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Grainger: Transcriptions for Wind Orchestra / Rundell, Royal Northern


Release Date: 04/29/2008 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10455   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  AnonymousGuillaume de MachautJosquin Des PrézAntonio De Cabezón,   ... 
Performer:  Ivan Hovorun
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

GRAINGER—TRANSCRIPTIONS FOR WIND ORCHESTRA Clark Rundell, cond; Ivan Hovorun (pn); 1 Royal Northern College of Music Wind O CHANDOS 10455 (60:54)

ANON Angelus ad Virginem. MACHAUT Ballade No. 17. DES PRÉZ La Bernardina. CABEZÓN Prelude Read more in the Dorian Mode. FERRABOSCO II 4 Note Pavan. JENKINS 5-Part Fantasy No. 15. BACH See what His love can do. O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sünde gross (attrib Bach) March. LISZT Hungarian Fantasy. 1 FRANCK Chorale No. 2. FAURÉ Tuscan Serenade. GOOSSENS Folk-Tune. PARKER Down Longford Way

Many 19th-century composers permitted their publishers to secure arrangements of their works in forms suited for home use. These efforts were often tolerated for the sales they’d bring. By the early 20th century, though, attitudes were starting to change. Arrangements were seen as the means to preserve folk traditions, reestablish interest in the pre-Baroque era, and expand classical performing groups and audiences.

Percy Grainger had a hand in all three groups. They notably came together for him in the early 1930s, when a series of meetings with Arnold Dolmetsch and Dom Anselm Hughes led to modern performing editions entitled, respectively, the Dolmetsch Collection of English Consorts for Modern Strings , and English Gothic Music . From these collections, Grainger transcribed several pieces, and added further transcriptions of music by Bach and modern composers he preferred. The result was Chosen Gems for Winds , published by G. Schirmer in the U.S., and first performed at the International Music Camp in Interlochen, Michigan, in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Nearly all of the arrangements used on this disc derive from that collection, and are given their world premiere recordings here.

Grainger’s arrangements employed what he called “elastic scoring.” Each voice in the original manuscript he assigned to an alphanumerical “tone strand.” That strand would be linked to instruments resembling its original timbre, dynamics, etc. I’m not at all sure this produces arrangements that are any more valuable than those produced by any other method, but they work to varying degrees on this album.

The Five-Part Fantasy No. 15 and the Four Note Pavan are among my favorites. Both are successful at defining each voice for an effect of great transparency, reserving entries of the brass for climaxes. Good, too, is the Franck Chorale No. 2, though in a different way. The music comes from a later era, when the individual strands of music were expected to achieve a vertical blend rather than stand out in sharp horizontal distinction. Grainger accomplishes something of a work of arrangement art in this piece, I think. The wind orchestra becomes capable of a very broad range of colors, without ever invoking the desire for strings, organ, or piano, to provide further color.

I’m less impressed by the individual voice detailing in Cabezón’s Prelude in the Dorian Mode or Bach’s See what His love can do . The textures seem to me muddy in both cases. As much can be said of the Tuscan Serenade , reduced here to something that resembles a barrel organ. It’s not very good Fauré, but it deserves a better treatment than this. Among the pair of Impressionistic/folk hybrids, the Folk-Tune by Goossens fails, while Parker’s Down Longford Way succeeds, because the latter uses the wind resources Grainger had at his disposal to better textural advantage. Finally, there’s the Hungarian Fantasy . The original isn’t a piece I’ve ever liked, but this version is at least as effective as the original, and as fiery as any in full orchestral garb. The presence of a poetic yet suitably flamboyant pianist such as Ivan Hovorun certainly helps, since much of the work is devoted to showing off his technical skills.

Clark Rundell conducts lively yet stylistically sound renditions of everything here, while the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra (whose musicians perhaps practice breath support by repeating its name over and over) performs it all with obvious expertise. Excellent sound, good liner notes. Definitely worth getting if you’re a Grainger enthusiast, a fan of wind band music, or simply want to hear a great arrangement of the Franck and one of the most successful performances of the Liszt on record.

FANFARE: Barry Brenesal

-----

Chandos has boxed up its complete Grainger edition, but this was one of the final singleton releases—and one of the most interesting. Despite the fact that Grainger set the same tunes about 30 billion times for every imaginable ensemble, his musical tastes were omnivorous. The works transcribed here range from Machaut, Ferrabosco, Josquin, and Jenkins, to Fauré songs, Franck organ music (Chorale No. 2), and Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasy for piano and orchestra. Grainger was a master of wind sonority and scoring, and the arrangements are all marvelous. The performances also are beautifully in tune, never screechy, and full of fun (even though that’s not a word that usually comes to mind in connection with Josquin or with Franck’s organ works). Vivid sonics too. Even if you’re not normally a Grainger fan, you might want to consider this.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Angelus ad Virginem by Anonymous
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Medieval 
Written: 13th Century; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 58 Secs. 
2. Sanz cuer/Amis, dolens/Dame, par vous by Guillaume de Machaut
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Medieval 
Written: 14th Century; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
3. La Bernardina by Josquin Des Préz
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Renaissance 
Written: Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 19 Secs. 
4. Prelude in the Dorian mode by Antonio De Cabezón
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; Spain 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
5. Four Notes Pavan by Alfonso Ferrabosco
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
6. Five Part Fantasy, no 15 by John [20th C.] Jenkins
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
7. Anna Magdalena Bach Notebook: March by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Length: 1 Minutes 35 Secs. 
8. Ich bin ein guter Hirt, BWV 85: Seht, was die Liebe tut! "See what His love can do" by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; Leipzig, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
9. Orgelbüchlein: O Mensch, bewein' dein' Sünde gross, BWV 622 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1714-1717; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
10. Hungarian Fantasy for Piano and Orchestra, S 123 by Franz Liszt
Performer:  Ivan Hovorun (Piano)
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1852; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 16 Minutes 41 Secs. 
11. Chorales (3) for Organ: no 2 in B minor, M 39 by César Franck
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; France 
Length: 11 Minutes 51 Secs. 
12. Sérénade toscane, Op. 3 no 2 by Gabriel Fauré
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1878; France 
Length: 2 Minutes 52 Secs. 
13. Folk-Tune by Sir Eugene Goossens
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
14. Musical Sketches (4): Down Longford Way by Katharine Parker
Conductor:  Clark Rundell
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Australia 
Length: 2 Minutes 8 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

La Bernardina (Josquin)
Clavierbüchlein II for Anna Magdalena Bach (Bach): March
Musical Sketches (Parker): Down Longford Way

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