The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #107784 Message #2238183
Posted By: Rowan
16-Jan-08 - 10:49 PM
Thread Name: Composers 'stealing' folk themes
Subject: RE: Composers 'stealing' folk themes
Many people seem to think that "In an English Country Garden" exists solely because of Percy Grainger's genius as a composer unaware of the fact that he was an assiduous collector of folk music and had collected the tune from William Kimber's playing. This has been discussed elsewhere on Mudcat but I have also known lecturers in university music departments assert emphatically that all folk music owes it existence to the efforts of composers; and they meant "classical" composers.
There was a famous dustup in Oz 30 or so years ago when George Dreyfus, in response to a commission to compose the theme tune for a TV series set in Victoria's goldfields, took his cue from the tune to "Ten thousand miles away"; the fact that his opening bars were bare and undecorated notes of the original tune, played on a banjo, didn't help his case very much in the public's mind. But his final product was, nonetheless, a good composition.