During the early 1900s, while his concert career was flourishing in the wealthy parlors of London, Percy Grainger became interested in folk music. At the suggestion of his friend, Lucy Broadwood, he began collecting individual folk songs. During 1905, he embarked on a tour of Lincolnshire where he began collecting from the local singers, by notating the tunes on paper. In 1906, he returned with his newfangled Edison Recoding Machine . The resulting collection, now securely recorded on wax cylinders, became one of Grainger's treasure troves of musical ideas.
Grainger respected the folk singers approach to each song and strove to maintain the exact stylizing that he heard from the originals. From the cylinder records, Grainger was able to translate the nuisance that the singers added to their performance.
When Edwin Franko Goldman approached Grainger in January, 1937 to compose something for the upcoming American Bandmaster's Convention, Grainger reached back into his collected folksongs for inspiration. The six movement work known as Lincolnshire Posy was the result. Each movement was intended by Grainger to be a musical portrait of the the singer who sang its underlying melody. It's premier performance by the Milwaukee Symphonic Band, on March 7, 1937 in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin auditorium. In the program, Grainger dedicated his "bunch of Wildflowers" to "the old folksingers who sang so sweetly to me."
This presentation will look at the score notations of each of the six songs, and provide some of the collection history for each. For example, Lisbon was sung by an elderly man, Mr. Dean, who was in the hospital at the time. Mr. Dean was quickly exhausted by the effort. The matron stepped in and stopped the recording to protect Mr. Dean. Grainger retreated and allowed Mr. Dean to simply listen without the effort of participation. Mr. Dean, upon hearing the music, quickly rallied and said, "I'll sing for you now.". Joseph Taylor, who worked as an carpenter at the Squire Barton's Saxby-All Saints estate, noted that singing into a cylinder was challenging, to him it sounds like singing with a muzzle on. Percy himself is recorded singing Lord Melbourne.
Join us for this discussion of the spirit and history of the original fold songs and how they because one of Grainger's most notable works for band.
Barry Peter Ould, Huntly, Aberdeenshire, was co-founder of the Percy Grainger Society (UK) with Professor David Tall. In 1984, Barry took over the editorship of the Grainger Society Journal with Vol. 6. In 1987, he established the music publishing company, Bardic Edition, and under this imprint many new Grainger works have been published. He acted as musical consultant to the Chandos Grainger Edition (1998–2003) as well as writing the extensive liner notes.