Percy Grainger
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1882-07-08
https://musicbrainz.org/artist/9d5a875f-9815-4384-9e4f-cd4ea4f2bc16
Percy Grainger Percy Grainger Percy Grainger Percy Grainger

Biography

Composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, educator, inventor, collector and transcriber of the folk music of many cultures – Percy Aldridge Grainger was born at Brighton, near Melbourne, Australia, on 8 July 1882. His philandering, alcoholic father left home when Percy was ...

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Biography

Composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, educator, inventor, collector and transcriber of the folk music of many cultures – Percy Aldridge Grainger was born at Brighton, near Melbourne, Australia, on 8 July 1882. His philandering, alcoholic father left home when Percy was 8 and his mother, Rose Aldridge, assumed total control of every aspect of her son’s life. Discipline was harsh but the bond of affection between mother and son was overwhelming and all-consuming.

After studying at the Frankfurt Conservatory, Grainger settled in England in 1901 and began his career as a professional pianist. His good looks and striking blond hair made him a popular figure in London society. It was during this period that he first began collecting folk songs and from 1905 he travelled extensively in England and Scandinavia, recording and transcribing over 500 songs.

In 1914, Grainger moved to America, eventually settling in White Plains, NY, and taking US citizenship in 1918. For the rest of his life he continued to tour the world as a performer, earning a considerable fortune and giving much of it away to deserving cases. In 1928, on stage at the Hollywood Bowl, in front of an audience of over 15,000, he married Ella Ström, a Swedish artist, who bore a startling resemblance to his mother.

Grainger was a man of contradictions: a professional concert pianist who hated performing in public; a compassionate, vegetarian pacifist and avid reader of bloodthirsty Nordic sagas; a keep-fit fanatic whose sex-life was dominated by sadomasochistic practices. Above all, he was a radical, a visionary and a fearless experimenter, whose musical reputation was for too long defined by that dread term ‘light music’.

Though Grainger remained essentially a miniaturist (none of his works lasts much over 20 minutes), his vast output is brimming with new ideas. These include a totally new approach to orchestration through flexible (‘elastic’) scoring, experiments with ‘chance’ music that startlingly anticipate 1960s aleatoricism, and a vision of a music freed from the constraints of regular pulse and specific pitch. To achieve this ‘Free Music’, he set about designing and building special machines to play the strange, sliding microtonal music he had in mind. A few tapes of these efforts still exist, but at the time of his death, on 20 February 1961, his dream remained only partly realised.

Profile © John Pickard

Clips (4)


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Percy Grainger, Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra & Clark Rundell
Irish Tune from County Derry
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Irish Tune from County Derry Irish Tune from County Derry Irish Tune from County Derry Irish Tune from County Derry
Percy Grainger, Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra & Clark Rundell
Colonial Song
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Colonial Song Colonial Song Colonial Song Colonial Song
Percy Grainger, Timothy Reynish & Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Country Gardens
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Country Gardens Country Gardens Country Gardens Country Gardens
Percy Grainger & Marc-André Hamelin
Handel in the Strand
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Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand
John Lavender, Penelope Thwaites & Percy Grainger
English waltz vers. 2 pianos
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English waltz vers. 2 pianos English waltz vers. 2 pianos English waltz vers. 2 pianos English waltz vers. 2 pianos
Percy Grainger, Richard Hickox & BBC Philharmonic
The Immovable Do (version for orchestra)
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The Immovable Do (version for orchestra) The Immovable Do (version for orchestra) The Immovable Do (version for orchestra) The Immovable Do (version for orchestra)
Percy Grainger, Richard Robbins, Martin Jones, Harry Rabinowitz & MGM Studio Orchestra
Howard's End - Main Title
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Howard's End - Main Title Howard's End - Main Title Howard's End - Main Title Howard's End - Main Title
Percy Grainger, Timothy Reynish & RNCM Wind Band
Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for wind band
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Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for wind band Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for wind band Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for wind band Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for wind band

Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for wind band

Performer
Timothy Reynish
RNCM Wind Band
Last played on
BBC Philharmonic, Percy Grainger & Richard Hickox
Country Garden / Shepherd's Hey
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Country Garden / Shepherd's Hey Country Garden / Shepherd's Hey Country Garden / Shepherd's Hey Country Garden / Shepherd's Hey
Percy Grainger, Richard Hickox & BBC Philharmonic
Handel in the Strand vers. for orchestra
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Handel in the Strand vers. for orchestra Handel in the Strand vers. for orchestra Handel in the Strand vers. for orchestra Handel in the Strand vers. for orchestra
Percy Grainger & BBC Philharmonic, Richard Hickox (conductor)
Mock Morris
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Mock Morris Mock Morris Mock Morris Mock Morris
Percy Grainger
Green Bushes
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Green Bushes Green Bushes Green Bushes Green Bushes
Percy Grainger, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain & Ilan Volkov
The Warriors
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The Warriors The Warriors The Warriors The Warriors
Percy Grainger, NYO Great Britain & Ilan Volkov
The Warriors
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The Warriors The Warriors The Warriors The Warriors
Percy Grainger & Martin Jones
Ramble on love for piano [paraphrase of final duet of Strauss's 'Rosenkavalier']
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Ramble on love for piano [paraphrase of final duet of Strauss's 'Rosenkavalier'] Ramble on love for piano [paraphrase of final duet of Strauss's 'Rosenkavalier'] Ramble on love for piano [paraphrase of final duet of Strauss's 'Rosenkavalier'] Ramble on love for piano [paraphrase of final duet of Strauss's 'Rosenkavalier']
Camerata Chamber Choir, Percy Grainger & Michael Bojesen
4 Folk Songs: Come thee unto the hills
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4 Folk Songs: Come thee unto the hills 4 Folk Songs: Come thee unto the hills 4 Folk Songs: Come thee unto the hills 4 Folk Songs: Come thee unto the hills
Percy Grainger, BBC Philharmonic & Richard Hickox
Country Gardens
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Country Gardens Country Gardens Country Gardens Country Gardens
Hubert Francis, Glenn Tweedie, Simon Bailey, Ian Gray, Stephen Svanholm, Alexander Wall, Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra, Percy Grainger, Roberto Garcia, Martin Quinn & Clark Rundell
Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra
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Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra

Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra

Singer
Alexander Wall
Simon Baisley
Martin Quinn
Stephen Svanholm
Glenn Tweedie
Roberto Garcia
Hubert Francis
Ian Gray
Conductor
Last played on
[traditional], Percy Grainger, Camerata Ireland & Barry Douglas
Irish Tune from County Derry (Danny Boy]
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Irish Tune from County Derry (Danny Boy] Irish Tune from County Derry (Danny Boy] Irish Tune from County Derry (Danny Boy] Irish Tune from County Derry (Danny Boy]
Percy Grainger, Higgins, Timothy & Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass
Lincolnshire Posy
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Lincolnshire Posy Lincolnshire Posy Lincolnshire Posy Lincolnshire Posy

