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Molly On The Shore

Percy Aldridge Grainger

Molly on the Shore is an arrangement of two contrasting Irish reels, “Temple Hill” and “Molly on the Shore,” that presents the melodies in a variety of textures and orchestrations. Each section of the band has long stretches of thematic and countermelodic material but it especially features the clarinets and saxophones.

Grainger composed this piece for strings in 1907 as a birthday gift for his mother Rose who had home-schooled him and with whom he was extraordinarily close. He later arranged it for wind band and for orchestra. When Fritz Kreisler set it for violin and piano, Grainger was not impressed: “[It] was a thousand times worse than I had fore-weened (expected), and I had not fore-weened anything good.”

Grainger wrote, “Melody seems to me to provide music with initiative, [but] rhythm appears to me to exert an enslaving influence. For that reason I have tried to avoid regular rhythmic domination in my music ... I prize discordant harmony, because of the emotional and compassionate sway it exerts.”

Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882 – 1961) was an Australian-born composer, arranger, pianist and musical innovator. He enlisted as an army bandsman, became a U.S. citizen and made many worldwide concert tours. He was a com- plicated, 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 believed that “free music” required non-human performance and worked years developing machines for it. Convinced of Nordic superiority, he eschewed Italian, the customary language of music, in favor of “blue-eyed” English.

Last updated on November 12, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band