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.
British Folk-Music Settings Nr. 34
Grainger (August, 1939): "English Folksongs gathered in Lincolnshire (England) by Lucy E. Broadwood and Percy Aldridge Grainger and set for Wind Band (Military Band). Dedicated to the folksingers who sang so sweetly to me. The Lincolnshire Posy was originally composed and scored for Wind Band, early in 1937, using earlier sketches (for various mediums) dating from 1906 to 1934. (Above each movement is stated the nature and date of the sketch or sketches from which it is sprung). The work was di shed-up for 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, by the composer, late in 1937 and early in 1938.
"PROGRAM-NOTE. With the exception of military marches almost all the music we hear played on wind bands (military bands) was originally composed for other mediums (for orchestra, for piano, for chorus, as songs for voice and piano) and afterwar ds arranged for wind band--and as good as never by the composer. (Notable exceptions are: Wagner's Huldigungsmarsch; Henry Cowell's Celtic Set; R. Vaughan Williams's Folksong Suite and Toccata Marziale (Boosey & Hawkes); Gustav Holst's two Suites for Band and Hammersmith; Hindemith's Concert Music for Wind Band (Schott, Mayence); Ernst Toch's Spiel; Florent Schmitt's Dionysiaques; Respighi's Hunting-Tower Ballad; several compositions by Leo Sowerby.)
"Why this cold-shouldering of the wind band by most composers? Is the wind band--with its varied assortments of reeds (so much richer than the reeds of the symphony orchestra), its complete saxophone family that is found nowhere else (to my ears the saxophone is the most expressive of all wind instruments--the one closest to the human voice. And surely all musical instruments should be rated according to their tonal closeness to man's own voice!), its army of brass (both wide-bore and narrow-bore)--not the equal of any medium ever conceived? As a vehicle of deeply emotional expression it seems to me unrivalled.
"Lincolnshire Posy, as a whole work, was conceived and scored by me direct for wind band early in 1937. Five, out of the six, movements of which it is made up, existed in no other finished form, though most of these movements (as is the case with almost all my compositions and settings, for whatever medium) were indebted, more or less, to unfinished sketches for a variety of mediums covering many years (in this case the sketches date from 1905 to 1937). These indebtednesses are stated in the scores. The version for two pianos was begun half a year after the completion of the work for wind band.
"This bunch of 'musical wildflowers' (hence the title Lincolnshire Posy) is based on folksongs collected in Lincolnshire, England (one noted by Miss Lucy E. Broadwood; the other five noted by me, mainly in the years 1905-1906, and with the help of the phonograph), and the work is dedicated to the old folksingers who sang so sweetly to me. Indeed, each number is intended to be a kind of musical portrait of the singer who sang its underlying melody--a musical portrait of the singer's personali ty no less than of his habits of song--his regular or irregular wonts of rhythm, his preference for gaunt or ornately arabesqued delivery, his contrasts of legato and staccato, his tendency towards breadth or delicacy of tone.
"For these folksingers were kings and queens of song! No concert singer I have ever heard approached these rural warblers in variety of tone-quality, range of dynamics, rhythmic resourcefulness and individuality of style. For while our concert singers (dull dogs that they are [Shame on you, Percy! In fact--levity aside--an uncharacteristic remark from a man of such broad tastes and enthusiasms; however, he always did like to poke fun (or worse) at critics and musicians who appear to take themselves too seriously, for the sake of their "art" perhaps, but, at the expense of the music itself. (Ed.)]--with their monotonous mooing and bellowing between mf and ff, and with never a pp to their name!) can show nothing b etter (and often nothing as good) as slavish obedience to the tyrannical behests of composers, our folksingers were lords in their own domain--were at once performers and creators. For they bent all songs to suit their personal artistic taste and perso nal vocal resources: singers with wide vocal range spreading their intervals over two octaves, singers with small vocal range telescoping their tunes by transposing awkward high notes an octave down.
"But even more important than these art-skills and personality-impresses (at least to Australia--a land that must upbuild itself in the next few hundred years, a land that cannot forever be content to imitate clockwork running down) is the heritage of the old high moods of our race (tangible proofs that 'Merry England'--that is, agricultural England--once existed) that our yeoman singers have preserved for the scrutiny of mournful, mechanised modern man.
"Up to the time of the Norman Conquest--in spite of the roaming of Danish armies over the English land--English art showed the characteristics we might expect of a proud Nordic people: in its heathen and half-heathen poems the glorification of race-redeeming, mankind-rescuing, blind-to-gain saviour-heroes such as Beowulf; in its Christian literature the veneration of true Christian meekness, studiousness, culture. It was only after the Norman Conquest that these high ideals gave place to a weak-kneed tolerance of (indeed, sly admiration for) such vices as adventurousness, opportunism and luck-chasing, and that the 'inferiority complex' of a defeated people revealed itself in the mock-heroics, flighty pessimism, self-belittlement, South-worship and Continent-apery so distressing (from an Australian standpoint) in Spencer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron, Keats, Tennyson, Swinburne and much other English art. (It is upheartening to note that this defeatist self-effacement, this indescriminate grovelling before things foreign is blessedly absent from American poetry such as Walt Whitman's and Edgar Lee Masters' and from such Australian art as Barbara Bainton's prose and the drawings, paintings and novels of Norman Lindsay. Here we meet again the affirmative life-worship and robust selfhood so characteristic of Scandinanvian art [of all periods] and of pre-Norman English art. Perhaps it is not too much to hope that America and Australia are in process of de-Normanising, re-Anglo-saxonising and re-Scandinavianising themselves!)
"Yet in spite of the defeatist pessimism so rampant in the more courtly, townified and university-bred branches of English art during the last 900 years our yeoman-artists have been able to hand down to us a large body of proud English moods, qualities and feelings: grandeur, sturdiness, stoicalness, unmatched sweetness (what folktunes are so meltingly sweet as the English?), wistfulness, island-minded mildness (for a nation without land-frontiers is, naturally, a stranger to continent-bred harshness and intolerance). And it is this yeomanship (this ability to stubbornly remain immune to all sorts of upstart un-English influences) that I wished to celebrate in my Posy.
"These musical portraits of my folksingers were tone-painted in a mood of considerable bitterness--bitterness at memories of the cruel treatment meted out to folksingers as human beings (most of them died in poor-houses or in other down-heartening surroundings) and at the thought of how their high gifts oftenest were allowed to perish unheard, unrecorded and unhonoured.
