SLS 5249 was a well-loved double LP set called The
Music of Percy Grainger and it featured two of the orchestras on
this new ABC disc as well as one of the conductors and the pianist.
So it’s a welcome back to the Symphony Orchestras of Sydney and Adelaide,
John Hopkins and to Leslie Howard in this infectious and captivating
disc of Grainger favourites. Surprisingly there are not as many Grainger
discs in the catalogue as there might be – or should be – and this one
is entirely sympathetic to Grainger’s demands.
Topped and tailed with Country Gardens, first on piano
then in orchestral guise, the popular Grainger is on show throughout
and he ranges geographically far and wide from Ireland to China via
Denmark, Norfolk, Victoria and Bradford, Illinois. Grainger’s use of
wonderfully chromatic harmonies in even the most popular of pieces –
listen to the Irish Tune from County Derry or Danny Boy if
you prefer – is bracing and dispels wallowing. Orchestration in the
Mock Morris is subtle and affectionate, Willow willow is
expanded for orchestral accompaniment and Leslie Howard wittily points
the first section of the Scotch Strathspey. The Power of Love
receives a suitably passionate performance and Peter Sculthorpe’s
orchestration of the Beautiful fresh flower – a piece used by
Puccini in Turandot – is affecting and apposite as well as being
ethereally enticing. In a whimsical piece of programming it is immediately
followed by the Gum Sucker’s March, which is galvanizing enough
as it is but earth shattering in the context.
Throughout orchestras, conductors and Leslie Howard
in his six solo outings offer richly nuanced and never routine performances.
Cogent notes add to the pleasure.
In the UK you can get the disc from firstname.lastname@example.org
Orders can be placed by E-MAIL at
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An enquiry to Steven will I am sure give you all the
information you will need about ordering.
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