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The Folksongs of Lincolnshire Posy

  • Fri, May 06, 2022
  • 12:00 PM
  • Virtual, via zoom. (Link sent with registration.)


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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 new-fangled Edison Recording 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 nuances 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. Its premier performance by the Milwaukee Symphonic Band, was 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 a carpenter at  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'.  

Please note these is a code in the Members' Section for 10% discount to purchase Folk Songs & Dances in Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Grainger, edited by Robert Garofalo, from Midwest Sheet Music

Join us for this discussion of the spirit and history of the original folk songs and how they became 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.

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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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