A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger
by Thomas P. Lewis

Selected Chapters


Table of Contents to Source Guide
1. Biographical/Artistic Vignettes
4. Program Notes

4. PROGRAM NOTES, continued



THE SPRIG OF THYME--voice & piano

[Edition for voice and piano published by G. Schirmer, 1921. (Ed.)]

British Folk-Music Settings No. 24

Grainger: "English Folk-song collected at Brigg, Lincolnshire, England, in 1906, from the singing of Joseph Taylor (of Saxby-All-Saints, Lincs.) Setting [for voice and piano] sketched, about 1907, in England. Written down, May 13, 1920, Youn gstown, Ohio, U.S.A. Loving birthday gift to mother for July 3rd, 1920. "[Headnote:] Lingeringly, but with a lilt.

"Mr. Joseph Taylor was a perfect artist in the very purest style of English folk-song singing, having, in addition to fine natural musical gifts, a resonant ringing lilting tenor voice, which, in 1908, at the age of 75, was well-nigh as fresh as that of his son, who had repeatedly won the first prize for tenor solo singing at the North Lincolnshire Musical Competitions. Mr. Taylor had sung in the choir of Saxby-All-Saints church for 45 years, thus combining the singing of folk-songs and art-music, a dual activity very rarely met with amongst English folk-singers in my experience. Though his memory for the texts of songs was not uncommonly good, his mind was a seemingly unlimited store-house of melodies, which he swiftly recalled at the merest mention of their titles. His versions were generally distinguished by the beauty of their melodic curves and by the symmetry of their construction. He relied more upon purely vocal effects than almost any folk-singer I ever heard. His dialect and his treatment of narrative points were no t so exceptional, but his effortless high notes, sturdy rhythms, clean unmistakable intervals and his twiddles and 'bleating' ornaments (invariably executed with unfailing grace and neatness) were irresistible. He most intelligently realized just what sor t of songs folk-song collectors were after, distinguishing surprisingly between genuine traditional tunes and other ditties, and was in all ways a marvel of helpfulness and kindliness. Nothing could be more refreshing than his hale countrified looks, the childlike innocence of his light blue eyes, his round merry wrinkled face, all smiles and dimples, set above his short stocky sturdy frame. At the age of 75 the impression he made was that of robust middle age and his entire personality and art breathed a n atmosphere of health, happiness, prosperity, friendliness and sweetness. An English rustic of the most courteous and genial type, his calling was that of a bailiff on a big estate, having, before that, been estate woodman and carpenter. Most unfortunate ly he lost his life, about the year 1910, in a driving accident.[Notes on Joseph Taylor and other singers are also given in Grainger's program notes for Lincolnshire Posy, above. (Ed.)]

"For other versions, variants and arrangements of The sprig of thyme, see Journal of the Folk-Song Society No. 4, page 210, Kidson's Traditional Tunes, page 69, and Nos. 33 and 34 of Cecil J. Sharp's One Hundred English Folk-s ongs (Oliver Ditson Co., Boston).

Wunst (once) I had a sprig of thyme,
it prospered by night and by day
till a false young man came acourtin' te (to) me,
and he stole all this thyme away.

The gardiner was standiddn (standing) by;
I bade him che-oose (choose) for me:
He chose me the lily and the violet and the pink,
but I really did refuse them all three.

Thyme it is the prettiest thing,
and time it e will grow on,
and time it'll bring all things to an end
addend (and) so doz (does) my time grow on.

It's very well drinkin' ale
and it's very well drinkin' wine;
but it's far better sittin' by a young man's side
that has won this heart of mine.

Wunst should rhyme with German Kunst.
False should sound like German falsch (except for the final consonant, s instead of sh).
Young should sound like German jung.
Man should sound like German Mann.
Court (in accourtin') should sound like German Kurt.
Te should rhyme with her, but without the r being sounded.
Stan (in standiddn) should rhyme with German Mann.
Che-oose should rhyme with sea oose.
But should sound like but in butcher.
E is a 'nonsense syllable', having no meaning, and should sound like err, but without the err being sounded.
Addend should rhyme with hardened, with the r not sounded.
Doz should almost rhyme with lose, only that the o in doz should be shorter (and more 'lax') than the o in lose.
That should rhyme with German hat.
Has should rhyme with Mars, only the vowel shorter.
Won should rhyme with Wun in German Wunder."

