program notes by composition > C > Children’s March: "Over the hills and far away"

Children’s March: "Over the Hills and Far Away"

Percy Aldridge Grainger/ed. by R. Mark Rogers

Children’s March: “Over the Hills and Far Away” This work for piano and military band is cast in a sunny, care-free mood. It reflects the composer’s theory that the greatest expressivity can be found in the lower octaves of the band and from the larger members of the reed families. It features liberal use of the bassoons, English horn, bass clarinet, contra-bassoon and the lower saxophones. At one point the band reduces to eight solo players, with those who are not playing singing a wordless chorale.

Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882-1961) was a talented and eccentric pianist, composer and conductor. Born in Melbourne, Australia, he studied music from a young age with his mother and enjoyed early success in London as a society pianist and concert performer on several continents. At the outbreak of WWI he enlisted in the US Army as a bandsman (oboist). He became a U.S. citizen in 1919 and made many worldwide concert tours.

Grainger was a complicated, controversial figure in every facet of his life. He rebelled against the disciplines of the central European tradition, largely rejecting conventional forms such as symphony, sonata, concerto and opera. He used inventive rhythms with tempo and dynamic instructions notated in plain English rather than the customary Italian. He was an early experimenter with music machines and recording. He is remembered as a composer and collector of original English and other folk melodies.

Last updated on November 16, 2015 by Palatine Concert Band