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Percy GRAINGER (1882-1961)
Lincolnshire Posy - Music for Band
The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare (1939) [2:26]
Lincolnshire Posy (1937 version) [17:12]
The Merry King (1936-39 version) [5:02]
Children’s March (1916-18) [7:03] *
Colonial Song (1911-13) [6:09]
Mock Morris (1910) [3:38]
The Gum-Suckers March (1942 version) [3:44]
Molly on the Shore (1920 version) [4:06]
Spoon River (1919, orchestrated 1929; this 1967 version by Glenn Cliffe Bainum) [4:09]
After-Word (1910-11 revised 1957) [5:16] *
Lads of Wamphray (1905) [7:51]
Irish Tune from County Derry (1918-20) [4:45]
Shepherd’s Hey (1918 version) [2:02]
The Arts District Chorale *
Dallas Wind Symphony/Jerry Junkin
rec. Meyerson Symphony Centre, Dallas, Texas, August 2008 
REFERENCE RECORDINGS RR-117 [73:43]
Experience Classicsonline

The band settings recorded here largely fall into one of two of Grainger’s categories; either the British Folk Music or Room-Music Tidbits, though we do also have things such as Spoon River, one of his American Folk Settings - of Anglo-Scottish ancestry. They’re all played with appropriate gusto but also, where required, delicacy of spirit by the Dallas Wind Symphony under Jerry Junkin.
 
One notices the sheer depth of tone, from top to bottom, cultivated by the Dallas players in The Duke of Marlborough Fanfare where they give lip to its rip-roaring vitality. It’s a winning curtain raiser and not as well known a piece as its disc companions. We can hear some noble gravity in Horkstow Grange, the second of the Lincolnshire Posy collection. There’s some truly vibrant percussion in Lord Melbourne, jaw jutting in the extreme and a fine, dramatic conclusion in the shape of The Lost Lady Found.  There’s limpid piano writing encased in The Merry King, a song Grainger collected in Wimbledon from folk singer Alfred Hurt in 1905. This band version, as with so many others, followed many years later. In this case Grainger first set it, as one might expect, for piano and expanded it between 1936-39 for wind band based on sketches he’s made for a choral version in 1906. Long gestation. 
 
There are two occasions where the wind band is augmented by The Arts District Chorale – the Children’s March and After-Word. The former is warmly genial, whilst the latter is more incisive and expertly dished up by the forces. I should add that Grainger instructed the band members to sing the wordless chorus in the Children’s March though it’s probably a wise precaution to employ the Chorale instead. The Colonial Song is affectingly done and offers moments for instrumental soliloquies before its jaunty tempo change. There’s more dynamism and loquacious joie de vivre in The Gum Suckers March.
 
Lads of Wamphray is a long and echt-Graingerian setting though for once it’s not based on an original folk tune – it was the first wind band work of his to be performed, which it was back in 1905. The disc ends with imaginative and sensitive performances of – what else? – the Irish Tune from County Derry and Shepherd’s Hey.
 
The excellent sound quality – it’s a Prof. Johnson 24-bit special – is augmented by fine detail regarding the band versions recorded.

Jonathan Woolf


 


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