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Folklore: Percy Grainger

Related thread:
Percy Grainger: existing recordings? (27)


Ron Davies 27 Apr 05 - 07:02 AM
padgett 27 Apr 05 - 07:29 AM
Ron Davies 27 Apr 05 - 07:34 AM
Liz the Squeak 27 Apr 05 - 07:42 AM
Ron Davies 27 Apr 05 - 07:49 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 27 Apr 05 - 07:54 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 27 Apr 05 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,padgett 27 Apr 05 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,Henry 27 Apr 05 - 08:48 AM
Liz the Squeak 27 Apr 05 - 09:50 AM
Tradsinger 27 Apr 05 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,bigJ 27 Apr 05 - 03:36 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 Apr 05 - 04:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 Apr 05 - 04:27 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 27 Apr 05 - 04:45 PM
Uke 27 Apr 05 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,surreysinger 27 Apr 05 - 05:15 PM
RangerSteve 27 Apr 05 - 06:16 PM
open mike 27 Apr 05 - 06:39 PM
open mike 27 Apr 05 - 06:44 PM
dick greenhaus 27 Apr 05 - 09:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 Apr 05 - 11:22 PM
Bob Bolton 27 Apr 05 - 11:23 PM
GUEST,Geoff 28 Apr 05 - 05:41 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Apr 05 - 05:46 PM
greg stephens 28 Apr 05 - 06:22 PM
GUEST,padgett (at home) 28 Apr 05 - 06:35 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Apr 05 - 11:22 PM
GUEST,padgett (at home) 29 Apr 05 - 11:48 AM
Sooz 29 Apr 05 - 12:27 PM
GUEST,padgett (at home) 29 Apr 05 - 06:28 PM
Ron Davies 30 Apr 05 - 03:08 PM
cobber 30 Apr 05 - 11:01 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 30 Apr 05 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 30 Apr 05 - 11:39 PM
GUEST,Fullerton 01 May 05 - 06:03 AM
Rowan 21 Jul 08 - 01:46 AM
semi-submersible 21 Jul 08 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,Suffolk Miracle 21 Jul 08 - 10:15 AM
quokka 21 Jul 08 - 11:40 AM
Garry Gillard 22 Jul 08 - 10:57 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Ron Davies
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 07:02 AM

Unexpectedly fascinating character.

My choral group, with the US Marine Band, is going to do a concert of some of his music this Sunday. I'm hearing and reading some amazing stories about him.

One of the pieces we're doing is called "Marching Song of Democracy". On the first page it says he dedicated it to his mother (for 3 birthdays and a Christmas).

Now I read he may well have had an incestuous relationship with his mother. Is there likely any truth at all to this outlandish idea?--evidently some weird letters--that's all I've run across.

Also probably into S and M--what about this--again, any evidence?

He rejected the Italian designations of musical instruction--and invented some of his own words to substitute like "louden" (as in "louden lots" instead of " molto crescendo") and gives instructions in the music like "Don't tire yourselves over this; keep fresh for what's to come".

The "Marching Song" has no words---ta ra da di da da etc. all the way through.

We're doing his choral arrangment of Londonderry Air-again no words (written 9 years before Fred Weatherly put the Danny Boy words to it). Grainger's setting is just wonderful--rich, sumptous, and emotional.

Also a strange arrangement of "Shallow Brown"--unlike any sea chantey I can imagine--doesn't even keep a steady beat--keeps varying between 3/4 and 4/4--would drive any sailor crazy, I'd bet. But it's seems a dreamlike approach to it--and it seems, on those terms, to work.

And a pretty good arrangement of 17 Come Sunday--but it seems strange in a folk song to be asked to pronounce each word carefully (though the instruction on "one May morning so early" is "so wurly")

As I said, great stories about him. Seems to have been a real hard-core collector of English folk song. Director of the Marine Band related one story: Grainger, wanting some songs a woman had but was unwilling to sing for him, persuaded her granddaughter to let him hide under the bed while the granddaughter convinced her grandmother to sing the songs. While she did, Grainger wrote them down. How's that for a switch on the songs about the robber under the old woman's bed?

