Percy Grainger

(1882—1961) composer

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(b Brighton, Victoria, 1882; d White Plains, NY, 1961).

Australian‐born composer and pianist (Amer. cit. 1918). Recital début in London, June 1901; conc. début Bath 1902 (Tchaikovsky B♭ minor). In 1903 toured Australia, NZ, and S. Africa. In London in 1906 he was befriended by Grieg, who greatly admired his playing and invited him to Norway to make a special study of the pf. conc. in A minor, a work of which he remained a notable interpreter. Collected and ed. Eng. folksongs, incl. Brigg Fair, collected at N. Lincs. mus. competition fest. at Brigg, 1905. His arr. of it was admired by Delius, whose orch. rhapsody was based on this tune. Delius and Grainger remained close friends. Grainger's NY début was in 1914, after which the USA became his home. Although best‐known as a composer for his lighter works such as Shepherd's Hey, usually based on traditional tunes, his folksong arrs. for ch., e.g. Shallow Brown, are original and impressive and won the admiration of Britten. He was a lifelong experimenter and something of an eccentric, a very lively and stimulating figure. He rejected It. as the language in which to indicate tempo etc. in scores and used colloquial Eng., e.g. ‘Linger very slightly. Quicker lots bit by bit’. As early as 1937 he comp. what he called ‘free mus.’ for primitive elec. instrs. Prin. works:

original: keyboard:

Over the Hills and Far Away

, 2 pf. (1916–18);

Colonial Song

, pf. (1914);

Handel in the Strand

, pf. (1930), 2 pf. (1947);

Hill Song No.1No.2

, 2 pf. (1921), , 2 pf. (1907);

Mock MorrisIn a Nutshell

, pf. (1910), 2 pf. (1910); Suite, , 2 pf. (1916);

The Warriors

, 2 pf., 6 hands (1922);

Walking Tune

, pf. (c.1905).


Colonial Song

(1905–12, rev. c.1928);

Handel in the Strand

, str. (1932);

Mock MorrisIn a Nutshell

, str. (1910), orch. (1914); Suite, (1905–16);

The Warriors

, 3 pf., orch. (1912–16).

large wind ens.:

Colonial Song

, band (1918);

Over the Hills and Far Away

, band, pf. (1916–19);

Hill Song No.2

, band (1901, rev. 1911, 1940–6);

Marching Song of Democracy

, band (1948).

choral & vocal:

Colonial Song

, sop., ten., hp., orch. (1905–12, rev. 1914), sop., ten., pf. trio (1912);

Danny Deever

, male vv., orch./bar., male vv., pf. (1903, 1922–4);

Marching Song of Democracy

, ch., org., orch. (1901–17);


, ch. (1905, 1929).

chamber music:

Colonial Song

, pf. trio (1912);

Handel in the Strand

, pf. trio (1911–12);

Hill Song No.1No.2

, 22 instr. (1921, rev. 1923), , 22 wind/cymbal (1907, rev. 1911, 1940–6);

Mock Morris

, str. sextet (1910), vn., pf. (1910);

Walking Tune

, wind quintet (1900–5).

folk‐song settings: keyboard:

Country Gardens

, pf. (1908–18), 2 pf. (1918) orch. by L. Artok;

Green Bushes

, 2 pf., 6 hands (1919);

Irish Tune from Co. Derry Londonderry Air

(), pf. (1911);

Lincolnshire Posy

, 2 pf. (1937–8);

Molly on the Shore

, pf. (1918), 2 pf. (1947);

My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone


Subjects: Music.

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