"It is obvious that all music lovers (except a few 'cranks') loathe genuine folksong and shun it like the plague. No genuine folksong ever becomes popular--in any civilised land. Yet these same music-lover entertain a maudlin affection for the word 'folksong' (coined by my dear friend Mrs. Edmund Woodhouse to translate German 'volkslied') and the ideas it conjures up. So they are delighted when they chance upon half-breed tunes like Country Gardens and Shepherd's Hey (on the borderline between folksong and unfolkish 'popular song') that they can sentimentalise over (as being folksongs), yet can listen to without suffering the intense boredom aroused in them by genuine folksongs. Had rural England not hated its folksong this form of music would not have been in process of dying out and would not have needed to be 'rescued from oblivion' by townified highbrows such as myself and my fellow-collectors. As a general rule the younger kin of the old folksingers not only hated folksong in the usual way, described above, but, furthermore, fiercely despised the folksinging habits of their old uncles and grandfathers as revealing social backwardness and illiteracy in their families. And it is true! the measure of a countryside's richness in living folksong is the measure of its illiteracy; which explains why the United States is, to-day, the richest of all English-speaking lands in living folksong.
"There are, however, some exceptions to this prevailing connection between folksong and illiteracy. Mr. Joseph Taylor, the singer of Rufford Park Poachers--who knew more folksongs than any of my other folksingers, and sang his songs with 'purer' folksong tradition--was neither illiterate nor socially backward. And it must also be admitted that he was a member of the choir of his village (Saxby-All-Saints, Lincolnshire) for over 45 years--a thing unusual in a folksinger. Furthermore his relatives--keen musicians themselves--were extremely proud of his prowess as a folksinger. Mr. Taylor was bailiff on a big estate, where he formerly had been estate woodman and carpenter. He was the perfect type of an English yeoman: sturdy and robust, yet the soul of sweetness, gentleness, courteousness and geniality. At the age of 75 (in 1908) his looks were those of middle age and his ringing voice--one of the loveliest I ever heard--was as fresh as a young man's. He was a past master of g raceful, birdlike ornament and relied more on purely vocal effects than any folksinger known to me. His versions of tunes were generally distinguished by the beauty of their melodic curves and the symmetry of their construction. His effortless high notes, sturdy rhythms and clear unmistakable intervals were a sheer delight to hear. From a collector's standpoint he was a marvel of helpfulness and understanding and nothing could be more refreshing than his hale countrified looks and the happy lilt of his cheery voice.
"Mr. George Gouldthorpe, the singer of Harkstow Grange (born at Barrow-on-the-Humber, North Lincolnshire, and aged 66 when he first sang to me, in 1905) was a very different personality. Though his face and figure were gaunt and sharp-corn ered (closely akin to those seen on certain types of Norwegian upland peasants) and his singing voice somewhat grating, he yet contrived to breathe a spirit of almost caressing tenderness into all he sang, said and did--though a hint of the tragic was ever-present also. A life of drudgery, ending, in old age, in want and hardship, had not shorn his manners of a degree of humble nobility and dignity exceptional even amongst English peasants; nor could any situation rob him of his refreshing, but quite u nconscious, Lincolnshire independence. In spite of his poverty and his feebleness in old age it seemed to be his instinct to shower benefits around him. Once, at Brigg, when I had been noting down tunes until late in the evening, I asked Mr. Gouldthorpe t o come back early the next morning. At about 4:30 I looked out of the window and saw him playing with a colt, on the lawn. He must have taken a train from Goxhill or Barrow, at about 4.0 a.m. I apologised , saying 'I didn't mean that early, Mr. Gouldthorp e.' Smiling his sweet kingly smile he answered: `Yuh said: Coome eearly. So I coom'd.'
"Towards the end of his life he was continually being pitch-forked out of the workhouse to work on the roads, and pitch-forked back into the workhouse as it was seen he was too weak to work ('When Ah gets on to the roäds I feel thaht weeäk!'). But he was very anxious to insist that no injustice was done to him. In the midst of reciting his troubles he would add quickly, impulsively: 'Aw, boot Ah'm nawt cumplaainin'! They're verra kahn tummuh (kind to me) at the workkus; they're verra kahn' tummuh!'
"His child-like mind and unworldly nature, seemingly void of all bitterness, singularly fitted him to voice the purity and sweetness of folk-art. He gave out his tunes in all possible gauntness, for the most part in broad, even notes; but they were ad orned by a richness of dialect hard to match.
"In recalling Mr. Gouldthorpe I think most of the mild yet lordly grandeur of his nature, and this is what I have tried to mirror in my setting of Harkstow Grange.
"Mr. George Wray (the singer of Lord Melbourne) had a worldlier, tougher and more prosperously-coloured personality. He, too, was born at Barrow-on-Humber, and was eighty years old when he sang to me in 1906. From the age of eight to seventeen he worked in a brick yard, after which he went to sea as cook and steward, learning some of his songs aboard ship. After that he again worked at a brick yard, for forty years; and, later on again, he sold coals, taking them to Barton, Barrow, Goxhill, etc ., in his own ship, and also carrying them round on his back (in `scootles'), as much as twenty tons a day. This he did to the age of seventy-three, and then he 'give over'. In his old age he enjoyed independence, and said" 'And thaay saay (they say) a poor mahn 'ahsn't a chahnce!' He used to be a great dancer. (Yet, in spite of this association with strict rhythm, his singing was more irregular in rhythm than any I ever heard.) He took a prize--a fine silver pencil--for dancing, at Barton, at t he age of fifty-four, performing to the accompaniment of a fiddle, which he considered 'better than anything to dance to'. His brother was a 'left-handed' fiddler (bowing with his left hand, fingering with his right). Mr. Wray held that folksinging had be en destroyed by the habit of singing in church and chapel choirs, and used to wax hot on this subject, and on the evils resultant upon singing to the accompaniment of the piano. He was convinced that most folks could keep their vigour as late in life as he had, if they did not overfeed.
"He lived alone, surrounded by evil-smelling cats. I asked him if he often went to town, and he answered: 'It's too temtatious for a mahn of my age!' A consciousness of snug, self-earned success underlay the jaunty contentment and skittishness of his renderings. His art shared the restless energy of his life. Some of his versions of tunes were fairly commonplace (not Lord Melbourne, however!), yet he never failed to invest them with a unique quaintness--by means of swift touches of swagger, heaps of added 'nonsense syllables', queer hollow vowel-sounds (doubtless due to his lack of teeth) and a jovial, jogging stick-to-it-iveness in performance. He had an amazing memory for the texts of his songs. Lord Melbourne (actually about the Du ke of Marlborough) is a genuine war-song--a thing rare in English folksong.
"Mrs. Thomson (the singer of The Brisk Young Sailor), though living in Barrow-on-Humber, North Lincolnshire, came originally from Liverpool.