"Ella Grainger loved her husband's musical realization of this song and was fascinated that a folk-song text should contain such a delightful play on words: namely, time and thyme."--Rolf Stang.

"Sprig of Thyme had been phonographed from Joseph Taylor at Brigg on the 4th of August, 1906. Apparently Grainger sketched a setting in about 1907 and in February 1918 he recorded it on a Duo-Art roll before he had written it down. In the Grainger Museum is a 'rough indication of the tune (as sung by Mr Taylor) to be sung to my setting of the same. The accompaniment is not yet written down, but it is recorded on Duo-Art-Roll (February 1918)'. (MG15/4-13)."--David Tall (Songs).

STORMY (Two versions of a Pumping Chanty)--arr. for chorus

Grainger: "[Version 1--Mus. Exam. 22A, this page:] Sung by Mr. John Perring of Dartmouth, at Dartmouth, England, January 18th and 25th, 1908. Collected and noted by H. E. Piggott and Percy Grainger. "[Version 2--Mus. Exam. 22B, next page:] Collected and sung by Mr. Charles Rosher, July 24th, 1906, London. Noted by Percy Grainger July 24th, 1906.

"'Old Stormy' seems to be a purely mythical character, and this chanty has apparently originated during work at the pumps in heavy weather, in a desire to placate and lay the spirit of the storm by a mournful eulogy of his virtues and a description of his American honored burial (on the folk-charm principle of suggesting or imitating the thing which one wishes to happen).

"This chanty may, as has been suggested, be of Negro birth, and have been originally an African rather than a nautical myth, though quite in keeping with sailor superstitions.

"For other variants of these chanties, for notes upon them and for a description of Mr. Perring's singing see Journal of the Folk-Song Society, No. 12."


[Aka Danish Folk-Music Suite. All numbers may also be played separately. See also separate entries for "The Nightingale" and "The Two Sisters" and Jutish Medley, above.(Ed.)]

1. The Power of Love

2. Lord Peter's Stable-Boy

3. "The Nightingale" and "The Two Sisters"

4. Jutish Medley

Grainger: "My Danish Folk-Music Suite [for orchestra, piano & organ] is based on Danish Folksongs collected with the phonograph in Jutland by Evald Tang Kristensen and myself during the years 1922-1927. Evald Tang Kristensen (who was 84 years of age at the time of our final collecting) was the greatest folk-music collector I have ever met--a genius through and through. My part of the collecting was undertaken partly in order to compare the singing habits of Danish country-side singers (as preserved in minute detail in the phonograph records) with those of English folk-singers similarly recorded with the phonograph by me in the period 1906-1909. This investigation revealed striking similarities in Danish and English folk-singing hab its--similarities that might be compared to those existing between Danish and English speech-dialects.

"The first movement of my Suite is a setting of a folksong, 'The Power of Love', which tells the story of a girl whose clandestine lover is set upon by her seven brothers [because he has made love to their sister without 'asking their rede'], all of w hom he kills. Returning from this encounter, he asks the girl if she still loves him, to which she answers: 'Even had you killed my old father as well, I still would follow you.' The last verse of the ballad comments on love's ruthless sway as follows:

A green-growing tree in my father's orchard stands.
I really do believe it is a willow tree;
Its branches twine together, so close from root to crown.
And likewise so do true love and fond heart's desire.

"After an introduction of rolling piano arpeggios the melody is gently played by soprano saxophone until it rises to a great climax with the full orchestra.

"The second movement is a sturdy dance song, 'Lord Peter's Stable-boy', cast exclusively in seven-bar phrases. The build of tune is a rare survival from the middle ages.

"It was no mere chance that the first tone-works I wrote after my beloved mother's tragic death in April, 1922, were my settings of 'Lord Peter's Stable-Boy' and 'The Power of Love'. The tune and words of the latter (the more so as grippingly, piercin gly, heart-searchingly sung by sixty-year-old Mrs. Ane Nielsen Post--a wondrously gifted folk-singer of the very finest type, whose Nordic comeliness, knee-slapping mirth and warm-heartedness, paired with a certain inborn aristocratic holding-back of herself, reminded me of my mother) seemed to me to match my own soul-seared mood of that time--my new-born awareness of the doom-fraught undertow that lurks in all deep love.