He also was an international concert pianist--but didn't like that life--felt like a trained monkey (a la Mozart).

Anybody had occasion to sing any of his arrangements or have information on the truth of any of these stories (or have others?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: padgett
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 07:29 AM

Yep I have come across Percy's foibles and S& M links apparently via his mother making him play piano.

Also stories of his great leg power from travelling through Lincolnshire on his bicycle and being able to jump up and down flights of stairs.

Vicky Clayton, pro Lincolnshire folkie is I believe quite an authority on Percy Grainger

I believe Unto Brigg Fair vinyl was largely down to Percy's recording made in 1908 on wax cylinder and clearly his collecting influenced his later compositions


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Ron Davies
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 07:34 AM

Was he collecting at the same time as Vaughn Williams? Any stories about interaction between them?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 07:42 AM

This link
mentions the foibles you refer to in a book review. It sounds like it might be an interesting book to get hold of.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Ron Davies
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 07:49 AM

Thanks Liz--sounds like a great book. I'll check it out.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 07:54 AM

I read a good biog of him a few years back (can't remember the author but ABE Books or somewhere could probably turn it up if it's not still in print) which explores some of the darker areas of his life without getting lurid or cheap about it. Apparently the love of being whipped stems from his mother punishing him in childhood in this manner, and his response to it somehow became conflated with desire. Writing from memory, but it had to do with Mama, surprise surprise. He was also a racist, and went on at great length about the importance of (as he put it) "blue-eyed music".

On the positive side, his piano solos are well worth investigating. My favourite is an unjustly-neglected setting of one of the Irish reels collected by Stanford (name escapes me, minor key - not Molly On The Shore, which is pretty well known). It would make a great recital piece because it's quite dramatic, fairly difficult, and not too long. I have a recording somewhere of pieces played from piano rolls which he had made himself, and fell in love with it. He didn't like calling the instrument a piano, however, and renamed it something like hammer-box-string.

You're right, a fascinating character.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 08:00 AM

Great link, Liz, thanks. This isn't actually the book I was referring to, which is probably about 10+ years earlier and (I think) was written by a woman. So there are at least two intelligent books about PG, if not more.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,padgett
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 08:37 AM

Yes Liz an excellent LINK to book blurb outlining his personality and predelictions!! above


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,Henry
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 08:48 AM

Grainger attended the North Lincolnshire Musical Competition Festival in April 1905, a hundred years ago. His collecting then included two verses of Brigg Fair from Joseph Taylor.

He returned to Brigg in August 1905 and collected more songs.

Grainger began his recording with a borrowed Edison cylinder phonograph which he took to the 1906 festival.

His fiancee, expecting a low key wedding, was surprised when the ceremony took place on the stage of the Hollywood Bowl in front of an audience of 20,000.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 09:50 AM

Gorsh.... all I did was put his name in MS search...!

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Tradsinger
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 03:17 PM

The book "The Farthest North of Humanness" published by Macmillian in 1985 is a collection of Grainger's letters 1901-1914. In his letters to his lover Karen Holten, he is explicit about his interest in S & M, with diagrams. The relationship with his mother, Rose, was very close but there is no proof that it was incestuous.

Grainger's biography was written by Bird (can't think of his other name).

He also collected a lot of songs in Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, apart from his well-known Lincolnshire work.

Gwilym


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 03:36 PM

At the (English) National Folk Festival on Saturday the 9th April, Brian Dawson gave a talk on Grainger's visit to Brigg with Lucy Broadwood a century ago. During their visit the two of them noted down eight songs from such singers as Joseph Taylor, Dean Robinson and William Hilton, among them Brigg Fair, Creeping Jane, T'oud Yowe Wi One Horn and Come All You Merry Ploughboys. Grainger went back to Brigg later that year.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 04:24 PM

There are bound to be a lot of redundancies here, but I went into the biographical database at the university and came up with a number of locations with citations. Some had only one or two, a couple of them had 25 or more. They're comingled here, and you can cross out the duplications.