"The first number in my set, Dublin Bay [Lisbon], was collected under characteristic circumstances. In 1905, when I first met its singer--Mr. Deane, of Hibbaldstowe--he was in the workhouse at Brigg, N.E. Lincolnshire. I started to note down his Dublin Bay, but the workhouse matron asked me to stop, as Mr. Deane's heart was very weak and the singing of the old song--which he had not sung for forty years--brought back poignant memories to him and made him burst into tears. I reluctantly desisted. But a year or so later, when I had acquired a phonograph, I returned to get Mr. Deane's tune 'alive or dead'. I thought he might as well die singing it as die without singing it.
"I found him in the hospital ward of the workhouse, with a great gash in his head--he having fallen down stairs. He was very proud of his wound, and insisted that he was far too weak to sing. 'All right, Mr. Deane,' I said to him, 'you needn't sing yourself; but I would like you to hear some records made by other singers in these parts.' He had not heard half a record through before he said, impulsively: 'I'll sing for you, yoong mahn.' So the phonograph was propped up on his bed, and in between the second and third verse he spoke these words into the record: 'It's pleasein' muh.' Which shows how very much folksinging is part of the folksinger's natural life.
"The last number of my set (The Lost Lady Found) is a real dance-song--come down to us from the days when voices, rather than instruments, held village dancers together.[See also Grainger's notes for Green Bushes and Let's Dance gay in Green Meadow, above. (Ed.)] Miss Lucy E. Broadwood, who collected the tune, writes of its origins as follows, in her English Traditional Songs and Carols (Boosey & Co.):
Mrs. Hill, an old family nurse, and a native of Stamford (Lincolnshire), learned her delightful song when a child, from an old cook who danced as she sang it, beating time on the store kitchen-floor with her iron pattens. The cook was thus unconsciously carrying out the original intention of the 'ballad', which is the English equivalent of the Italian 'baletta' (from ballare, 'to dance'), signifying a song to dance-measure, accompanied by dancing.
"SOURCES OF THE FOLKSONGS USED IN Lincolnshire Posy:
"Printed notations of some of the folk-tunes used may be consulted as follows:
The Duke of Marlborough (freely altered into a counter-melody in the Dublin Bay settings) and The Lost Lady Found in English Traditional Songs and Carols by Lucy E. Broadwood (Boosey & Co., 1908).
"Rufford Park Poachers (notation of a phonograph record of the singing of Mr. Joseph Taylor on Aug. 4, 1906) in Journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 12 (May, 1908). On July 11, 1908, Mr. Joseph Taylor recorded this song for the London Gramophone Co. [Mus. Exam. 11, above,]shows his (combined) divergencies, from his earlier singing (recorded in the above-mentioned Folk-Song Society Journal), on that occasion.
"Practically all of Mr. Taylor's variants appear in my setting.
"Lord Melbourne in Journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 12 (May, 1908).
"My notation of the folksongs underlying the Dublin Bay, Harkstow Grange and The Brisk Young Sailor settings are not yet published ; but they are almost identical with the tunes as they appear in the settings.
1. Dublin Bay [Lisbon] was sketched for mixed chorus, March 19, 1906; set for 5 Wind Instruments (same texture as this setting) June-July 1931; scored for Wind Band, early 1937; dished-up for 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, Oct. 19, 1937.
"2. Harkstow [Horkstow] Grange (The Miser and his Man--a local Tragedy) was composed for Wind Band, Feb. 1, 1937 using a sketch made in 1934 which was based on sketches about 25-28 years older. Dished-up for 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, Oct. 21, 1937.
"3. Rufford Park Poachers (Poaching Song) was composed for Wind Band early in 1937, using (in a few places only) earlier sketches of 1933, etc. It was dished up for 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, in Oct. 1937. N.B. In the edition for Wind Band there are 2 versions (A & B) of bars 1-50. WHen the main solo (bars 19-45) is played on flugel horn version A is used. When the main solo is played on soprano saxophone version B is used. If you play [the] 2-piano edition with Wind Band ask the Bandmaster whic h version is to be played.
"4. The Brisk Young Sailor (who returned to wed his True Love) was sketched for mixed unison chorus, horns and strings in 1919 (using earlier sketches, probably of 1905 or 1906); this material greatly added to and worked up for Wind Band, March 1937; dished-up for 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, Oct. 7-9, 1937.
"5. Lord Melbourne (War Song) was sketched for unison chorus, organ and a few brass instruments in 1910. The version for Wind Band (Lincolnshire Posy) was written early in 1937, and consists of the ahbove-mentioned 1910 sketches (beginni ng to bar 13, inclusive; bar 34 to the end) and of new material composed early in 1937 (bars 14 to 33, inclusive). This Wind Band version was dished-up for 2 Pianos, 4-Hands, Oct. 23, 1937. This melody is a variant of 'The Duke of Marlborough' folksong, t he first phrase of which (as noted down by Lucy E. Broadwood from the singing of Mr. H. Burstow, of Horsham, Sussex, England) is used to form a counter-melody in Dublin Bay (Nr. 1 of Lincolnshire Posy).
"6. The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song) was orginally set for mixed chorus and room-music (12 or more instruments) in 1910; the same was scored for Wind Band (as part of Lincolnshire Posy) early 1937; dished-up for 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, Oct. 2 3, 1937<196>Feb. 16, 1938."
"Percy Grainger described his six-movement Lincolnshire Posy as 'a bunch of musical wild flowers'. He worked hard to preserve the originality of folk songs by recording and taking notes on individual performances which he sought out i n their natural habitat among sailors, peasants, and other sponantenous performers. 'Plenty of lilt' is his requirement for playing Lisbon. This is a sailor's song in a brisk 6/8 meter. Horkstow Grange, or 'The Miser and His Man, a local tragedy', is formed with the accent shifting throughout yet never loses its flowing style. Rufford Park Poachers is the most complex of the settings. Its lead is set by piccolo in high register, with solo clarinet in unison three octaves lower. The tune is accompanied by itself in canon, played by E flat clarinet and bass clarinet. In sprightly contrast is The Brisk Young Sailor, with its effective woodwind writing, particularly at the third appearance of the tune played by baritone voices, with the upper woodwind rippling in accompaniment to brilliant effect. The final approach has some startling passages, marked to be played 'angrily'. Lord Melbourne (War Song) is in free-time phrases written out without bar lines. Grainger instructs t he conductor 'to vary the beat length with that rhythmic elasticity so characteristic of many English folk singers, giving free reign to rhythmic fancy.' The Lost Lady Found, most conventional setting of all the movements in the suite, is written i n a fast but sturdy one-in-a-bar."--Eric Banks (British 2).
"Lincolnshire Posy was composed during the first three months of 1937, with three of the movements being completed in three days. The premiere took place on March 7th at the American Bandmasters Association Annual Grand Concert with G rainger conducting the Milwaukee Symphony Band.