"I was drawn no less strongly to `Lord Peter's Stable-Boy' on other grounds: For many years my mother and I had read aloud to each other, and doted on, sundry of the rimes in Evald Tang Kristensen's Danish folk-song books. Some of these my mother knew by heart (in Danish). The rimed tale of 'Lord Peter's Stable-Boy' had long been one well-liked by both of us. Guess, then, my joy on hearing from Coppersmith Michael Poulsen of Vejle (on August 17, 1922) the manly, ringing melody (with its 7-bar phrases so typical of the middle ages) he sang so well to that ballad. His tune seemed to me to give me a chance to paint a tone-likeness of one side of my mother's nature--sturdy, free, merry, peg-away, farmer-like.

"Both these settings are lovingly honor-toked to my mother's memory.

* * *

"The ballad of 'Lord Peter's Stable-boy' tells of 'Little Kirsten', who dons male attire because she wants to be a courtier at the Dane-King's castle. On her way thither she meets the Dane-King and Lord Peter as they are riding in the green-wood and s he asks the Dane-King for employment as a stable-boy.

Lord Peter, Lord Peter all to himself he said:
'Just by looking at your eyes I can tell you're a maid.'

"She becomes Lord Peter's stable-boy and--

Eight years she rode his young foals out on the lea:
A stable-boy everyone did deem her to be.

"The royal court is much taken aback when, nine years later, this stable-boy gives birth to twins:

The Dane-King he laughed and he smacked loud his knees:
'Now which of my fine stable-boys has given birth to these?
'This morning I had but a stable-boy so bright:
'A groom and a coachman as well as mine to-night!'.'

"The whole folk-rime may be consulted on page 107 of Evald Tang Kristensen's Jydske Folkeviser og Toner (Copenhagen, 1871).

* * *
"'The Nightingale and the Two Sisters' (tone-wrought 1923-1930) is based on two Danish folk-songs, 'The Nightingale' and 'The Two Sisters', both sung with winsome singing-grace and heart-searching warmth and keen-ness by that deeply gifted folk-son gstress Mrs. Ane Nielsen Post (of Gjeds<179>, Tem Sogn, Jutland, Denmark) and noted down from her singing (and phonograms of the same) by Evald Tang Kirstensen and Percy Aldridge Grainger in 1922 and 1923.

"The song-words of 'The Nightingale' (freely Englished) begin as follows:

I know a castle, builded of stone,
Appearing so grand and so stately;
With silver and the red, red gold
Bedecked and ornamented ornately.

And near that castle stands a green tree--
Its lovely leaves glisten so brightly:
And in it there dwells a sweet nightingale
That knows how to carol so lightly.

A knight rode by and heard the sweet song,
And greatly it was to his liking:
But he was astonished to hear it just then,
For the hour of midnight was striking.

[Another singer here sang: 'For it was in winter-time', and this Evald Tang Kristensen held to be the first-hand form.]

"Further verses lay bare the fact that the nightingale is, in reality, a maiden who has been turned into a nightingale by the spells of a wicked stepmother. When the knight, wanting to break these evil spells, suddenly seizes hold of the nightingale, she is shape-changed into a lion, a bear, 'small snakes' and a 'loathsome dragon'. But the knight does not loosen his grip on her during these shape-changings, and while she is in the dragon shape he cuts her with his penknife so that she bleeds. Hereby the evil spell is broken and she stands before him 'a maiden as fair as a flower'.

"This folk story is widespread in many lands and tongues. Under the title 'Kempion' or 'Kemp Owyne' it is found in gatherings of Scottish and English ballads such as Buchan's and Moderwell's, and there is a glorious summing-up of sundry forms of the ballad, titled 'The Worm of Spindlestonheugh', in Algernon Charles Swinburne's read-worthy Ballads of the English Border (London, Wm. Heinemann, Ltd., 1925).

"The first verse of 'The Two Sisters' (Englished) runs:

Two sisters dwelt within our garth,
Two sisters dwelt within our garth:
The one like sun, the other like earth.
(Refrain) The summer is a most pleasant time.