SRS



George Percy Aldridge Grainger Citations:

Grainger, (George) Percy (Aldridge) (1882-1961) (5)

    Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Eighth edition. Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992. [BakBD 8]

    Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Ninth edition. Edited by Laura Kuhn. New York: Schirmer Books, 2001. [BakBD 9]

    Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Classical Musicians. By Nicolas Slonimsky. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997. [BakBDTw]

    Baker's Dictionary of Music. By Nicolas Slonimsky. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997. [BakDcM]

    The Oxford Companion to Music. 2002 edition. Edited by Alison Latham. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. [OxCMus 2002]


Grainger, (George) Percy Aldridge (1882-1961) (2)

    Chambers Biographical Dictionary. Sixth edition. Edited by Melanie Parry. New York: Larousse Kingfisher Chambers, 1997. [ChamBiD]

    The Penguin International Dictionary of Contemporary Biography from 1900 to the Present. Second edition. By Edward Vernoff and Rima Shore. New York: Viking Penguin, 2001. First edition published by New American Library as The International Dictionary of 20th Century Biography. [PenIntDc]


Grainger, George Percy (1882-) (1)

    Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography. A supplement. Six volumes. Edited by L.E. Dearborn. New York: Press Association Compilers, 1918-1931. Originally published as The Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Supplementary Edition. [ApCAB X]


Grainger, George Percy (1882-1961) (1)

    Dictionary of American Biography. Supplement 7. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1981. [DcAmB S7]


Grainger, Percy (1882-1961) (25)

    ASCAP Biographical Dictionary. Fourth edition. Compiled for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers by Jaques Cattell Press. New York: R.R. Bowker, 1980. [ASCAP 4]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 14: September, 1984-August, 1986. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1986. [BioIn 14]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 15: September, 1986-August, 1988. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1988. [BioIn 15]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 16: September, 1988-August, 1990. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1990. [BioIn 16]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 18: September, 1992-August, 1993. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1993. [BioIn 18]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 20: September, 1994-August, 1995. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1995. [BioIn 20]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 21: September, 1995-August, 1996. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1996. [BioIn 21]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 26: September, 2000-August, 2001. New York: H. W. Wilson Co., 2001. [BioIn 26]

    Britannica Book of Music. Edited by Benjamin Hadley. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1980. [BriBkM]

    Composers since 1900. First edition. Compiled and edited by David Ewen. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1969. [CompSN] Biography contains portrait.

    Composers since 1900. A biographical and critical guide. First Supplement. Compiled and edited by David Ewen. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1981. [CompSN SUP] Biography contains portrait.

    The Dictionary of Composers and Their Music. Every listener's companion. By Eric Gilder and June G. Port. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979. Entires are found in Part One. [DcCom&M] Biography contains portrait.

    Dictionary of Contemporary Music. Edited by John Vinton. New York: Dutton, 1974. This book ignores prefixes in filing surnames. [DcCM] Biography contains portrait.

    The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. Composers and their music. Two volumes. By William H. Rehrig. Westerville, OH: Integrity Press, 1991. [HeriEBM]

    Music Makers. By Clive Unger-Hamilton. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1979. Use the 'Alphabetical List of Entries' at the front of the book to locate biographies. [MusMk] Biography contains portrait.

    The New American Dictionary of Music. By Philip D. Morehead with Anne MacNeil. New York: Dutton, 1991. [NewAmDM] Biography contains portrait.

    The New Grove Dictionary of American Music. Four volumes. Edited by H. Wiley Hitchcock and Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Press, 1986. [NewGrDA] Biography contains portrait.

    The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 20 volumes. Edited by Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan Publishers, 1980. [NewGrDM] Biography contains portrait.

    The New Oxford Companion to Music. Two volumes. Edited by Denis Arnold. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1983. [NewOxM] Biography contains portrait.

    The New York Times Biographical Service. A compilation of current biographical information of general interest. Volume 13, Numbers 1-12. Sanford, NC: Microfilming Corp. of America, 1982. Use the annual Index to locate biographies. [NewYTBS 13] Biography contains portrait.

    Obituaries from the Times. 1961-1970. Compiled by Frank C. Roberts. Reading, England: Newspaper Archive Developments, 1975. [ObitT 1961] Biography contains portrait.