As a young boy in Australia, Percy was given a section of the family garden to cultivate. He promptly discarded the flower and vegetable seeds his parents had given him and instead collected as many different weeds and wildflowers as he could find. When asked about his strange taste in horticulture, he replied, 'What's the difference? I think the weeds are just as pretty as the other flowers.' His 1905-06 folksong collection from Lincolnshire, England, represented his own musical wildflowers and weeds and hence the title, Lincolnshire Posy--'dedicated to the singers who sang so sweetly to me'."--James Westbrook.
"Lisbon Bay [Lisbon, Dublin Bay]: Its brisk and jaunty tune is indicative of the sailor's song that it is. The parallel harmonies sound strangely and appropriately archaic. A countermelody played midway through by horns and trumpet is based on the first phrase of another folk song, 'The Duke of Marlborough'. The setting is a theme and variations.
"Horkstow Grange is another set of variations on a theme. The mood of the song, however, is quite different from the first, resulting in a dark, beautifully somber sound.
"Rufford Park Poachers narrates the events surrounding the poaching of game from a private hunting reserve. [The singer Joseph] Taylor's free rhythms led Grainger to score this song in a series of changing meters, making it one of the more challenging movements of this work. The opening phrases are presented in canon at the octave between the piccolo/alto clarinet and the oboe/bassoon. The same group of instruments returns near the end, again in canon, however, this time the melody is presented at different pitch levels, resulting in a passage of polytonality.
"The sprightly Brisk Young Sailor is about a young man returning to wed his true love. The use of theme and variations provides some challenging accompaniment patterns for the woodwinds in the first and second variations and a canon for the obo e and soprano saxophone in the third variation. The gradual slowing of tempo near the end is accompanied by increasingly dissonant harmonies.
"The fifth movement, Lord Melbourne, a war song, is set by Grainger in the fiercest fashion. Brass and percussion instruments are predominant in this work, which is rhythmically notated in both changing meters and free time--passages in whic h the conductor may vary the lengths of the beat according to his or her 'rhythmic fancy'. The melody is a variant of 'The Duke of Marlborough', which was used as a countermelody in 'Lisbon Bay'.
"The final movement is The Lost Lady Found, a dance song notated by Lucy Broadwood from her Lincolnshire nurse, Mrs. Hill. Once again, Grainger uses theme and variation to set this song. The final variation calls for the addition of 'tuneful pe rcussion'--glockenspiel, xylophone, hand bells, and tubular chimes--all of which help to bring this masterpiece of wind literature to a proper and fitting close."--Cheryl J. Wierman.
"Grainger's attachment to two fully-staffed mili-tary bands [during World War I] offered him a ready laboratory for composition and instrumental experimentation pursued between numerous official requests for his services as one of the outsta nding pianists of his day, and this love affair with the band lasted to the end of his life. Shepherd's Hey [below] and other tunes which he subsequently made familiar to listeners everywhere eventually led to his magnum folk song opus, Lincolnshire Posy, a six-movement achievement which he composed in White Plains, New York during the first three months of 1937. Three of these (1, 4, 6) related to the adaptational stylistic setting used for Shepherd's Hey while movements 2, 3 and 5 d epart from that concept and pursue compositional and textural dimensions which, in music for the military band, were unique, extraordinary--far out!
He began to work these tunes in his head, so he told me, as soon as he had put them down in a kind of musical shorthand as the folk singers delivered them to him on his first song-gathering journeys to Lincolnshire in the early 1900s. Returning another year he brought with him a large supply of cylinders and one of Thomas Edison's Phonograph machines which he strapped to his back as he walked from town to town becoming the first composer/song collector to use this device in the field. 'Phonographing' provided him with every vital aspect of a song--the words, tune, pitches, dialect, tone, inflections, rhythms--all faithfully and endlessly repeatable. These both served and haunted him, for many of the freedoms he so admired in the original folk singing could not be transcribed in easy meters, obliging him to score his compositions from them in equally free and/or complex translations in terms of traditional band notation.
"Horkstow Grange (2), Rufford Park Poachers (3), and Lord Melbourne (5) are the three he could not write or score in ways he knew would not bother the average bandmaster. These probably delayed acceptance of the whole of Lincolnshire Posy by the band profession until after the release of the recording which the Eastman Wind Ensemble and I made of it in 1958.
"Lisbon Bay (1) is propelled by the rocking rhythm of a sailor's song punctuated by piquant harmonies and those imp-like flashes of the different that are so much a part of the Grainger style. The grandeur of line that goes with Horkstow Grange (2) offers the band one of its great broad and sonorous pieces just 37 bars long and emotionally jam-packed. Rufford Park Poachers (3) is one of the band's most challenging and rewarding pieces.
"Contrasting these complexities Grainger offers next another sailor's song, this about one who returned 'to wed his true love'. Next he plunges into Lord Melbourne (5), a thoroughly original and marvelously compelling setting of the longest of all the folk songs collected by him. This is a war song and Grainger set it in the most fierce fashion. The great and freely-spaced pylons of sound that the brass blow frame his other musical ideas in bold relief as they proclaim the words: 'I am a noble Englishman, Lord Melbourne is my name, etc.' The set is completed with The Lost Lady Found, another brace of variations on one of those simple modal tunes from Lincolnshire. The simplicity of this music in contrast to its more complex movements win ds down in brilliance one of the band's great original pieces, Grainger's most distinguished contribution to a medium he so genuinely appreciated."--Frederick Fennell (Cleveland).
"Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy exists in two versions: for wind band (British Folk-Music Settings No. 34) and for two pianos (B.F.M.S. 35). The version for wind band has long been recognised as Grainger's masterpiece for that medium, and worthy of fearless comparison with any other band piece whatsoever; the two-piano version is, I believe, his best piece for that combination and, especially considering that, like almost all of Grainger's keyboard works, it is a transcription, it is at once very aptly written for the medium and by no means a poor reflection of the band version even if the sonority is completely different.
"Frederick Fennell, the American conductor who has done more than anyone else to establish the band version as basic repertoire, and who has made two recordings of the work (with the Eastman Wind Ensemble--a superlative account--and with the Cle veland Symphonic Winds--almost as good), has written a series of three excellent articles on its history and structure [see above].... To these articles I would earnestly recommend the reader.
"Despite Grainger's frequently averred distaste for his life as a concert pianist and derogatory remarks about the piano, his writing for that instrument is as individual as that of Debussy or Bartók, and while there are very few pieces originally conceived by Grainger for the piano, the instrument is nonetheless to be found in at least one version of the vast majority of his compositions and arrangements. (There are very few occasions where one recognises either his sense of the piano's incapacity to deliver many voices at once--a very strange thought from one whose Bach playing was exemplary in its contrapuntal clarity--or where there is an element of the 'hack' in the dishing-up. See, for example, the piano version of Scotch Strathspey and Reel for the former and the potted version of the third movement of Rakhmaninov's Second Concerto for the latter.)
