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At the start of today's programme, Grainger - a pacifist - joins the US army, as Bandsman, 2nd Class. Soon after, he was to plant still deeper roots on that side of the pond by becoming an American citizen and buying a house for himself and his mother Rose, about an hour's journey from New York - a faintly Oedipal domestic idyll which would be rudely shattered the following year, when Rose committed suicide by throwing herself from the 14th storey of Grainger's management office. Grainger's reaction was to throw himself into his work - a music festival, a teaching commitment and a protracted European tour. By this time, his arrangement of 'Country Gardens' was flying off the shelves of music shops everywhere at a phenomenal rate, making trips to his native Australia affordable. It was on the return journey from one such trip that he met his "Nordic princess", Ella Viola Ström, who approached him in the ship's music room for a banjulele lesson and ended up with a husband. Their wedding ceremony - and indeed their marriage - was as unconventional as Grainger himself.

Release date:

1 hour

Last on

Wed 23 Nov 2011 18:30

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