Global Fascinations and Sophistications
Chandos have arrived at volume 14 in their survey of the music of Percy
Grainger (1882-1961). It seems like yesterday when Grainger appeared on
BBC Television in the wonderful days of black and white, when you could
relax after Sunday lunch and enjoy good music and balanced chat without
fear of another lousy film or endlessly violent sport. Grainger even played
Handel in the Strand in the Stokowski arrangement, and spoke in a
squeaky voice about the great pioneer days. I know of no other composer
who can produce a constant stream of stunning pieces, many in a proliferation
of diverse instrumental and vocal settings that were like no other.
He rarely receives his due in the concert hall as we haven't the
gift of laughing at ourselves -- or enjoy a composer regularly letting
his hair down.
You get the drift by considering the titles: Lord Peter's Stable-Boy,
The Shoemaker from Jerusalem, Hubby and Wifey, Bonnie Doon, The Bridegroom,
and many more. Della Jones, Stephen Varcoe, with cello and guitar going
hammers and tongs with whoops and screams galore [listen
-- track 3, 0:25-1:12], while Martyn Hill copes amorously with some
of the calmer fare. A large complement of the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields
are on parade, and there are also featured numbers that include Grainger's
favourite harmonium, played by John Alley. What about a Late Night Prom?
To be continued >>
Copyright © 13 December 2000
Bill Newman, Edgware, UK
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||To listen to the aural illustrations in this review,|
you may need to download RealNetworks' realplayer 8.