"It is hoped that the following remarks will be of some assistance to anyone interested in the two-piano repertoire, in which the Lincolnshire Posy deserves a regular place. Since I have had the happy fortune to perform this work on many occasi ons (almost always with the staunch Graingerian David Stanhope, with whom I also had the pleasure of recording the work for EMI) there have been many opportunities to discuss the various problems of the text and its interpretation. As in the band version, the published score contains a considerable number of errors, most of which I hope, with all due acknowledgement to Messrs. Fennell and Stanhope, to have unearthed.
"1. Lisbon is the title as corrected at the beginning of both published scores. Frederick Fennell believes it should be Lisbon Bay. Dublin Bay is the original printed title. The two-piano version begins with the most extraordinary error: both parts are printed one perfect fourth too high until the last quaver of bar 17! Grainger cannot have meant to change the original in the transcription since a note on the two-piano score suggests that the two versions may be played simultaneou sly. In any case, although the opening triads do not give preference to any line, it is clear that A flat is the keynote and that all the variations are in the same key. The accents on the bottom line in bar 14 confirm this. Perhaps Grainger made the arrangement from the parts rather than from the score, in which case the error may have resulted in failing to transpose the horn parts. (As Fennell rightly remarks, the many errors are all Grainger's since he seems to have insisted on doing his own proof-rea ding--a dangerous plan.) Note the experienced concert performer that delays the entry of piano II until piano I should set the tempo. When preparing the piece for performance--and this applies to all the movements--it is as well to listen to the band version, because most of the performance directions come straight from that score. The indication detached at the outset is, therefore, no more staccato than is consistent from a good sound from an ensemble of muted trumpets and horns. To get the right spirit for the countermelody which begins in bar 36--the Duke of Marlborough--listen to Grainger's excellent fanfare on the same melody. The woggle (tremolo to the straitlaced) is a particular feature of Grainger's keyboard writing when he wishes to imitate orchestral sounds. Like Liszt, despite the notation, it is never right to play a measured tremolo. Better to relax deep into the keys, be generous but not obtrusive with the pedal, and woggle at will!
"2. Horkstow Grange (misprinted Harkstow Grange) is a rich and deeply moving piece, despite the proliferation of woggles and the difficulty in keeping the melody in unison at the opening. In the first complete bar (bar 2 in Grainger's co unting) two melody notes are missing in the second piano part--but they should be in unison with piano I. Note Grainger's wonderful fingering for piano I: the entire melody is to be played with the 3rd finger--always with a rich legato tone, of cour se--and, although seemingly difficult, the evenness is guaranteed. The many acciaccaturas in this and other movements that are written at the beginning of a bar can easily give an impression of bad ensemble. Perhaps the best solution is to play them sl owly and deliberately before the beat. It is interesting that the crescendo in bar 15 (piano I, against a diminuendo in piano II) is placed correctly here, yet is misplaced in the band score. In bar 34 the bottom note of the last chord in the piano II par t should be B flat, not D flat. Most of the woggles are derived from percussion tremolos in the band version and therefore should never be played to permit the lines to be broken. As Grainger says in a footnote, it's not necessary to follow his suggestions for distribution of the notes--I would recommend playing all of the outer notes first and rocking inwards, generally to the thumbs, on the single remaining note in each hand. This applies especially in bars 32-34 where the alternate hand solution is just plain ugly. Grainger's notation is correct but difficult to perceive at first in [the] rhythm of piano I in bars 32 and 33. In bar 36 it is possible and quite pretty to add the acciaccatura A flat from the trumpet part as the first piano comes down f rom the A flat to the F on the third crochet. It's rather difficult to decide on the speed at which the piano I fioratura in the last bar should be played; if the 'Slow off' of bar 34 is continuous then it should be slow and getting slower, if all the dir ections are taken literally, but to play it together with the band version would require something altogether faster. I've played it both ways: it's beautiful whichever!
"3. Rufford Park Poachers is, for me, Grainger's finest single folk-song treatment; the tune itself is tightly-wrought melody of infinite and subtle complexity, and Grainger lavishes his most skilful counterpoint upon it. It is an ideal piece to demonstrate to any academic doubting-Thomas that Grainger was no bumbling amateur in these matters, but also to convince the anti-academic doubting-Thomases that if a composer has something to say, then technical expertise is not necessarily a stumbling block before expressive sincerity when the two go hand in glove. The spacing of the canons (at the octave at first, and later doubled in fifths) is a stroke of genius too, for not once is the clarity endangered by the slightest overlapping of the individu al voices. The opening metronome mark should read Quaver = about 132 (not Crotchet). Because of a mistake in the original parts, the melody's second phrase begins on the wrong note in both parts (bar 6 in piano I; bar 7 in piano II); all the Fs should read Gs. I would recommend the same method for the woggles as in no. 2. In bar 56 the rhythm in the second part should read
and bars 60 and 62 contain what seem to be errors of haste in Grainger's transcription of the rhythm for piano II: the first crotchet of bar 60 and the last crotchet of bar 62 are printed as
This alteration may be deliberate (though for no very clear reason) as may the discrepancies with the melody in bars 86 (piano I) and 87 (piano (II) where
is printed instead of
Since, in the band version, the treble D flat on the last crotchet of bar 70 is sustained right through bar 71, the first piano can do likewise by striking the D flat as printed, with the thumb, giving it an accent equal to that on the stressed A flat, and holding it through bar 71. From bar 94 to the end of the piece Grainger expects the two pedal notes in piano II to remain sounding. This bit of excessive optimism may be remedied by lightly restriking the chord on the last quaver of bar 98. Th e metronome mark in bar 83 should once again have a quaver instead of a crotchet. In the unlikely event of anyone wishing to play 'Version B' of bars 1-50 (which was written to include one more version of Joseph Taylor's original account of the tune, and to allow the solo from bar 18 to bar 46 to be played on the soprano saxophone) the second phrase of the melody is once again printed one whole-tone too low.[Here, as in many Grainger pieces, an accomplished technique with the middle (sostenuto) pedal is assumed.]
"4. The Brisk Young Sailor: It was a brisk young P.G. who permitted a mountain of tiny inconsistencies to creep into the scores of both versions, as well as the parts of this movement. While it is clear that the basic style must be light, the placing of the staccato dots is frequently a mystery. It's a simple but not completely satisfactory solution to play the whole thing equally detached. The dots under the slurs in the first bar do not occur in the band version, but perhaps should be used fu rther than just here. There are many places where the piano version has dots where the score of the band version does not, and vice versa. More importantly, and an obvious omission, the opening notes of the melody lack two slurs, from F-B flat, and from B flat-D. The first of these slurs is missing in the repetition of the melody in bars 9 and 17. However, the detaching of the two quavers is correct in bars 25 and 26. But in bar 25 (piano II) the slur is missing between the last two melody-notes. In bar three, upper stave, last crotchet, middle voice, the rhythm should be
and the second note should be a C, not a B flat. In bar 43 the fourth quaver in the saxophone parts and in the band score and in the left hand of piano II should undoubtedly be a B flat instead of a D--this is one error not corrected in the Fennell article.