    The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Fifth edition. Edited by Margaret Drabble. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1985. [OxCEng 5] Biography contains portrait.

    The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Revised fifth edition. Edited by Margaret Drabble. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1995. [OxCEng 5R]

    The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Sixth edition. Edited by Margaret Drabble. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 2000. [OxCEng 6]

    Who Was Who in America. A component volume of Who's Who in American History. Volume 4, 1961-1968. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1968. [WhAm 4] Biography contains portrait.


Grainger, Percy (1882-1961) (1)

    The Facts on File Encyclopedia of the Twentieth Century. Edited by John Drexel. New York: Facts on File, 1991. [FacFETw]


Grainger, Percy (d1961) (1)

    Obituaries on File. Two volumes. Compiled by Felice Levy. New York: Facts on File, 1979. [ObitOF]


Grainger, Percy (1)

    The Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music. Composers and their music. Supplement. By William H. Rehrig. Westerville, OH: Integrity Press, 1996. [HeriEBM SUP]


Grainger, Percy Aldridge (1882-1961) (28)

    American Composers. A biographical dictionary. By David Ewen. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1982. [AmComp]

    American National Biography. 24 volumes. Edited by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. [AmNatBi]

    The ASCAP Biographical Dictionary. Third edition. New York: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, 1966. [ASCAP 3]

    Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Sixth edition. Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky. London: Collier Macmillan Publishers, . [BakBD 6]

    Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Seventh edition. Revised by Nicolas Slonimsky. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Schirmer Books, 1984. [BakBD 7]

    Biographical Dictionary of American Music. By Charles Eugene Claghorn. West Nyack, NY: Parker Publishing Co., 1973. [BiDAmM]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 1: January, 1946-July, 1949. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1949. [BioIn 1]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 2: August, 1949-August, 1952. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1953. [BioIn 2]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 4: September, 1955-August, 1958. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1960. [BioIn 4]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 5: September, 1958-August, 1961. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1962. [BioIn 5]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 6: September, 1961-August, 1964. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1965. [BioIn 6]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 7: September, 1964-August, 1967. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1968. [BioIn 7]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 8: September, 1967-August, 1970. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1971. [BioIn 8]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 10: September, 1973-August, 1976. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1977. [BioIn 10]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 11: September, 1976-August, 1979. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1980. [BioIn 11]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 12: September, 1979-August, 1982. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1983. [BioIn 12]

    Biography Index. A cumulative index to biographical material in books and magazines. Volume 13: September, 1982-August, 1984. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1984. [BioIn 13]

    The Cambridge Biographical Encyclopedia. Second edition. Edited by David Crystal. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1998. [CamBiEn]

    The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography. Edited by John S. Bowman. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1995. [CamDcAB]

    Contemporary American Composers. A biographical dictionary. First edition. Compiled by E. Ruth Anderson. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1976. [ConAmC 1]

    Contemporary American Composers. A biographical dictionary. Second edition. Compiled by E. Ruth Anderson. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1982. [ConAmC 2]

    Dictionary of the Arts. New York: Facts on File, 1994. [DcArts]

    The Lincoln Library of Social Studies. Eighth edition. Three volumes. Columbus, OH: Frontier Press Co., 1978. Biographies begin on page 865 of Volume 3. [LinLib S]

    Notable Names in the American Theatre. Clifton, NJ: James T. White & Co., 1976. Earlier edition published as The Biographical Encyclopaedia and Who's Who of the American Theatre. 'Necrology' section begins on page 343. This book often alphabetizes by titles of address, e.g.: Dr., Mrs., and Sir. [NotNAT B]

    Notable Twentieth-Century Pianists. A bio-critical sourcebook. Two volumes. By John Gillespie and Anna Gillespie. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995. [NotTwCP]

    The Oxford Companion to American Literature. Fourth edition. By James D. Hart. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965. [OxCAmL 4]

    The Oxford Companion to Music. 1974 edition. By Percy A. Scholes. Edited by John Owen Ward.[OxCMus 1974]

    Who Did What. The lives and achievements of the 5,000 men and women -- leaders of nations, saints and sinners, artists and scientists -- who shaped our world. Edited by Gerald Howat. New York: Crown Publishers, 1974. [WhDW]


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 04:27 PM

I should have added that I used to play some of his pieces on that box with strings and hammers. He was a tough-minded fellow, it seems from his music. His arrangements are beautiful but difficult.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 04:45 PM

There is a movie about Grainger - a Hollywood style biopic. I saw it - the dvd - remaindered somewhere but for some reason didn't buy it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Uke
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 04:53 PM

That movie is called "Passion" and it has Barbara Hershey in it (as Grainger's mother). Can't remeber who played Grainger.

