CHAN 10205 CHANDOS G Worksfor G Chandos  · PDF fileCHAN 10205 G GRAINGER THE GRAINGER...

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Transcript of CHAN 10205 CHANDOS G Worksfor G Chandos  · PDF fileCHAN 10205 G GRAINGER THE GRAINGER...

  • GWorksforSolo Piano 3

    CHAN 10205






    Solo Piano 3


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    Percy Grainger (18821961)

    Lullaby from Tribute to Foster 5:15

    One More Day, My John [SCS No. 1] 1:47Preliminary Canter

    A Bridal Lullaby 2:16

    Knight and Shepherds Daughter [BFMS No. 18] 2:35Lincolnshire Folksong

    Childrens March Over the Hills and Far Away 1:25

    premiere recordingBridal Lullaby Ramble 6:47

    Spoon River [AFMS No. 1] 2:21American Folk-Dance

    Ramble on the Last Love-Duet from StrausssDer Rosenkavalier [FSFM No. 4] 6:50

    Danish Folk-Music Suite 15:44The Power of Love [DFMS No. 2] 3:47Transcribed by Penelope ThwaitesThe Nightingale and The Two Sisters [DFMS No. 10] 3:20Jutish Medley [DFMS No. 8] 8:2411











    Percy Grainger



    cy G







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    premiere recording in this versionCountry Gardens [BFMS No. 22] 1:17

    The Immovable Do 4:00or The Cyphering C

    Beautiful Fresh Flower 1:55Chinese Melody

    Now, Oh Now I Needs Must Part [FSFM No. 6] 4:00TT 75:49

    Penelope Thwaites piano

    SCS Sea Chanty SettingsBFMS British Folk Music SettingsAFMS American Folk Music SettingsFSFM Free Settings of Favourite MelodiesDFMS Danish Folk Music Settings






    To a Nordic Princess 6:19Bridal Song

    Blithe Bells 3:55

    premiere recording in this versionWalking Tune 0:54from The Easy Grainger

    Lullaby from Tribute to Foster 3:40from The Easy Grainger

    Proud Vesselil [DFMS Unnumbered] 1:03from The Easy Grainger

    Rimmer and Goldcastle [DFMS Unnumbered] 0:35from The Easy Grainger

    premiere recording in this versionIrish Tune from County Derry 1:26from The Easy Grainger








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    texture, and end with floating chromaticharmonies suggesting (according to a noteto the performer) an Aeolian harp.

    Graingers experience as bandsman in theUS army (191718) was happy and fruitful,producing several outstanding works for themedium of wind band. The ChildrensMarch Over the Hills and Far Away(191618) is one. In the original version(and in the later one for two pianos) thenursery rhyme theme is put throughincreasingly violent variations, finally dyingaway. The brief solo piano version is simplythe theme from the longer work.

    When in 1918 Grainger realised that hemight be sent on overseas service, he made anumber of informal piano roll recordings,most of which have lain unheard in theGrainger Museum. With the help of theexpert Denis Condon it became possible totransfer these recordings onto tape, and itwas exciting to discover that A Bridal Lullabyhad been developed into a longer work.Grainger recorded two possible versions, themore convincing of which has been chosenfor this CD with the explanatory title BridalLullaby Ramble. Some of the materialintersects with that of his two-piano workWarriors 2. The florid piano writing beliesthe sadness behind the piece, and in a

    paradox, typical of Grainger but not alwaysappreciated (cf. Sir Thomas Beechams point-missing words on Colonial Song), the overtsentimentality is absolutely genuine. Indeed,it could be argued that such directness isprecisely what gives the piece its full-bloodedemotional impact. And Grainger always didknow (as well the virtuoso might) just howto make his instrument expressive.

    Spoon River (from Bradford, Illinois) isthe only American folk-tune Grainger set. Itwas sent to him in 1915 but it was not until1919 that he began a setting for ensembleand/or two pianos. The shorter solo pianoversion appeared in January 1922. Graingerhad read and admired the poet Edgar LeeMasterss Spoon River Anthology and aimed toreflect its realism about outback life in thepioneer persistency of his setting.