"5. Lord Melbourne: This is very tricky for ensemble and experience shows that it's sometimes useful to measure pauses and commas exactly--at the join into bar 2, for example. Unfortunately the rhythm is misprinted just before the end of the long free bar: the three crotchets imemdiately preceding the final D minor chord should have triplet brackets over them in both staves. If the D minor chord is then counted as two crotchets (i.e. exactly equal to the preceding triplet), the quaver as a q uaver, the comma as two quaver rests and the bar in 1/8 as another quaver in the same tempo, all disaster can be averted by simply counting a bar of 4/4 from the D minor chord. (!) Similarly in bar 8, the pauses can be held for one crotchet making a bar of 2/4. In bar 17, piano II, third crotchet, the second note should be an F, not a G. The last notes in bar 23 (piano I) should be crotchet As in both hands instead of quaver rests and quavers. In bar 27, piano II, middle voice, the staccato Gs after the triplets can be played with greater clarity and security with the thumb of the left hand. Of course this bar must be taken absolutely in tempo. Although conceived for completely different sonority the effect of the stopping loud woggle against the continui ng soft woggle in bar 35 is one of the great original strokes in two-piano writing! In bars 53-54, piano II, beginning from the second quaver, the right hand should have a sign indicating that the passage should be played one octave higher. It is just as well to count the tremolo in bar 55 and finish on a solid chord (together!); likewise in the last bar. Curiously enough, the 'free time' bars in this movement, however alarming to bandsmen and conductors, prove not to be impossible to coordinate.
"6. The Lost Lady Found contains no misprints! It's reasonable to conclude that 'short' and 'detached' mean different things here; at any rate the accompaniment should be, as in the band version, very short and sharp. The crotchets with accents benefit from a certain amount of tenuto. On two pianos it's rather difficult to make sufficient of the climax from bar 130 on because, in comparison with former loud passages, there are very few notes to bring off the large amount of sound required. Usef ul therefore to moderate the preceding crescendo. There is nothing worse than a lack of coordination on the last chord of this piece, and yet, in the general enthusiasm, it is very easy to muddle. Mr. Stanhope and I revert to tempo primo in the penultimat e bar and count a steady six beats--five on the first piano tremolo, which, of course, must be played with alternating hands--before descending on the final chord with all the schwung at our disposal! In addition to the Fennell article , the most previous piece of prose relating to this fine work which, after a very long gestation, was composed in a very short time in 1937, is the preface which Grainger wrote in 1939. Since many a patient reader may be glum with disconsolation after the plethora of technical detail in the above, let me in conclusion, and in the hope for many more (accurate!) performances of the piece, leave Grainger the last words [and so refer all and sundry to that preface, reprinted above]."--Leslie Howard (GS J IV/1).
[Edition published by Schott & Co., 1971. (Ed.)]
British Folk-Music Settings No. 40
Grainger: "English folksong noted down from the singing of Mr. Deane of Hibbaldstowe, Lincolnshire, England.
"List of possible combinations:
"a) 3 voices (soprano, tenor, high baritone) accompanied by 2 guitars, 1 or 2 wooden marimbas (12 or 9 or 6 or 3 players), 4 or 5 strings (or string orchestra) & piano. (1 or 2 clarinets & bassoon, vigraphone or harp at will.)
"b) 3 voices (soprano, tenor, high baritone) accompanied by 2 guitars, 1 or 2 wooden marimbas (12 or 9 or 6 or 3 players). (Piano, harp or vibraharp, at will.)
"c) 3 voices (soprano, tenor, high baritone) accompanied by 4 or 5 strings (or string orchestra) & piano. (Vibraharp or harp at will.)
"d) 3 voices (soprano, tenor, high baritone) accompanied by piano (1 or 2 wooden marimbas, vibraharp or harp, at will).
"e) trumpet & 2 clarinets (or 1 clarinet & bassoon instead of 2 clarinets) accompanied by 2 guitars, 1 or 2 wooden marimbas (12 or 9 or 6 or 3 players), 4 or 5 strings (or string orchestra) & piano (1 or 2 clarinets & bassoon, vibraharp or harp, at wi ll).
"f) trumpet & 2 clarinets (or 1 clarinet & bassoon instead of 2 clarinets) accompanied by 2 guitars, 1 or 2 wooden marimbas (12 or 9 or 6 or 3 players)(piano, harp or vibraharp, at will).
"g) trumpet & 2 clarinets (or 1 clarinet & bassoon instead of 2 clarinets) accompanied by 4 or 5 strings (or string orchestra) & piano. (Vibraharp or harp at will.)
"h) trumpet & 2 clarinets (or clarinet & bassoon instead of 2 clarinets) accompanied by piano. (1 or 2 wooden marimbas, vibraharp or harp at will.)
"i) alto saxophone & chamber orchestra (piano, wooden marimbas, vibraharp or harp at will).
"j) alto saxophone & piano (wooden marimbas, vibraharp or harp at will)."
[Reprinted from The Grainger [Society] Journal, V/1 (December 1982), 15.]
"One of Grainger's most unusual Room-Music Titbits is The Lonely Desert-man sees the Tents of the Happy Tribes. The tenor singer against the shimmering marimba chords represents the lonely desert-man whilst the happy tribes are portrayed by the soprano and baritone with an accompaniment of guitars, strings and some woodwinds. The singers use 'wordless syllables' such as 'Tam pam pa ra di da'. The melody sung by the tenor occurs in the composer's large-scale orchestral work The Warriors written between 1913 and 1916 and the melody of the baritone is included in the final off-stage section of Grainger's Tribute to Stephen Foster written in 1914. The Lonely Desert-man... was sketched in 1911 and 1914 and finished in 1949." --John Hopkins (Orchestral 1).
British Folk-Music Settings Nr. 33
Grainger: "English dance-folksong set
(a) for MIXED CHORUS accompanied by SMALL ORCHESTRA: 2 cornets (or trumpets), 3 horns (trombone may substitute for 3rd horn), 8-part string orchestra & kettle-drums (bells, percussion, harmonium[A part for harmonium (or reed organ, or pipe organ) may be used if the men's voices, or the strings, need support.], at will),"This setting is dedicated to the memory of Miss Lucy E. Broadwood, who first revealed to me the charm of living English folksong.
or (b) for SMALLER MIXED CHORUS accompanied by LARGE ROOM-MUSIC: piano & 8 single strings (bells, percussion, harmonium [see preceding footnote] at will),
or (c) for A SINGLE VOICE[When a single voice or unison chorus is used, the voice, or voices, should read only from the stave 'Women's voices' (ignoring all staves marked 'Men's voices').] (woman's or man's), or UNISON CHORUS (w omen's voices alone, or men's voices alone, or mixed voices) accompanied by SMALL ORCHESTRA (as above), or by LARGE ROOM-MUSIC (as above), or by PIANO (as printed in the vocal score).
