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An Introduction To Percy Grainger


Release Date: 09/19/2006 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 2029   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Percy Aldridge GraingerAnonymous
Performer:  Stephen VarcoeTimothy ReynishPenelope Thwaites
Conductor:  Richard HickoxMatthias Bamert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic OrchestraJoyful Company of SingersCity of London Sinfonia
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The favourites plus less well known pieces, excellently performed and recorded.

The guiding hand of Richard Hickox and his fellow conductors more or less guarantees high quality and that is what we get. The cheerfulness is never overdone and the Irish Tune from County Derry (popularly known as the Londonderry Air) receives an affecting but not over-sentimental performance. This is far removed from the overdone renditions by the likes of Josef Locke that my father and grandfather revelled in.

The recordings are in Chandos’s best manner: bright but not over-bright. Despite having been made on several different occasions - and in several locations? - there is never any sense of having to adjust aurally
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It is to be hoped that purchasers will be inspired by this introduction to experiment further with Chandos’s excellent range of Percy Grainger recordings. There are only three vocal items here, but they are just enough to remind us that not all of his output was orchestral: the Chandos catalogue contains both vocal, chamber, instrumental solo and orchestral pieces.

Most of the Grainger here is fun music – this is, after all, the work of the composer seen leaping around fey-like in the classic Ken Russell Delius film – but there is a serious side, too. Listen to his arrangement of Early one morning for the other side of the coin. Even the jolly music is well crafted – clearly, Grainger spent at least some of his time in more serious pursuits. You’ll see from the dates in the headings how often and over how long a period Grainger reworked his music – further details in the Chandos booklet. There is a strong case for placing his arrangements of British folk song on a par with those of Delius – and who else could have taken a tune from Handel’s Harmonious Blacksmith and turned it into that jazzy and un-Handel-like piece Handel in the Strand? It takes the likeable cheek of a Mr Toad to do that.

The wind-band writing in the Lincolnshire Posy suite is fully the equal of Holst’s and Vaughan Williams’ and the performance by the Royal Northern College Wind Orchestra every bit as good as that on my favourite recording of the Holst and V-W (London Wind Orchestra/Denis Wick at budget price on ASV Resonance CDRSN3006).

For low-price introductions, the presentation of these CDs has not been skimped, apart from the lack of detail about where and exactly when the recordings were made. Both the Grainger and VW booklets contain helpful information – I hadn’t realised the full story behind the several versions of Country Gardens, for example – with catalogue numbers from the British Folk Music Society, etc., for Grainger and within attractive covers. Is the bicycle on the cover of the Grainger not a little too modern, though, with its plastic reflectors?

At this price, the only serious rival is Chandos’s own even cheaper but shorter 1978 collection from the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and Kenneth Montgomery on CHAN6542 (CD and mp3).

-- Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1. Country Gardens by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
2. Irish Tune from County Derry "Danny Boy" by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Matthias Bamert
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
3. Green Bushes by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919; England 
4. Early One Morning by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901/1940 
5. There was a pig went out to dig by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Joyful Company of Singers,  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
6. Shepherd's Hey by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
7. Shallow Brown by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Stephen Varcoe (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Joyful Company of Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; England 
8. Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Timothy Reynish (Baritone)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937-1938; USA 
9. Immovable Do by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
10. Room Music Tit Bits: Handel in the Strand by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Penelope Thwaites (Piano)
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
11. I'm Seventeen Come Sunday by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia,  Joyful Company of Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1912 
12. Blithe bells by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; England 
13. Molly on the Shore by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
14. Mock Morris by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of London Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; England 
15. English Dance by Anonymous
Conductor:  Richard Hickox
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Medieval 
Written: England 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Great compilation. January 11, 2013 By M. Powell (Chicago, IL) See All My Reviews "I am enjoying this CD because the selections are a great way to listen and learn about a specific composer. Chandos should produce more of this type of CD. I am now a big fan of Percy Grainger." Report Abuse
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