About his recordings, apparently he felt that ordinary transcriptions of folk songs left so much out, and produced a false impression, when singers had all sorts of interesting, but hard to transcribe, effects in their singing. He called it "the impress of personality".

I also have read that he collected music from the Pacific Islands and New Zealand Maori, which he was fascinated by.
Uke


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,surreysinger
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 05:15 PM

Percy Grainger acknowledged his indebtedness to Lucy Broadwood for his first introduction to English folksong and folksong collecting in a letter to her from White Plains, USA, dated 2 November 1925... "Your work for folksong was always a source of the keenest delight to both my darling mother and myself. I don't know any woman my mother admired more than you....." He first met her at a talk that she gave on folksong collecting to the British Musical Association in March 1905 which fired him up to actively go out and start collecting himself. "Thru the beautiful spirit of that lecture I was led into paths that have meant so much to me and to my life's work, and the popularising of English folksongI have been able to do in US and the European continent etc, all had it's roots in that lecture of yrs, and the fragrance of country melody that it radiated". The lecture sparked off a friendship that was to last until her death in 1929. As already indicated he collected for the first time in 1905, the year of the lecture, and in 1906, Lucy (who was one of the judge's at the Brigg Folksong Competition) and he collected together. Lucy was actually instrumental in her capacity as Secretary of the Folk Song Society in providing him with a phonograph, and he was a pioneer in actually recording rather than annotating songs by hand. He was responsible for making the recordings of Joseph Taylor in 1906 which became the first commercially issued recording of English folksong from a source singer.

Vaughan Williams who was collecting from December 1903 to 1913,(and therefore at the same time as Grainger) was also introduced to folksongs and collecting by Lucy Broadwood (and also according to a letter he wrote to her in 1924 to Bach and Purcell). He was a family friend (living in Leith Hill near Dorking, while her family home was in Rusper on the Surrey/Sussex border nearby), and together with her and two others founded the Leith Hill Music Festival which has just taken place again in Dorking in the last month. Like Grainger he remained a friend of hers until she died. Whether the two composers met at one of the musical soirees and other parties that she held or attended I am unaware - her diaries record the names of various visitors to her home in London, or in Rusper, and both figure frequently therein (as do Holst, Butterworth and other classical music luminaries). It doesn't seem too fanciful to think it might have occurred!

As to Grainger's proclivities and peculiarities, well, they've been quite well documented as other contributors to this thread have indicated. Incidentally he not only collected English songs, but Danish amongst others. (I think his partner of later years may have been Danish - must admit that I'm not a specialist in his area... I'm more interested in Lucy!)

Sorry about the length of this - hope it's of interest.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: RangerSteve
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 06:16 PM

There's a book called "The Mammoth Book of Oddballs and Eccentrics" that says he was into flagellation and referred to his whipping scars as his "blue roses". He also established a Percy Grainger museum in Australia (Sydney, I think), and his last wish was to have his skeleton included in the exhibits. The museum trustees ignored this request.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: open mike
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 06:39 PM

I think the first time i recall seeing his name
was on the sheet music of "An English Country
Garden" a folk tune.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: open mike
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 06:44 PM

COUNTRY GARDENS

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]."
Version for piano solo

"[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).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 09:34 PM

Believe it or not, Joseph Taylor's singing of Briggs Fair is available on CD. Not too listenable (recording techniques weren't too good in 1906), but IMO very interesting historically. At CAMSCO, of course.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 11:22 PM

All of this, of course, is what makes Mudcat so very interesting.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 27 Apr 05 - 11:23 PM

G'day RangerSteve,

The Grainger Museum is actually in Melbourne ... where I understand Percy lived at some point. The Museum has some quite interesting instruments, which are in playing condition - and are sometimes let out to play!