"Set late 1910. This is the root-form of this setting, from which the arrangements in Lincolnshire Posy for Wind Band (1937), & for 2 pianos (1937-1938), are off-shoots.
"[Headnote:] Fast, in strict dance-like rhythm.
"HINTS TO PERFORMERS. Begin primly and neatly and bit by bit rouse up to a great and rowdy-do. Keep an unchanged speed throughout.
"In this type of dance-folksong the singers, or singer, should provide the same sort of rhythmic leadership that a dance-orchestra provides when playing for a dance. Such songs should not be 'elocuted' with too much regard for the drama of the story or for the sense or meaning of the words (the world is dying of 'sense', 'meaning', anyway) but should be sung so as to get the greatest amount of lilt out of them--which means that the first beat of each bar (except where marked otherwise ) should be sounded much louder and heavier than the second and third beats. The voice, or voices, may be electrically amplified if found tonally weak in relation to the instrumental background, which latter should not be subdued, but should keep its own full sound-strength contrasts and extremes.
"The contrast (in the voice part) between clinging (legato) and detached (non legato, or staccato) passages is very important. The detached passages should be sung with about the following tone-lengths [--see Mus. Exam. 12A, above]. The passage (beginning at bar 130) marked 'hammeringly' should be less detached than the foregoing. The tone-lengths should be about like [--see Mus. Exam. 12B, top of next page].
"In singing and playing this setting three types of dance-action should be clearly mirrored (and, if possible, demonstrated by the solo singer to the audience, or by the conductor to his singers and players):
"This affinity between the music and the above-mentioned definite dance steps and actions should be borne in mind if this setting is used (as it should be) as a musical background to a folk-mooded ballet-piece."
"Unlike his friend Delius, Grainger revelled in narrative song, be it the story of Danny Deever [a Rudyard Kipling setting] to be hanged for the murder of a fellow soldier, or The Lost Lady Found, returning from abduction just in time to save her lover from the gallows. It gave him the chance of inventing different accompaniments for the tune in each verse, and contributed to his need to return to the settings at a later time when inspiration welled within him once more."--David Tall.
"The Lost Lady Found--a tune also used by Vaughan Williams--is a further example of Grain-ger's love of alternative arrangements. It was set for mixed chorus and small orchestra; for small mixed chorus and large chamber music; f or a single voice (or unison chorus) and small orchestra; for large chamber orchestra; or for piano. All these possibilities are contained in the one printed score. It also makes a stimulating piece for solo cello and piano."--John Bishop.
Collected in 1905 and first set in 1910, the room music version of The Lost Lady Found for chorus & brass ensemble dates from 1946. This dance-folksong comes from Lincolnshire, as do many of the songs which Grainger subsequently realized for instrumental or piano accompaniment. Although its nine verses take us through France, Spain, on to Dublin, and finally back to England again, it takes only 2-1/2 minutes or so to perform. In the end, the falsely accused uncle of the kidnapped young lady is rescued from the gallows, and just in the nick of time.
British Folk-Music Settings Nr. 42
Grainger: "Scottish folksong set (1904) for tenor voice (or male unison chorus) and 4 strings (violin, viola, 2 cellos). Set for voice (man's high) and piano January 2, 1958.
"The words in the first half of the tune (bars 1-8) are from Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. The second half of the tune (bars 9-16, 41-48) is added by Percy Aldridge Grainger.
"This was written completely in three days, November 7-9, 1904, each verse using eight bars of a melody from Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border and eight bars composed by Grainger himself. It was a fluent composition for tenor, violin, viola and two cellos. In 1912, when his publication programme of British Folk-Music Settings was in full swing, he made a second setting in a lower key for baritone and string orchestra and designated the publication number BFMS 14 for Lord Maxwell's Goodnight, presumably for the new version. But his hypercritical faculties intervened and BFMS 14 was never published.
"In September 1947 he reviewed the 1912 manuscript and sketched a more advanced version of the harmonies in short score. On a long railway journey from Toronto to New York he pencil-sketched a full score of this third version, for voice and strings. A later (undated) set of parts from this score, with an optional melody line for wind instruments, was finally numbered BFMS 14. An uncorrected missing bar in one of the violin parts intimates that it may have never been performed.
"On January 2, 1958, he transcribed the original 1904 version for voice and piano, giving his seal of approval by numbering it BFMS 42. The original 1904 setting (also number BFMS 42) was subsequently recorded by Sir Peter Pears and memb ers of the English Chamber Orchestra on the Decca album Salute to Percy Grainger."--David Tall (Songs).
Grainger: "The words are from The Song of Solomon as printed in the authorized English translation from the Vulgate, the Catholic Douai Verson."
"A prolific experimenter, Grainger began around 1899 to evolve irregular rhythms as a 'counter-point of the spoken rhythms of "poetical prose".' His filled whole sketch books at that time with transcriptions of the speech-rhythms of passages from the Old Testament into musical notation. 'Roger Quilter would read biblical and other prose aloud to me and I would write down what I thought the rhythms were.' These unusual rhythms first appeared in his 1899-1900 sketches for the Love Verses from 'The Song of Solomon', scored in 1931 for soloists and chorus, chamber orchestra, or keyboard....[John Bird adds that Grainger's "experiences on the trains in southern France and Italy" were a second influence. (Ed.)]
"[The work] contained a wide variety of irregular rhythms and barrings which almost defied accurate performance. Shifting meter patterns of 2/4, 2-1/2/4, 3/4, and 3/8, although common today, were revolutionary for that time.... His 1902 Hill Song No. 1 admitted that barrings were provided only for ease in reading and did not imply stress or pulse. This lack of rhythmic simplicity is one of the basic elements in all Grainger's experiemental pieces [including his 'Free Music'].... It is interesting to note that the type of rhythm used by Stravinsky in the Rite of Spring (1913) was already being used by Grainger twelve to fourteen years earlier."--Thomas C. Slattery.
"A knowledge of Walt Whitman is not the only lifegiving influence Grainger owes to [his friend] Cyril Scott. Scott was the first composer to take Grainger seriously as a composer & to urge him earnestly to develop his creative powers. These two composers owe more to each other than meets the casual eye: Many elements in Grainger's early style (such compositions as Love Verses from 'The Song of Solomon' & The Inuit) were strongly influenced by Scott's then style, while it was fr om Grainger's experiments with irregular rhythms & barrings around 1899 that Scott adopted similar methods in his Piano Sonata, Op. 66--getting written permission from Grainger to 'adopt these Australian innovations in his English art'. These innovations proved history-making, for the irregular rhythms of the Scott Sonata, played by the composer widely in European countries around 1904, preceded by several years the use of such rhythms by Continential composers such as Stravinsky & others."--Eileen Dorum.
