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Grainger and Choral Music

Thu, June 01, 2023 11:23 AM | Anne Ocone (Administrator)

For Percy Grainger communal singing was the most direct and expressive form of musical expression. Grainger composed startlingly original choral music throughout his life, often based on his love of the literature of Kipling, Whitman, Swinburne, and others. His folk-song collecting activities in England and Denmark also informed his approach to choral composition, and form the basis of some of his best-known works for choirs. For the 2023 program year, the Percy Grainger Society organized two presentations: Grainger for Choirs, held on February 24, and Performing Grainger’s Choral Music which will take place on Friday June 30th.

Grainger for Choirs, presented by Paul Jackson, was the first of two discussions in the series and included an overview of Grainger's music for choirs, beginning with his early large-scale experiments in the setting of irregular rhythms, through his many and varied folk-song settings, to his lifetime's work on the Jungle Book Cycle. Illustrated with sound clips of selected works, the presentation looked at the influence of language and dialect on Grainger's approach to both the composition and performance of choral music, together with the many ways in which his ideas of Free Music, music without pitch division or standard meter, also found their way into his choral writing.

Performing Grainger’s Choral Music, to be presented by Dr. Brent Wells, Associate Professor of Choral Conducting and Ensembles at Brigham Young University, will explore the reality of performing Grainger's complicated choral works from unaccompanied choruses, that fall into a more "standard" performance model, to those requiring more robust—and at times, unusual—performing forces. Grainger's concept of "elastic scoring" will be discussed as well as practical ways to perform an all-Grainger choral concert, or a set of Grainger pieces within a more typical concert program featuring several composers and styles. The presentation will focus particularly on Grainger's folk-based choral works and will conclude with an open Q&A and discussion. 

Please register and join us on Friday June 30 at noon (US Eastern time)! 

Performing Grainger’s Choral Music is free to members and $10 for all other guests.

7 Cromwell Place, White Plains, NY 10601


Tel: (914) 281-1610

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The Percy Grainger Society's programs are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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