"The verses that follow unfold the story of the elder sister (dark as earth) who pushes her younger sister (fair as sun) into the water and lets her drown, because she wants for herself the young man to whom the younger sister is betrothed. Two fiddlers find the younger sister's corpse and make fiddle strings of her hair, fiddle pegs (screws) of her fingers.[It is light-shedding to match side by side with this two verses from 'The Two Sisters' as noted in North Carolina (U.S.A.) and forth-printed in Olive Dame Campbell and Cecil J. Sharp's English Folk-Songs from the Southern Appalachians (New York, 1917): 'O what will we do with her fingers so small? / We'll take them and we'll make harp screws. / O what will we do with her hair so long? / We'll take it and we'll make harp strings.] While the fiddlers are fiddling at the elder sister's wedding the fiddle strings tell of the murder, and the murderess is burnt alive.

"This folk-poem, also, is widespread in many lands, being well known in Scots and English as 'The Two Sisters', 'Binnorie', etc.

"The 'Jutish Medley', as its name implies, is a succession of tunes hailing from Jutland. The first (most spiritedly sung by Mrs. Anna Munch, of Fræer Mark, Skjørping, Jutland), 'Choosing the Bride', voices a lover's dilemma in choosing between tw o sweethearts, one rich, one poor. The second melody (also sung by Mrs. Anna Munch) employed is a 'Dragoon's Farewell' before setting out for the wars. The third is a very archaic religious song entitled 'The Shoemaker from Jerusalem' (magnificently sung by Mrs. Evald Tang Kristensen, the wife of the collector). The final ditty, 'Hubby and Wifey' (tellingly and wittily sung by Jens Christian Jensen, of Albæk, Herning, Jutland) is a quarrelling duet in which the wife finally brings her obstreperous husband to his senses by means of a spinning spindle skilfully applied to his head.[Grainger here reproduces the substance of his 1928 program notes for Jutish Medley indicated above, under our separate listing for this number. The text runs "In 1905 I met Hjalmar Thuren (whose masterly work Folkesangen paa Færørne, Copenhagen, 1908...).... should be put within reach of music-lovers in forms fitted for home-music and the concert-hall." (Ed.)]

* * *

"[1] THE POWER OF LOVE Kjaerligheds Styrke). Danish Folk-Music Settings No. 2.[Versions for voice and piano, and for voice, cello and piano, also given as Danish Folk-Music Settings No. 4; see below. (Ed.)] Set for Elastic Scoring (fro m 4 single instruments up to Full Orchestra). Set Sept. 3-6, 1922. Scoring slightly revised, August, 1941. Yule-gift to the memory of my beloved mother, Dec. 1922.

"Possible Combinations:

4 or more single instruments: Violin I, Cello, Piano, Harmonium (Wooden Marimba, Pipe or Electric Organ at will);

12 or more single instruments: Clarinet, Bass-clarinet, Bassoon I, Trumpet (or Soprano Saxophone) I, Horn I, Piano, Harmonium, 5 or more Strings (Wooden Marimba, Pipe or Electric Organ at will);

String Orchestra, Piano and Pipe (or Electric) Organ (Wooden Marimba, Harmonium at will);

Full Orchestra, Piano and Pipe (or Electric) Organ (Wooden Marimba, Harmonium at will).

"N.B. In orchestral performances the full effect of this movement can be realised only when a harmonium (or reed organ) is used to accompany the passages for single instruments (bars 1-30, 42-51) and an organ (pipe or electric) is used to accom pany the passage for massed instruments (bars 31-51). But if (in orchestral performances) a harmonium (or reed organ) is unobtainable the organ may be used throughout, playing not only all passages in large notes marked 'Organ', but also all passages in s mall notes marked 'Harmonium' (in the case of the latter using only nasal, small-toned, harmonium-like stops). In room-music combinations harmonium (reed organ) may be used with, or without, organ.

"N.B. All the instruments in this score may be played singly (one instrument to a part) or massed (except where marked 'singly'). In massed performances substitute instruments may be played together with the original ones (Baritone Saxophones a s well as Bassoons; Alto Saxophones as well as Horns; Soprano Saxophones as well as Trumpets; Tenor Saxophones as well as Trombones.)

"[Headnote:] Slowly flowing, intensely.

"[2] LORD PETER'S STABLE-BOY (Hr. Peders Stalddreng). Danish Folk-Music Settings No. 1. Set for Elastic Scoring (from 4 single insruments up to massed orchestra). Set and reworked, Sept., 1922, July 1923, Sept.-Oct. 1925, Spring 1927.

