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In today's programme, Grainger finds himself in demand as a concert pianist, and with the backing of his old friend Balfour Gardiner has his first taste of success as a composer too. At first, London must have seemed the perfect base for his activities, but when war was declared in August 1914, he and his mother Rose decided to up sticks and head out of harm's way - to the Big Apple - on the not unreasonable grounds that a war casualty could not become Australia's first significant composer. In New York, Grainger quickly established himself as a pianist, becoming known as "the Siegfried of the piano" for his dashing good looks. He found himself a publisher and commissions started to follow - one of the earliest resulted in one of his best-known compositions, the orchestral suite In a Nutshell. A promised ballet commission from the conductor Thomas Beecham failed to materialize, but Grainger wrote the work anyway; it became his "imaginary ballet", The Warriors, one of his most original and inventive scores.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Tue 22 Nov 2011 18:30

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