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Spoon River

Percy Aldridge Grainger/arr. Glenn Cliffe Bainum

When the poem-book “Spoon River Anthology” appeared in 1914 describing frustrated ambitions of people in a fictitious town in west-cen tral Illinois, an elderly man recalled a fiddle tune he heard in 1857 at a country dance in Stark County, near Spoon River. His tune was passed along to Percy Grainger who composed this American folk song setting aimed at preserving “a pioneer blend of lonesome wistfulness and sturdy persistence.”

Percy Aldridge Grainger (1882-1961) was a talented and eccentric pianist and composer who emigrated from Australia to the United States in 1915. He collected and arranged folk music, favored inventive rhythms, wrote tempo and dynamic instructions in plain English and was an early innovator with electronic music.

Last updated on July 18, 2013 by Palatine Concert Band