program notes by composition > L > Lincolnshire Posy

Lincolnshire Posy

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.

The composer wrote, “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”.

1. “Lisbon” (Sailor’s Song) is a brisk seafaring melody presented several times with changing accompaniment.

2. “Horkstow Grange” (The Miser and his Man: a local Tragedy) The accents shift constantly throughout, as the number of quarter notes in a measure changes from four to five to three and back again.

3. “Rufford Park Poachers” (Poaching Song) emphasizes the piccolo in a high register playing with the alto clarinet. The tune is accompanied by itself in canon by the oboe and bassoon, a unique effect.

4. “The Brisk Young Sailor” (who returned to wed his True Love) is rather simple in contrast to the previous song.

5. “Lord Melbourne” (War Song), begins in free time, heavy and fierce.

6. “The Lost Lady Found” (Dance Song) is the most conventional set- ting 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 May 12, 2017 by Palatine Concert Band