There is a very high quality, extended-range, Wheatstone English concertina - made especially to order and, for which, Percy wrote a fiendishly complex tone-poem in six parallel parts. This had no known performance - until Janice Ramshaw (American-born wife of equally concertina-obsessed John Ramshaw) performed it at the Museum about 15 years back.

Just recently I heard a broadcast of violin work played by Jenny Morris - an up and coming young Australian - in which she played a Hardanger Fiddle (Hardangfel) - a Norwegian fiddle with 4 extra "sympathetic" strings from the Grainger collection. I don't know if the pieces Jenny played drew on work written by Percy for Hardanger Fiddle. (I spoke to Jenny at our National Folk Festival - and she thought this was the only Hardanger Fiddle in Australia ... but I know of at least two Australian contemporary makers that have made examples - maybe we can persuade one of them to give her a long-term loan of an instrument!)

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,Geoff
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 05:41 PM

The book mentioned earlier (Written by John Bird) was published in England in 1976 by Faber and Faber the following is the ISBN Number
ISBN 0-571-11717-1.
It's a good read if you can find a copy.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 05:46 PM

Roberts (aka Anglo) and Tony Barrand have a very nice CD called Heartoutbursts, consisting of songs collected by Percy Grainger. Good songs, good singing, good listening. Yes, CAMSCO carries it.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: greg stephens
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 06:22 PM

As a side issue, there is a lovely portrayal of Grainger in Ken Russell's TV programme about Delius, IMHO the best TV programme I've ever seen. Max Adrian played DFelius, but I cant remember the name of the actor who played Grainger. The programme(I think) was called "Song of Summer".
Grainger was years ahead of his fellow collectors in saying that conventional musical notation and writing down the words told you only the most superficial things about the performance of folk music. He spent a long time trying to solve this problem...as we all should!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,padgett (at home)
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 06:35 PM

As far as performance of Folk Song is concerned I think it is now more important to actually perform the song in the way which comes most naturally to the singer.

Unaccompanied song performance permits the singer to move from the straight jacket of musical phrasing (or vary notes within the framework)and use spoken word phrasing also for greater effect and dramatic emphasis.

Elongating or shortening words using stops, and other interjections would make the notation of a song somewhat difficult and necessitate the early collector in collecting not only the first verse/chorus but every verse.

Each verse would be an art form in itself communicating and conveying feelings.

Verses and performance would also change virtually evertime sung depending upon amount of beer drunk and feelings and state of mind of the performer when being collected!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Apr 05 - 11:22 PM

Here is a link to information about the 1968 TV movie Song of Summer.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,padgett (at home)
Date: 29 Apr 05 - 11:48 AM

The LP Unto Brigg Fair vinyl 1972 Leader 4050 mono (Bill Leader)

Sleeve notes say that Percy recorded in 1906 and 1908 in Lincolnshire and it is the 1908 recordings which formed the basis of the vinyl record.

Joseph Taylor had among 21 tacks listed by the recorded singers (6):

Sprig of Thyme; Died for love; Brigg Fair; The White Hare; Lord Bateman; Rufford Park Poachers; Gypsy's Wedding Day; Worcester City; Creeping Jane; Murder of Maria Martin; Bold William Taylor; Bold Nevison
Many of these songs have now re-entered into the repertoire of English Traditional singers.

I for one am delighted that these songs have been given a now lease of life.

I would also mention that collecting continues in Lincolnshire through the likes of Brian Dawson


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Sooz
Date: 29 Apr 05 - 12:27 PM

I had a plan to get a lottery grant to record Brian Dawson's encyclopaedic knowledge for posterity. Unfortunately it was turned down. Haven't given up yet though!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,padgett (at home)
Date: 29 Apr 05 - 06:28 PM

Hy Sooz hows Gainsborough going?