Lincolnshire Posy

Music Arranger
Higgins, Timothy
Ensemble
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass
Last played on
George Frideric Handel, Piers Lane & Percy Grainger
Hornpipe from 'The water music' transc. for piano solo (orig. for orch)
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Hornpipe from 'The water music' transc. for piano solo (orig. for orch) Hornpipe from 'The water music' transc. for piano solo (orig. for orch) Hornpipe from 'The water music' transc. for piano solo (orig. for orch) Hornpipe from 'The water music' transc. for piano solo (orig. for orch)
Penelope Thwaites & Percy Grainger
Blithe bells - a free ramble on Bach's aria 'Sheep may graze
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Blithe bells - a free ramble on Bach's aria 'Sheep may graze Blithe bells - a free ramble on Bach's aria 'Sheep may graze Blithe bells - a free ramble on Bach's aria 'Sheep may graze Blithe bells - a free ramble on Bach's aria 'Sheep may graze
Percy Grainger, Malcolm Wilson, Roderick Elms, Sir Simon Rattle, Wayne Marshall & City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
The Warriors
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The Warriors The Warriors The Warriors The Warriors
Percy Grainger, Polyphony, Stephen Layton & David Wilson-Johnson
Shallow Brown
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Shallow Brown Shallow Brown Shallow Brown Shallow Brown
Percy Grainger, Sir John Eliot Gardiner & Monteverdi Choir
I'm Seventeen Come Sunday
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I'm Seventeen Come Sunday I'm Seventeen Come Sunday I'm Seventeen Come Sunday I'm Seventeen Come Sunday
Leslie Howard, Percy Grainger
To a Nordic Princess (bridal song) vers. piano
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To a Nordic Princess (bridal song) vers. piano To a Nordic Princess (bridal song) vers. piano To a Nordic Princess (bridal song) vers. piano To a Nordic Princess (bridal song) vers. piano
Percy Grainger, London Philharmonic Orchestra & Sir Adrian Boult
Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra
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Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra Over the hills and far away - children's march vers. for orchestra
Percy Grainger, Clark Rundell & Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra
Marching song of democracy (version for Wind Orchestra)
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Marching song of democracy (version for Wind Orchestra) Marching song of democracy (version for Wind Orchestra) Marching song of democracy (version for Wind Orchestra) Marching song of democracy (version for Wind Orchestra)
George Gershwin, Gabriela Montero, Alexander Gurning & Percy Grainger
Fantasy on themes from Porgy and Bess for two pianos
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Fantasy on themes from Porgy and Bess for two pianos Fantasy on themes from Porgy and Bess for two pianos Fantasy on themes from Porgy and Bess for two pianos Fantasy on themes from Porgy and Bess for two pianos
Percy Grainger, City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Sir Simon Rattle
Lincolnshire Posy: The Brisk Young Sailor (Who Returned To Wed His True Love)
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Lincolnshire Posy: The Brisk Young Sailor (Who Returned To Wed His True Love) Lincolnshire Posy: The Brisk Young Sailor (Who Returned To Wed His True Love) Lincolnshire Posy: The Brisk Young Sailor (Who Returned To Wed His True Love) Lincolnshire Posy: The Brisk Young Sailor (Who Returned To Wed His True Love)
City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Percy Grainger & Sir Simon Rattle
Lincolnshire Posy for Military Band: The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song)
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Lincolnshire Posy for Military Band: The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song) Lincolnshire Posy for Military Band: The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song) Lincolnshire Posy for Military Band: The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song) Lincolnshire Posy for Military Band: The Lost Lady Found (Dance Song)
Percy Grainger, Georg Tintner & Symphony Nova Scotia
Colonial Song
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Colonial Song Colonial Song Colonial Song Colonial Song
BBC Philharmonic, Percy Grainger, Richard Hickox
Shepherd's Hey!
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Shepherd's Hey! Shepherd's Hey! Shepherd's Hey! Shepherd's Hey!
Percy Grainger, BBC Philharmonic & Richard Hickox
Blithe Bells
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Blithe Bells Blithe Bells Blithe Bells Blithe Bells
Percy Grainger, English Chamber Orchestra & Benjamin Britten
Shepherd's Hey!
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Shepherd's Hey! Shepherd's Hey! Shepherd's Hey! Shepherd's Hey!
Percy Grainger & Leslie Howard
Handel in the Strand
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Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand
Penelope Thwaites & Percy Grainger
Prelude in C major
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Prelude in C major Prelude in C major Prelude in C major Prelude in C major
Percy Grainger & Raschèr Saxophone Quartet
Shepherd's hey arr. Rascher for saxophone quartet
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Shepherd's hey arr. Rascher for saxophone quartet Shepherd's hey arr. Rascher for saxophone quartet Shepherd's hey arr. Rascher for saxophone quartet Shepherd's hey arr. Rascher for saxophone quartet
City of London Sinfonia, Percy Grainger, Penelope Thwaites & Richard Hickox
Handel in the Strand
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Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand Handel in the Strand
Percy Grainger & Dennis Hennig
Ramble on love for piano
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Ramble on love for piano Ramble on love for piano Ramble on love for piano Ramble on love for piano
Percy Grainger & Lydia Kavina
Free Music No.1
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Free Music No.1 Free Music No.1 Free Music No.1 Free Music No.1
Leopold Stokowski, Percy Grainger & Stokowski Symphony Orchestra
Early One Morning/Shepherd's Hey
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Early One Morning/Shepherd's Hey Early One Morning/Shepherd's Hey Early One Morning/Shepherd's Hey Early One Morning/Shepherd's Hey
Percy Grainger, Keith Brion & Symfonický orchester Slovenského rozhlasu
Colonial song vers. for orch
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Colonial song vers. for orch Colonial song vers. for orch Colonial song vers. for orch Colonial song vers. for orch
Percy Grainger, Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra & Clark Rundell
The Immovable Do
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The Immovable Do The Immovable Do The Immovable Do The Immovable Do
Percy Grainger, Frederick Fennell, Eastman-Rochester Pops Orchestra & N/A
HANDEL IN THE STRAND
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HANDEL IN THE STRAND HANDEL IN THE STRAND HANDEL IN THE STRAND HANDEL IN THE STRAND
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