For single instruments: Violin, 'Cello, Piano (2-hand or 4-hand) and Harmonium (to which may be added any or all of the following; Violin II, Viola, Basss, Bb Clarinet, Bb Trumpet or Bb Soprano Saxophone, F or Eb Horn or Eb Alto Saxophone, Trombone or Euphonium or Bb Tenor Saxophone, Kettle-drums).

For massed instruments: String Orchestra, massed Pianos (2- or 4-hand) and Pipe-Organ or massed Harmoniums (to which may be added any or all of the following, singly or massed; Bb Clarinet, Bb Soprano Saxophone, Eb Alto Saxophone, Bb Tenor Saxophone, Bb Trumpet, F or Eb Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Kettle-drums, Cymbal, Bells).

"[Headnote:] Trudgingly, not too fast.

"[3] THE NIGHTINGALE AND THE TWO SISTERS (Nattergalen og de to Søstre) [See Mus. Exam. 23]. Danish Folk-Music Settings No. 10. Set for Elastic Scoring (from 3 single instruments up to full orchestra or military band). Set: Summer, 1923-April, 1930.

3 or more instuments: Violin, Cello, Piano (Pipe-Organ or Harmonium, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Double-bass ad lib.).

4 or more instruments: Clarinet, Horn or Alto Saxophone, Bassoon or Baritone Saxophone, Pipe-Organ or Harmonium (Flute, Oboe, Trumpet or Soprano Saxohone, Piano, Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Double-bass ad lib.).

String orchestra & pipe-organ (or massed harmoniums, or piano): Use Complete Set of String Parts, Pipe-Organ or Harmonium, Piano.

Symphony orchestra & pipe-organ (or massed harmoniums, or piano): Use Complete Set of Orchestral Parts.

Military band & pipe-organ (or massed harmoniums, or piano): Use Complete Set of Military Band Parts.

"[Headnote:] Slow & Wayward.

"[4] JUTISH MEDLEY (Jysk Sammenpluk) on Danish Folk-songs gathered in Jutland. Danish Folk-Music Settings No. 9.[Version for piano solo also given as Danish Folk-Music Settings No. 3; for 2 pianos/6 hands as Danish Folk-Music Settings No. 8. (Ed.)]

"Choice of combinations for Jutish Medley Elastic Scoring:

A. Two pianos. 6 hands: Piano I for 4 hands (1st and 2nd pianists). Piano II for 2 hands (3rd pianist); to which may be added Harmonium or Pipe Organ and any other instruments from the Complete Set.

B. Room music (single instruments): As Piano I (4 hands) and Piano II (1 hands) are complete together almost any room-music blend is possible by adding any few instruments of the Complete Set (if possible including Harmonium) to the 2 pianos. T he following blend, without Piano II, is recommended: Piano I (4 hands), Harmonium or Pipe Organ, Flute I, Clarinet I, Trumpet I or Soprano Saxophone I, Horn I or Alto Saxophone I, Violin I, Cello, (Oboe I, Bass-clarinet, Bassoon II, Harp, Celesta or Dulc itone, Xylophone, Violin II, Viola, Double-bass ad lib.).

C. Massed pianos (pipe organ or massed harmoniums ad lib.): Pianos (playing Piano I and Piano II parts in equal proportions) may be massed to any extent--the more the mellower. If massed Harmoniums are used they should be massed to th e same extent as either of the piano parts. Any of the other orchestral instruments may be added, singly or massed.

D. Small orchestra, or symphony orchestra, or massed orchestra: Use any or all of the parts of the Complete Set in any proportions, as long as a good balance of tone is preserved. Wind parts may be played singly, or doubled or trebled. The Harm onium part may be played on a single harmonium, or on massed harmoniums, or on Pipe Organ. With a large orchestra 3 or more pianos should play Piano I part. If the orchestra is complete, or nearly so, Piano II should not be used; but if any of the most im portant wind, percussion or string parts are weak or missing Piano II may be used to support or replace them. The string parts may be massed to any extent.

N.B. The same orchestral parts (those of the Complete Set) are available for all of the above combinations. In all combinations the cues (small notes) of all missing instruments should be played.

"[Headnote:] Allegro moderato (come marcia commodo)."