    30 April 1922 was a watershed. Therelationship between Percy and his mother,Rose, had been particularly close. Her suicideon that day had as profound an effect onhim as, until then, her life. His Ramble onthe Last Love-Duet from Strausss DerRosenkavalier was begun well before herdeath, although not finally completed anddedicated to her memory until 1927. By thattime his emotional life in suspense sincethe suicide trauma had begun again. In


    In 1913, encouraged no doubt by the successof his compositions at Londons BalfourGardiner concerts the previous year, Graingerbegan sketching his Tribute to Foster, a hugework for chorus, orchestra, solo piano andmusical glasses. Its large tuneful percussioncomponent was inspired by his encounterwith Indonesian gamelan. The use ofCampdown Races paid tribute both toStephen Foster, the American composer, andto Graingers mother. In his own lyrics herecalls her singing it to him as a lullaby inthe Adelaide Town of his boyhood. He laterimprovised a solo piano work, Lullaby fromTribute to Foster, based on the centralsection of the orchestral work and mirroringthe original musical-glass effects in a series ofatmospheric tremolandi (woggles). On thescore, printed from his Duo-Art piano rollimprovisation, he directs:

    This Lullaby is a sound-study to be solved byeach player in his or her own way and isnot intended to be followed slavishly, note fornote.

    For Grainger the key of F sharp major wasalways associated with dreams, romance,

    longing. One More Day, My John (1915)reaches back to 1906 when the sea shantycollector Charles Rosher sang it to him. Theswinging rhythm is to be played with asomewhat wafted far-away lilt. The F sharpmajor mood dominated many of the pieceshe wrote shortly after he and his mother hadmoved to New York. Although the youngercountry suited him (and he was adored thereas a pianist) Grainger never lost touch withhis friends in England and Scandinavia, andthere were many journeys to and fro, as wellas to Australia. Again, nostalgia pervadesA Bridal Lullaby (1916), written for hisformer lover, the Danish Karen Holten,upon her marriage. Grainger worked thetheme into a number of works, includingThe Warriors and Green Bushes.

    The dedicatee of Knight and ShepherdsDaughter (1918), Howard Brockway, wasmuch admired by Grainger for his settings ofKentucky folksongs. The charmingLincolnshire tune, collected in 1906, isdecorated with strophic variations. Theseincorporate Graingers favourite deviceof placing a tune in the middle of the

    Grainger: Works for Solo Piano 3

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    set about producing collections arranged foramateurs and students. They included piecesshort enough not to be too daunting, yet stilloffering useful challenges in the voicing ofchords and strands, in playing well-sprungrhythms, and in producing shapely phrasesand a singing tone. In The Easy Graingercollection, for example, his Scottish-inspiredWalking Tune appears without largestretches, and the Lullaby from Tribute toFoster is shorn of its complicated figuration,though still remaining atmospheric. TwoDanish tunes, Proud Vesselil and Rimmerand Goldcastle, make characterful, if brief,appearances. The Irish Tune from CountyDerry, designed for a smaller hand, stilldemands sensitive balancing of lines. Theespecially easy Country Gardens heard herewas published as a separate piece, with aperky coda thrown in for good measure.

    Graingers stubborn loyalty to theharmonium was sorely tested when in 1933the note C on his instrument became stuck.But the solution was to write a piece thatcould be played against the lingering note:hence The Immovable Do. Listeners areinvited to try this out for themselves!

    By 1935 Graingers time was largelyoccupied with work on building andequipping his Museum and in the promotion


    1926 he had met the Swedish Ella ViolaStrm who in 1928 was to become his wife.It is intriguing that the opera he chose forthis paraphrase should enclose his mothersname, and that the story should revolvearound an older woman relinquishing heryoung lover to a younger woman.Embroidering Strausss lush themes withpassages of wonderful spangled writing,Grainger emerges as a true exponent of thevirtuoso as composer tradition.

    His first move following his mothersdeath was to travel to Denmark for a long-planned folksong collecting visit to Jutlandwith the venerable Evald Tang Kristensen.The life-affirming quality of the singers andtheir music, described by Grainger in hisintroduction to the Danish Folk-MusicSuite, inspired a work of rollicking variety. Inits version for orchestra and piano the Suitewas to become a favourite performancevehicle. The tragic feeling in Graingerssetting of The Power of Love (a dark tale oflove and murder) makes the dedication toRose all the more poignant. The tunes ofThe Nightingale and The Two Sisters arewoven into one haunting piece. In the JutishMedley we traverse the cheerful Choosingthe Bride, the mournful DragoonsFarewell, then a knockabout quarrelling-

    duet entitled Hubby and Wifey (finallycunningly combined with a reprise of thefirst song). Next comes the very lovelyShoemaker from Jerusalem, its tunegarlanded with rich, shifting harmonies, andfinally Lord Peters Stable-Boy, a celebratorytale of love with a happy ending! Graingershyperactive harmonies, rhythms and generalpianism make for a considerable technicalchallenge, but the sheer exuberance carries itall along.

    Graingers marriage to Ella in 1928 tookplace in the interval of a concert at theHollywood Bowl before an audience of atleast 15,