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Percy Grainger: Tuneful Percussion / Woof!


Release Date: 02/08/2011 
Label:  Move   Catalog #: 3222   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Percy Aldridge GraingerHenry Balfour GardinerClaude DebussyTraditional,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Throughout his life Percy Grainger was fascinated by what he called "tuneful percussion", meaning pitched instruments such as the marimba, xylophone, glockenspiel, celesta, chimes, piano, and the bell family's many members. He went so far as to commission a steel marimba built to his specifications, and even furnished his own mallets. Here for the first time all of Grainger's original works and arrangements showcasing these instruments are recorded complete, and incorporate the aforementioned steel marimba plus Grainger's own staff bells for authenticity's sake.

Grainger's colorful, often idiosyncratic instrumentation is often wacky and always delightful. In some ways Grainger's youthful Eastern Intermezzo's jaunty
Read more rhythms and exotic parallel harmonies foreshadow Gershwin's An American in Paris, while Blithe Bells (Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze" lushly harmonized) sounds bizarre yet oddly moving in its incarnation for mallet percussion and four-hand piano (although the basic tempo is too slow for comfort). Grainger's serious interest in Balinese and Javanese traditional music manifests itself in sensitive arrangements of Gamelan Anklung and Sekar Gadung.

By contrast, Balfour Gardiner's piano piece London Bridge mostly stands intact, augmented with mallet percussion, harmonium, double bass, and a second piano. In Ravel's La Vallée des Cloches pianos, marimbas, bells, gongs, and harp delicately interact, augmented by solo strings that sustain notes with plain, threadbare sonorities. And it must have been fun to rehearse and record Grainger's jaunty, multi-mallet marimba renditions of the Sailor's Song and two of his greatest hits: Shepherd's Hey and Country Gardens.

Kudos to the Australian percussion ensemble Woof! for the scholarly integrity and loving musicality that they and their colleagues bring to this project. The booklet annotations include historic photographs and sketches, plus an excellent, informative essay by Alessandro Servadei. In all, an unusual and valuable release to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Percy Grainger's death.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Shepherd's Hey by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
2.
The Lonely Desert-Man Sees the Tents of the Happy Tribes by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911-1914; London, England 
3.
Arrival Platform Humlet by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908-1912; England 
4.
Bahariyale v. Paliyandi by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
5.
Berong Pengetjet by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
6.
Blithe bells by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; England 
7.
Crying for the Moon by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
8.
Eastern Intermezzo by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
9.
Irish Tune from County Derry "Danny Boy" by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
10.
London Bridge by Henry Balfour Gardiner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Notes: Arrangement: Percy Grainger 
11.
Estampes (3) for Piano: no 1, Pagodes by Claude Debussy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; France 
12.
Sailor's Chanty by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900 
13.
Under a Bridge by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928/1946; Australia 
14.
Sekar Gadung by Traditional
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Notes: Arrangement: Percy Grainger 
15.
Miroirs: La vallée des cloches by Maurice Ravel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; France 
Notes: Arrangement: Percy Grainger 
16.
Country Gardens by Percy Aldridge Grainger
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Woof!
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 

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