Additional notes on version for orchestra

"The musical experiences of a composer's childhood are often worthy of consideration when assessing his adult creative output--and it is no exception in the case of Percy Grainger. His mother would often sing her infant son to sleep to the songs of Stephen Foster[See Tribute to Foster, below. (Ed.)] and this induced in him a life-long love of this irrepressible American tunesmith whose melodic directness and warmth Grainger successfully emulated. Although Grainger's Melbourne upbringing wa s almost severely godless ('My grandmother was an atheist and I was never taught enough religion to harm a cat'), his perambulations often took him past local churches from which would boom the throbbing sounds of harmonium, choir and four-square Victoria n hymns. Grainger therefore never associated church music with being bored as many children do, on the contrary, he found it 'bright and glorious'. The fusing of these early experiences and the later folk-song influences (imbibed many years before he met Grieg) helped to form Grainger's special feeling for melody. Grainger embraced Danish folk-music in 1905 when he was introduced to the works of Evald Tang Kristensen, a pioneer collector working in Jutland. Tang Kristensen began collecting in the 1 860s and was always uncompromising in his attention to the minutiae of the folk-singer's art, noting the personal idiosyncrasies in rhythmic irregularity, ornament and modal scales which had their roots in the Middle Ages. Danish academics simply rejected his findings as 'wrongly noted' and subjected it to a campaign of relentless scorn and vilification. It was only the stubborn advocacy of Hjalmar Turen (the Faeroe Island folk-lorist) and later of Percy Grainger that restored Tang Kristensen to his right ful place in Denmark's musical history. When Grainger and Tang Kristensen collected Jutish folk-songs in the 1920s with a phonograph, the former was astonished to find his material almost note-for-note identical to that collected by Tang Kristensen more t han fifty years before. The Danish Folk-Music Suite [aka Suite on Danish Folksongs] gives us orchestral arrangements of some of the best songs collected in these fruitful expeditions. It is also a striking example of Grainger's 'Elastic Scor ing', an innovation of his whereby the conductor is offered a choice from an almost endless variety of instrumental combinations. The augmented full symphony orchestra version offers the following optional extras: bass clarinet, double bassoon, members of the saxophone family, tuba, pipe organ, piano, harmonium, two harps, several sorts of bells, wooden marimba, vibraharp and so on. The score is set out with Grainger's unique form of condensed notation with all the transposing instruments at actual pitch and the staves bristling with the most meticulous graphic directions in English, such as 'Leisurely trudging', 'Rollickingly' and 'Slightly slower, more waywardly'. One is tempted to ask why Grainger's habit of using his native tongue in this fashion and thus challenging the hegemony of the Italian language often causes us to smile whereas Mahler's, Schumann's and even Beethoven's attempts to do exactly the same do not?"--John Bird (Shore).

"The Danish Folk Music Suite was completed in 1928 and is based on Danish Folksongs collected by Grainger during the previous five years. It is scored for orchestra with extensive parts for piano and organ.... "Grainger's method o f combining the two songs ['The Nightingale' and 'The Two Sisters', in movement 3,] to make one piece shows his amazing skill in working with folk material. [In this number], after a gentle start with solo instruments in 'Room Music' style, the full orche stra provides a rich conclusion. The movement is dedicated to Herman Sandby, a Danish cellist and a close friend of Grainger."--John Hopkins (Orchestral 4).

Version for band (transcr.by Joseph Kreines, 1980-81)

"[The composer's Suite on Danish Folksongs,], along with the collection of numerous folk-tunes, was the major result of Grainger's trip to Denmark in 1922 and 1927. It reveals yet another aspect of Grainger's great talent for folk-music setting .

[Number] 1. A poignant, bittersweet melody set with great rhapsodic intensity. Requires a solo pianist, soprano saxophone (cued into trumpet) and sensitive and delicate woodwinds.

[Number] 2. An energetic dance-song cast in 7-bar phrases, which Grainger has set with his customary harmonic and contrapuntal ingenuity, and which builds to an exciting and vigorous climax. Technically not difficult, except for the very importa nt piano 4-hands part.

[Number] 3. An especially lovely setting of two different songs which Grainger has put together to form a work that is gentle and passionate by turns.

[Number] 4. This is one of Grainger's most elaborate and ambitious settings, using four contrasting songs from Jutland as its basis. The first ('Choosing the Bride') is in moderate march-tempo; the second ('The Dragoon's Farewell') a lush, flowi ng melody; the third ('The Shoemaker from Jerusalem') slow and rhapsodic; the fourth ('Husband and Wife') lively and brilliant. The transcription requires full-band instrumentation, including an important part for piano 4-hands."--Joseph Kreines (G SJ IV/2; Unknown).

