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Grainger: Country Gardens & Other Piano Favourites / Jones


Release Date: 05/02/1994 
Label:  Nimbus   Catalog #: 7703   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Percy Aldridge GraingerJohn DowlandPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyCharles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Martin JonesPhilip MartinRichard McMahon
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Martin Jones’s recordings of Percy Grainger have been gathered together into a 5-CD box set of the Complete Works, NI1767, in which form they were reviewed by Jonathan Woolf in March 2011 but we don’t seem to have reviewed this generous selection. It’s all that many potential listeners will want and I see that it’s advertised as available again. My copy of the CD dates from 1994. It’s not a reissue of a single CD from the set but a compendium of Grainger’s best-known works.

Let me deal with the least attractive part first: as Jonathan Woolf noted, the recording is not to everyone’s taste – it’s certainly too reverberant for my liking, but it didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment too much. Subscribers to the Naxos Music
Read more Library might wish to try it there first but give it a chance: after a few tracks you’ll hardly notice any problem.

Just about all the likely suspects are included in the programme, together with several pieces that I would hardly have described as well-known: track 4, for example, offers Grainger’s take on Dowland’s Now, O now, I needs must part. It’s in a style far removed from the madly dancing Percy Grainger that viewers of a certain age will retain from Ken Russell’s film about Delius – that’s Grainger, that was – and, though I hardly recognised Dowland’s original tune from Grainger’s treatment, he does retain the gravity and melancholy spirit of the original.

Much the same is true of My Robin is to the Greenwood gone (track 7) – the original tune is submerged in Grainger’s arrangement of what emerges as a fine piece in its own right. Nor is a folk tune such as Near Woodstock Town (track 15) quite the same after Grainger’s treatment. Mock Morris on the following track makes no pretentions to be other than Grainger’s own take on folk music – it only sounds as if it were based on a folk tune. In many respects it’s more quintessentially Grainger than anything else and it’s brought off to perfection here.

There are several arrangements here: the next track after Dowland (tr.5) contains Blithe Bells, Grainger’s arrangement of Schafe können sicher weiden (Sheep may safely graze), though, again, Bach’s original is almost lost in the latter part of the arrangement – it’s much more Grainger’s ‘own’ than Walton’s take on the same piece in The Wise Virgins. Other tracks contain arrangements of Stanford, Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss – a characteristic Ramble on the final love-duet of Rosenkavalier.

The pop items are skilfully interwoven in the programme, starting with Handel in the Strand (track 1). Memories of George Malcolm playing this on the harpsichord are not erased but Martin Jones offers idiomatic and dextrous performances of the well-known and lesser-known works alike. Getting your fingers around the notes in a piece like the Stanford March-jig (track 9) is only half the story; the other half, which Jones contrives beautifully, is summoning an image of Grainger himself dancing to it around Delius’s garden.

On the following track we’re on Irish territory again in very different mood for the Tune from County Derry (alias Danny Boy). Does Jones milk the sentiment here slightly too much in the manner of those Irish tenors such as Josef Locke whom my father and grandfather worshipped? I think so, but perhaps my great-grandfather’s Irish blood was simply running a little too thin by the time it reached my generation. In any case, Marc-André Hamelin on Hyperion is faster and less sentimental here (see below). John Pickard’s observation in the booklet that ‘Grainger’s music shares with Bach’s the fact that, no matter how slowly one plays it, it always sounds satisfying’ looks as if it might have been written in defence of Jones’s tempo for this piece.

On track 11 Grainger and Jones take on the opening of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto single-handed, and do so surprisingly effectively. No question of too slow a tempo here.

Only if you are likely to be put off by the recording should you need to look elsewhere. If you do, you are likely to find a 1996 recording by Marc-André Hamelin on Hyperion your best choice – a very similar selection to that on Nimbus, on CDA66884 (CD or download in mp3 or lossless). If anything, Hamelin is even more fleet-fingered than Jones, but there’s not much to choose between them. If it’s the orchestral arrangements that you’re looking for, look no further than the inexpensive Introduction to Percy Grainger (Chandos CHAN2029: Bargain of the Month – see review), a sampler for their excellent complete series (see review), or another budget-price Chandos selection (CHAN6542, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Kenneth Montgomery).

With first-class performances and excellent notes there’s a lot to be said in favour of this single-CD selection. Don’t blame me if it leads you to purchase the complete box, or if the Chandos sampler tempts you to buy some of the recordings in that series."

-- Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Room Music Tit Bits: Handel in the Strand by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
2.
Bridal Lullaby by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1916; USA 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 23 Secs. 
3.
Country Gardens by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 5 Secs. 
4.
Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 6, Now, o now, I needs must part by John Dowland
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 37 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Percy Grainger (1935) 
5.
The Gum-Suckers' March by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905-1911; England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
6.
My Robin is to the greenwood gone by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 51 Secs. 
7.
Molly on the Shore by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 7 Secs. 
8.
Irish Tune from County Derry "Danny Boy" by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 4 Secs. 
9.
Concerto for Piano no 1 in B flat minor, Op. 23: Excerpt(s) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1874-1875; Russia 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Percy Grainger 
10.
Ramble on R Strauss's love duet from "Der Rosenkavalier" by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 8 Minutes 10 Secs. 
11.
Colonial Song by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911/1918; England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 34 Secs. 
12.
Shepherd's Hey by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
13.
Near Woodstock Town by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903/1951 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 14 Secs. 
14.
Mock Morris by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 17 Secs. 
15.
Zanzibar Boat Song for Piano 6 hands by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano), Philip Martin (Piano), Richard McMahon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 36 Secs. 
16.
Children's March "Over the Hills and Far Away" by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano), Philip Martin (Piano), Richard McMahon (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916-1918 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 7 Minutes 6 Secs. 
17.
One more day, my John "Sea Shanty" by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915/1932; USA 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Ver: 1915 
18.
In Dahomey by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 6 Secs. 
19.
Blithe bells by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
20.
Irish Dances (4), Op. 89: no 1, A March-Jig "Maguire's Kick" by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Martin Jones (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; England 
Date of Recording: 1989 
Venue:  Wyastone Leys, Monmouth, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Notes: Transcribed: Percy Grainger 

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