folk-opera genre. Porgy and Bess was first performed at the Alvin Theatre in New York, October 10, 1935.
"Fantasy on Porgy and Bess by Percy Aldridge Grainger encorporates the music of Gershwin's folk opera into an expansive arrangement for two pianos."
"Percy Grainger was an ardent admirer of the music of George Gershwin. Grainger, finding in Gershwin's music many similarities to Grieg, [See Grainger's notes for The Man I Love, below. (Ed.)] considered him one of the world's suprem e melodists and referred to The Man I Love as one of the great love songs of all times.
"Being a gifted pianist possessed of great improvisational skills, Grainger would frequently play Gershwin's music in solo, and with his wife Ella, duo and duet arrangements. Starting in 1944, several Grainger transcriptions of Gershwin song s were published, culminating in 1951 with the appearance of an extended arrangement of themes from the 1935 folk opera Porgy and Bess.
"Porgy was not easy to play on the piano, as Gershwin once told a friend: 'It's very difficult to play this score. As a matter of fact it's really impossible! Can you play Wagner on the piano? Well, this is just like Wagner.'
"The Fantasy consists of the following sections: 'Introduction', 'My Man's Gone Now', 'It Ain't Necessarily So', 'Clara, Don't You Be Down-hearted', 'Strawberry Woman', 'Summertime', 'Oh, I Can't Sit Down', 'Bess, You Is My Woman Now' , 'I Got Plenty O'Nuthin'', and 'I'm on My Way'."--Michael Feinstein.
(Words and melody by Ella Grainger , harmonized and scored by P.A. Grainger [1944-45].
"This short song was based on a painting by H. Neville-Smith. It is 'for soprano solo and orchestra (mixed chorus at will)'. It is one of a number of light, charming songs by [the composer's wife] which were harmonized and orchestrated by Percy Grainger.
'The last sight of an island with palms behaving
as if they to me a farewell were waving.
That was the sight on this horizon skies
which was with tears beclouding my eyes.
Though seas may wash us all away
we yet in memory will stay;
as we in yours, so you in ours,
all through immortal hours.
Farewell, coral atoll and blue lagoon!
I hope to come back to you quite soon.
And take away this memory:
that atolls in the sea can faithful be.'
"The score bears a completion date of January 18. 1946, White Plains, N.Y."--John Hopkins (Orchestral 2).
Settings of Dance-Folksongs from the Faeroe Islands Nr. 1
Grainger: "For my friend John S. Sargent. Set for 5 men's single voices, double mixed chorus, strings, brass, and mandoline and guitar band (the mandolines and guitars can be left out at will). Begun 7.5.'08, ended 8.9.'09.
"The traditional tune is from the Collection of Hjalmar Thuren, and will be found (tune 29, page 105) in his work: Folkesangen paa Faerörne, af Hjalmar Thuren (The Folksong in the Faerö Islands) Andr. Fred. Host and Sons Forlag, Kobenhavn (Copenhagen) 1908.
"The words are traditional, and from the Royal Library, Copenhagen (C.C.F., No. 124 C). They can be consulted in Faerösk Anthologi ved V. H. Hammershaimb, Copenhagen, 1886 (page 253).
"PROGRAM-NOTE. The Faerö Islanders are mainly the descendants of those Norwegian emigrants who settled in Iceland, the Faeroes, and other Islands of the North Sea in the ninth and tenth centuries. Their speech, forming a link between Icelandic and Western Norwegian dialects, is one of the loveliest and most manfully rhythmic of all the many splendid Scandinavian tongues, and the Islands are still strangely rich in folk-poetry and folk-music.
"Dancing accompanied by epic ballad-singing is still a passion with the Faeröese; hand in hand, in a ring, they will dance the night through with hardly a break, and, that the dancing may not come to a standstill, even for a moment, it is customary at the close of one song for a fresh singer to start a new ballad with the very next footfall.
"Their dancing steps are considered to be a very faithful survival of the ring-dances (Kettentanz) of the middle ages, while their dance tunes belong to a primitive type of folk-music, showing a five-tone leaning imputed to Celtic influence. Al though their stirring ballad poetry (the plots drawn from the fightsome goings-on of the Icelandic sagas, and from Frankish, Norman, and German history and legends--Charlemagne, Roland, Tristram, etc.) has been collected since about 1780 and stored in the Copenhagen Royal Library (Corpus Carminum Faeroensium), no scientific record of their music was undertaken until the famous Danish student of primitive music, Hjalmar Thuren (who died January, 1912--an irreparable loss to musical research), roamed the islands with a phonograph in 1901-02, and embodied his results (including over one hundred tunes selected from some four hundred) in his fascinating book The Folk-song in the Faeroe Islands (Danish and German) (Copehhagen, 1908), which should be consulted by everyone interested in Faerö art.
"The words 'Dansum vael i frioum, stillio ydur alla riddara' ('Blithely dance the measure, all ye knights and swains, so merrily'), which in my setting are sung to accompanying secondary tunes (by me--not folk-tunes) on the second chorus, form part of the refrain from quite another Faerö ballad (see page 54 of Faeröiske Kvaeder, ved V. H. Hammershaimb, Copenhagen, 1855). In a certain respect these dancing songs may be looked upon as more purely vocal than almost any other European folk-m usic, as no instrumental music found its way into the islands until a very few years ago, not even into the churches.
"During the dance a single singer sings the verse part of
the tune, and the united dancers fall in with the refrain in unison
(never in parts), but often the dancers gradually join in in the verse
part as well, as the dance progresses, producing a piling-up effect
that I have imitated in my setting; but apart from this the whole harmonic
and orchestral treatment in my setting does not mirror Faeröese
musical usages in any way, and must be taken as a purely personal
addition to weigh up against the abse nce of the thud of many feet, the
flow of the dance movements, and the fine-looking islanders, famed for
their bright intelligent faces, active figures, and striking