THE POW'R OF LOVE (KJAERLIGHEDENS STYRKE)--versions for voice, cello & piano; for voice and piano

Danish Folk-Music Settings No. 4

"It is doubtful that there is any tree that has been mentioned in more songs or inspired more lyrics than the willow. The 'weeping willow' with its flowing branches is the subject of countless folk-song laments and appears in the works of many of the greatest writers and composers.

"Shakespeare incorporated an extant Willow Song into his Othello (Percy Grainger has made a setting of it), and one of the most beautiful of all is Verdi's own 'Salce, salce (Willow, willow)', in his opera Otello.

"The first verses of the Danish folk-song Kjaerlighedens Styrke relate the story--somewhat reminiscent of 'Romeo and Juliet'--of two young lovers whose families fall to feuding with each other. After much open strife and, final ly, several deaths, peace and quiet return to the pastoral scene. In the most subtle way, the poem shifts from the narrative to imagery which suggests that man comes, man goes. Nature goes on and, in healing the scars that man makes upon the earth, inspires man to heal his own wounds.

"Grainger is not concerned with the narrative of the two lovers, and sets only the last verse (which he repeats). It is the grandeur of the gently-rolling, green and wind-swept Danish countryside that he seeks to evoke. In his treatment, ru ral Denmark on the one hand, and the irresistible tide of love, on the other, are conveyed majestically....

"Grainger writes: 'Love's sway is firm and ruthless. The tune and words of 'Kjaerlighedens Styrke' seemed to me to match my soul-seared mood of that time--my new born awareness of the doom-fraught undertow that lurks in all deep love.'"--Rolf Stang.

"1921 was to be Rose Grainger's last birthday; she committed suicide on April 10, 1922. In her memory Grainger composed The Power of Love....

"Grainger changed his mind several times over the numbering of his Danish Folk-Music Settings. The Power of Love was initially numbered DFMS 1, then changed to DFMS 2. This latter number was assigned to the published el astic version and, according to Teresa Balough's Complete Catalogue, the original version was renumbered DFMS 4. The vioce and piano manuscript is unnumbered. [In the edition Percy Grainger: Thirteen Folksongs] it is denoted as DF MS 4, to underline its concordance with the original and its difference from the elastic setting."--David Tall (Songs).


"In 1922, the veteran Danish folksong collector Evald Tang Kristensen and Percy himself took down 'The Nightingale' and 'The Two Sisters' in Jutland. The next year Percy combined them as the third movement of his Suite on Danish Folksong s for 'elastic scoring' (Percy's invention to allow a work to be adapted to available instrumental resources). Percy then 'dished-up' this movement for piano in 1949. It was always his practice to render a composition in a variety of instrumental arran gements. He marks the piece 'slow and wayward' but cannot resist his compulsion to dictate each rhythmic nuance, and sprinkles the page with fermatas."--Joseph Smith.


Version for solo piano

[Edition published by Schott & Co., 1911. (Ed.)]

British Folk-Music Settings Nr. 2

Grainger: "By kind permission of Miss Lucy E. Broadwood. Begun 1905, ended 1911. The tune was noted by Miss Lucy E. Broadwood at Lyne, near Horsham (Sussex), in 1880 and 1881 from the singing of Christmas Mummers called 'Tipteers' or 'Tipteerers' duri ng their play of 'St. George, the Turk, and the seven champions of Christendom'. See English Traditional Songs and Carols (Boosey & Co.) by Lucy E. Broadwood, pp. 80 and 122, and Journal of the Folk-Song Society, vol. ii, No. 7, p. 128.

"The Tune, printed in big notes, should throughout be brought out with a rich piercing tone and heard well above the accompanying parts.

"[Headnote:] Slowish, but flowing.

"The words sung to the Carol contain, among others, the following verses (which may be used in programs, at will):

O mortal man, remember well
When Christ our Lord was born;
He was crucified betwixt two thieves,
And crownèd with the thorn.

O mortal man, remember well
When Christ died on the rood;
It was for we and our wickedness
Christ shed His precious blood.

God bless the mistress of this house
With a gold chain round her breast;
It's whether she sleeps, or whether she wakes,
Lord send her soul to rest.

God bless the master of this house
With happiness beside;
It's whether he walks, or whether he rides,
Lord Jesus be his guide.

