Percy Grainger: Dished up for Piano, Vol. 3

Percy Grainger: Dished up for Piano, Vol. 3

by Martin Jones

CD

Overview

Nimbus' Percy Grainger: Dished Up for Piano, Vol. 3, features pianist Martin Jones in 28 -- count 'em -- 28 of Grainger's folk song arrangements, likely all of Grainger's known contributions to this genre as set down for solo piano. The first aspect of this package that is immediately appealing is the excellent notes by John Pickard that move patiently through each arrangement, addressing the question of provenance (which can be a complicated issue in Grainger) and placing each work in context. Although he transcribed folk music from all over the world, and not always for solo piano, the heart of Grainger's folk song collecting activity was concentrated in the British Isles in the early 1900s and in Denmark in the 1920s. "Country Gardens," the piece by which Grainger's reputation was made despite the stubborn attribution of "Traditional" in most publications and recordings of the piece, was "loaned out" to Grainger through the work of Cecil Sharp, but nearly everything else represented here Grainger collected himself. If he had not done so, most of these tunes, nearly as old as the hills that Grainger loved, would have disappeared forever. Grainger's pianistic writing is all quite difficult, with extremely wide chords for the left hand and plenty of rapid-fire passagework, although in slower pieces such as "My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone" or "Died for Love" he demonstrates a sensitive side, replete with mildly jazzy harmonies reminiscent of Dave Brubeck. The thickness in Grainger's writing, usually a curse when applied to folk song settings, is a blessing in that his piano music is so texturally rich that the pieces, though short, seem much longer and more involved than they are. Take "Molly on the Shore" for example, of which the melodic line is so busy, and textures so rapidly changing, that when its three minutes are up you feel as though you've heard something more substantive and certainly longer than it is. Martin Jones should receive some kind of prize just for getting through this material without having his hands fall off. It was recorded in the Nimbus Concert Hall at Wyastone Leys, a very live room indeed, so the recording may be a bit distant for some listeners. Overall, Percy Grainger: Dished Up for Piano, Vol. 3, is amazing music combined with amazing playing in a more or less popular milieu. If you were only able to absorb one volume of Nimbus' Dished Up series, this would be the one to get.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/02/1992
Label: Nimbus Records
UPC: 0083603524425
catalogNumber: 5244

Tracks

  1. Country Gardens, folk song for piano (BFMS 22)
  2. The Merry King, folk song for piano (BFMS 38)
  3. Molly on the Shore, folk song for piano (BFMS 19)
  4. Irish Tune from County Derry (Londonderry Air), folk song for piano (BFMS 6)
  5. Knight and Shepherd's Daughter, folk song for piano (BFMS 18)
  6. The Nightingale and the Two Sisters, folk song for piano (edited by Joseph Smith; DFMS 10)
  7. Jutish Medley, folk songs for piano (DFMS 8)
  8. The Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol, folk song for piano (BFMS 2)
  9. The Rival Brothers, folk song for piano (FI unnumbered)
  10. Near Woodstock Town, folk song for piano (BFMS unnumbered)
  11. Leezie Lindsay, folk song for piano (Scottish Folksongs No. 1)
  12. The Brisk Young Sailor, folk song for piano
  13. One More Day, My John, chanty for piano (SCS 1)
  14. Rimmer and Goldcastle (Rammerlil og Guldborg), folk song for piano (DFMS 3)
  15. Spoon River, folk song for piano (AFMS 1)
  16. The Widow's Party, for piano (KS 7)
  17. The Hunter in His Career, song for piano (OEPM 4)
  18. My Robin Is to the Greenwood Gone, song for piano (OEPM 2)
  19. Died for Love, folk song for piano (BFMS 10)
  20. Scotch Strathspey and Reel, folk song for piano (BFMS 37)
  21. One More Day, My John, chanty for piano (SCS 1)
  22. In Bristol Town, folk song for piano (BFMS unnumbered)
  23. Hard-Hearted Barb'ra (H)Ellen, folk song for piano (BFMS unnumbered)
  24. Mo Nighean Dubh (My Dark-Haired Maiden), folk song for piano (Scottish Folksongs No. 2)
  25. Lisbon (Dublin Bay), folk song for piano (2 versions) (BFMS 40)
  26. Stalt Vesselil (Proud Vesselil), folk song for piano (DFMS unnumbered)
  27. O Gin I Were Where Gowrie (Gadie) Rins, folk song for piano (Scottish Folksongs No. 3)
  28. Shepherd's Hey!, folk song for piano (2 versions) (BFMS 4)

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