"In many ways Cyril Scott became a father substitute in Percy's mind in those Frankfurt days [late 1890s, when Grainger was in his late teens]. To begin with, Scott was the elder by three years and this at an age when three years can make the difference between boyhood and manhood. At this time, Percy's works were the object of much scorn and derision among his fellows and mentors. Scott, however, quickly discovered that the boy had developed a style of his own by the age of sixteen. As Scot t himself writes: 'At an age when Wagner was writing offensively like Meyerbeer, Grainger was already writing like himself.... Swerving away from his Handelian tendencies he began to show a harmonic modernism which was astounding in so young a boy, and at times excruciating to our pre-Debussian ears; and, strange to say, he began writing in a whole-tone scale without knowing of Debussy's existence.' His early draft of a setting of Love Verses from 'The Song of Solomon' and his Bush Music and Train Music were works in which Soctt felt that Percy was many years ahead of his time....
"Between May and December of 1936 Percy and [his wife] Ella were in Europe.... A special event was his first BBC broadcast, when he shared the conducting of some of his works with Leslie Woodgate (Roger Quilter's former secretary). The works performed included The Merry Wedding, Tribute to Foster, Love Verses from 'The Song of Solomon' and Marching Song of Democracy.
"The singer called upon to perform the solo part in Love Verses from 'The Song of Solomon' was drawn from the ranks of the BBC Chorus: the 6-pound-a-week vocalist was the tenor Peter Pears. For his efforts Pears received an unsolicited autographed photograph from the Australian composer. Twenty-one years later Grainger was given a record of Peter Pears singing the Australian's arrangement of Six Dukes went Afishin'. He loved this record, played it constantly; he wrote of Pears' singing: 'He has the sweetest voice which grows falsetto-ish as he rises into the higher notes, which is much more lovable than the Caruso method of forcing a mad-bull-type-of-tone into what Stokowski called "Purdah".'"--John Bird [Grainger].
"During the 40s Grainger became enthusiastic about the music of Gershwin and in 1944 he performed Gershwin's Piano Concerto. He transcribed a number of Gershwin compositions, most notably a two-piano fantasy on Porgy and Bess, but there also exist two solo piano versions of Gershwin songs, 'Love Walked In' and 'The Man I Love" [below]. Both arrangements [were performed by Grainger as encores and] are among his most delightful, notable for their delicacy and, in the case of 'Love Walked In'. for the use of a typically Graingeresque device: the rapid tremolando between two notes or, as he memorably termed it, the `woggle' (a feature more fully developed in Lullaby from 'Tribute to Foster')."--John Pickard (Piano 2).
"This beautiful transcription of Brahms' Lullaby shows Grainger at his lyrical best. Grainger claimed that there was too much stress placed on the 'bigness' of his works, and that performances often had insufficient lyrical romanticism." --Selma Epstein (Epstein 1).
"One of the most important technical innovations in Grainger's piano writing is its realisation of the full potential of the 'middle' or 'sustaining' pedal of the modern concert grand. This remarkable mechanism enables the player to sustain all notes struck simultaneously with the pedal's depression without sustaining the notes subsequently sounded whilst the pedal is still down. This enables the latter notes to be pedalled in the normal way (i.e. using the right hand `damper' pedal) without interfering with the notes already being sustained. The increased colouristic possibilities are enormous and Grainger makes full use of the middle pedal in nearly all his piano works. The only problem occurs when one also wishes to use the left hand ('so ft') pedal at the same time as the other two and this problem occurs in the 1922 transcription of Brahms's Cradle-song. To get around this three pedals/two feet dilemma Grainger recommends that the 'soft' and 'middle' pedals be negotiated with the same foot, which involves slewing it round at an angle--in this case, a fairly straightforward procedure."--John Pickard (Piano 2).
Grainger (June 22, 1944): "This concert arrangement [for piano solo of Gershwin's own transcription for piano] is dedicated to my dear friend Charles L. Buchanan, in appreciation of his early recognition of Gershwin's transcending genius.
"[Headnote:] Fairly slowly.
"FOREWORD: 'The Man I Love' is one of the great songs of all time, taking its place in immortality beside the finest love-songs by Dowland, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Gabriel Fauré, Henri du Parc, Hatton, Maude Valerie White, Cyril Scott, Roger Quilter, Debussy and John Alden Carpenter.
"Its obvious indebtedness to a phrase in the slow movement of Grieg's C minor Sonata for violin and piano (measures 26 to 29) does not in the least lessen its claims to first class originality. In the Grieg phrase text (Mus. Exam. 14A--next page) and in the Gershwin phrase (Mus. Exam. 14B) the basic procedure is the same: the melody rises from the interval of the fifth to that of the seventh, and while it pauses on the seventh the alto voice of the four-part harmony drops from the major third (of the tonic triad) to the minor third, while the two lowest voices sustain the drone 1, 5.
"The main theme of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue (Mus. Exam. 14D) is no less obviously derived from the theme with which Grieg closes his Piano Concerto (Mus. Exam. 14C). Both motives have the same intervallic resting places--5, 1, flat 7, 6, 5. In both, a pair of triplets move from the flat seventh to the fifth, by way of the sixth, while the chords below, in both cases, display the clash of a sharp seventh.
"Such similarity amounts almost to identicalness! But none of this detracts from Gershwin's immense and indisputable originality. It only shows what a life-giving inspiration Grieg's startling innovations provided for almost all truly progressive comp osers that came after him: Debussy, Ravel, Delius, Cyril Scott, Albeniz, Stravinsky, MacDowell, Gershwin. And it goes to prove how deeply Gershwin's genius (whatever inspiration it also drew from popular and local sources) was rooted in the traditions of classical cosmopolitan music. So much of Gershwin's unique and subtle greatness lies in his humanistic universalism--in his effortless ability to reconcile hitherto unreconciled contrasts and seemingly opposing tendencies."
Chosen Gems for Winds
"J. S. Bach was one of the composers whose work Grainger
most admired. As 'interpreted by Arnold Dolmetsch', the
Bach-March, in Grainger's words, `is one of the fascinating
little pieces which Bach wrote for Anna Magdalena, his second wife (in
1725 as part of the Klavierbüchlein). The original text
played literally is not exhilarating, but properly interpreted it makes
you wish to hear it played by one of the admirable brass bands of the
British Army, and to see the regiment walk to its compelling strains.'
The score was completed at the Alexandria Hotel, Los Angeles, California
on July 20, 1946."--Dana Perna (Michigan).