Brian has some wonderful stories about singing to his accordion in all the little Lincolnshire villages' Community Halls ~ in fact taking back the songs in his Lincolnshire collection to the people

He is a mine of information on traditional Lincolnshire song


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Ron Davies
Date: 30 Apr 05 - 03:08 PM

One of these posts 7:54 AM 27 April 2005, says Grainger was a racist and "went on at length about the importance of "blue-eyed music". Another post (27 Apr 2005 4:53 PM says he collected music from the Pacific Islanders and the Maori.

Isn't there a contradiction here?

Could somebody have respect for a black culture such that he wanted to collect its songs, and still be a racist?

Or did he collect them, while still considering them all inferior to the most pedestrian Western music?

Perhaps this topic is explored in one of the books about him.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: cobber
Date: 30 Apr 05 - 11:01 PM

Most people, particularly in Australia and New Zealand at the time held the current view of the racial superiority of the English race and Grainger would have been unusual if he didn't share what we now call racist views. I remember a few years ago putting two stories together (2+2+5?). I had read in several accounts the story of the swagman who comes in to the outback hotel and offers to play the piano in exchange for a beer. When given the chance he would play the most beautiful classical pieces on the broken down bar piano then drink his beer and disappear back to the bush. Damned if I can remember where these stories came from but I know I read them more than once. Then a few years ago, I read of how Grainger decided to walk between concerts in Adelaide and Sydney. For US readers that's like walking from New York to Texas and or UK catters, forget it, if you start in London, you're probably past Jerusalem. Apparently for these walks, he dressed as a swagman (US hobo) and could be out of circulation for months. Like they said, a strange man, but what music!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 30 Apr 05 - 11:34 PM

HMMMMMMM!!!!!

http://www.blickfire.com??????

WHY the MC interface before MC accepts a thread......????????

My "Spider Senses" are tingling.....could MAX have sold-out Joe and Dick?

Sincerely,
Gargoyle


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 30 Apr 05 - 11:39 PM


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,Fullerton
Date: 01 May 05 - 06:03 AM

I have sung in choirs that performed some of Grainger' choral works.

I found his plain speaking musical instructions such as "get louder" etc, a delight and very practical.

Instead of the usual "arranged by" - he is credited on some editions as having "dished up" the tune.

I can almost hear the ozzy accent

Shame that the video is not available.

I'm gonna order the book at the library.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Rowan
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 01:46 AM

The Percy Grainger Museum is in Melbourne, on Royal Parade, next to the Melbourne Uni tram stop. It is on Melbourne Uni land (next to the Conservatorium) and looks (from the outside) like a St Kilda Beach dunny but the contents are fascinating.

Grainger invented terry-towel clothing (he was a bit of a health freak) and a precursor to the Moog synthesiser (in 1926 or so) which used mechanical contrivances to vary various electrical components so that sounds could be produced with continuous (rather than discrete) changes.

In addition to the concer mentioned by Bob there's a couple of duet concertinas and four or five pianos; one is tuned in sixths!

Well worth a visit. There was talk a couple of years ago about dismantling it but the terms of the bequest (by which it landed at Melbourne Uni) and action by various music heavies stymied that notion at the time.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: semi-submersible
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 05:53 AM

My mother remembered her (English) father commenting on a pretty tune she had just learned at school (in British Columbia, Canada). When she told him it was "An English Country Garden, by Percy Grainger," her father hit the roof, and informed her emphatically that it had been around long before Percy Grainger. I wish I had a penny for every time this gifted arranger has been taken for composer!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: GUEST,Suffolk Miracle
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 10:15 AM

An incredibly strong and fit man. One of his party tricks was to open the front and back doors of his house, then stand outside the front with a cricket ball, which he would throw clean over the roof, run through the house, out of the back door and catch the ball before it bounced.
When travelling with an orchestra by coach he frequently got out and ran to the place they were going to.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: quokka
Date: 21 Jul 08 - 11:40 AM

I seem to remember the movie starred an Australian actor (as PG)called Richard Roxburgh, very talented actor
Cheers,
Quokka


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Percy Grainger
From: Garry Gillard
Date: 22 Jul 08 - 10:57 AM

The film was directed by Peter Duncan, is called Passion, and has Richard Roxburgh as PG.


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