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Percy Aldridge Grainger
Lincolnshire Posy was conceived and scored directly for wind band in 1937. The composer tells us it is a collection of six English folksongs -- a bunch of “musical wildflowers” (hence the title) -- based on tunes collected in Lincolnshire, England mainly in the years 1905 - 1906 with the help of an early phonograph. It is dedicated to the yeomen folksingers who sang so sweetly. “Each number is intended to be a kind of musical portrait of the singer’s personality and habits of song, - his regular or irregular wonts of rhythm, his preference for gaunt or ornately arabesqued delivery, his contrasts of legato and staccato, his tendency toward breadth or delicacy of tone”.
Lisbon Bay is a brisk sailor’s song presented several times with changing accompaniment. In Horkstow Grange, the accents shift constantly throughout as the number of quarter notes in a measure changes from four to five to three and back again. The third song, Rufford Park Poachers, emphasizes the piccolo in a high register playing with the solo first clarinet three octaves lower. The tune is accompanied by itself in canon by the E-flat clarinet and bass clarinet, a unique effect. The Brisk Young Sailor is rather simple in contrast to the previous song. The fifth song, Lord Melbourne, begins in free time, heavy and fierce. The final song, The Lost Lady Found, is the most conventional setting of all, in straight 3/4 meter with usual accompaniment patterns.
Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882-1961) was born in Australia. He studied music from a young age with his mother. He enjoyed early succes as a concert pianist on several continents. At the outbreak of WWI he enlisted as an army bandsman (oboist). He became a U.S. citizen in 1919 and made many worldwide concert tours. As a composer he was a remarkable innovator, using irregular rhythms and pioneering in field music collection. In 1905-1906 he traveled throughout Lincolnshire, England using a gramophone to record local yeomen singing their songs. He was the first to attempt to transcribe thes songs with musical notation. He tried to retain the original flavor of these local singers by strict observance of peculiarities of performances such as varying beat lengths.
Last updated on July 17, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band