God bless your house, your children too,
Your cattle and your store;
The Lord increase you day by day,
And send you more and more.

"For the full words, and charming variants of them, their sources, and other notes see the two books named [above]."

"Like the Irish Tune from County Derry, The Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol takes the main tune and places it in the middle of the texture. The composer, pianist and Grainger expert Ronald Stevenson has pointed out that this is exactl y how the main vocal line is treated in negro singing. Stevenson goes on to suggest that the harmony of negro singing influenced Grainger's attitude towards keyboard texture 'which means that not only his phrasing and articulation were based on folk perfo rmance but so was his harmonic thinking."--John Pickard (Piano 3).

Version for cello (or violin) and piano

British Folk-Music Settings No. 17

"Grainger's dedication was 'For my friend Herman Sandby, in happy memory of joys in 1905'. Writing about the piece later, Grainger acknowledged the influence of Brahms in the glowing harmonies."--John Bishop.

Version for band (completed & scored by Richard Franko Goldman, 1965)

"Difficulty: medium.

"This beautiful, expressive melody has been harmonized by Grainger with richly-voiced, wide-spaced chords and interesting contrapuntal lines. Though technically not difficult in all parts, the tempo is very slow and demands great control by both playe rs and conductor, and the balancing of subordinate voices to the main melody requires great care."--Joseph Kreines (GSJ IV/2).

"Goldman originally suggested to Grainger that he arrange The Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol for his band. [He] undertook the completion and scoring after Grainger's death in 1961."--James Westbrook.

Version for SAATBarB choir a capella (arr. by Dana Perna)

[Published by Bardic Edition (UK) / Ludwig Music (USA), 1990. (Ed.)]

"This arrangement was completed in Syosset, New York on the 1st August, 1989. A piano reduction has been supplied for rehearsal purposes only. If an instrument should be needed to support the voices, then the use of the harmonium would be suitable, an d in keeping with Grainger's love of this particular instrument.

"Reference to or notation of 'gliding tones' are not to be found in this arrangement. Grainger employed 'gliding tones' in many of his choral settings, most notably in Irish Tune from County Derry and his Australian Up-Country Tune [but not here]. If choral directors wish to add 'gliding tones' ad lib.--as Grainger would have said--that is an option they may [choose]. The ommission of 'gliding tones' [in the present version reflects] the nature of the original piano setting. This is one of Grainger' most reverent and heartfelt settings, which never causes disfigurement to the original tune. In Grainger's own piano roll performance, we can hear the singing quality to which his expressive indications allude (all of which have been transferred to this version).

"It should be noted that the piano version is in too low a key for voices and therefore this arrangement has been transposed up a tri-tone from the original. Due to Grainger's harmonization, certain leaps occurred in the transfer from one idiom to the other. Leaps of an octave which must sound smooth and 'rich' are not as difficult to play on the piano as they may be to sing. There are many places where Grainger makes use of the major second interval. These must be in pitch and properly balanced or el se the performance will sound a bit more 'tone clashful' than Grainger had intended.

"On the first page of Irish Tune from County Derry, Grainger states that the choir should sing 'ah' or any comfortable vowel throughout. To sing 'ah' all the way through this arrangement is an option the choral direction may take. Such vowel so unds as 'oo', 'ah', 'um' and humming as are found in this setting have been given as a suggestion for tone colors a choir may wish to use. This may give the performance more tonal variety and life. The singers may wish to breathe at will as a way of maint aining the sustained lines.

"It should be mentioned that Grainger's other setting of this [work] for violin or cello solo and piano is marked to be played at a slower tempo than this one--at eighth note = 80-92. The choral director may want to take this into consideration . In measures five and sixteen, this is indicated (p). This does not mean that those voices are to be 'soft'; it is merely an indication to 'hold back' those voices and their 'tone strands' from obscuring the main tune. As Grainger had instructed i n his piano solo version: 'The tune should be brought out with a rich piercing tone and heard well above the accompanying parts'."--Dana Perna.

'THERE WAS A PIG WENT OUT TO DIG' or 'Christmas Day in the Morning'--chorus

[Edition for chorus and piano (practice only) publ. by Schott & Co., 1915. (Ed.)]

British Folk-Music Settings Nr. 18

Grainger: "English playing song collected in Lancashire and published in Miss M. H. Mason's Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs, freely set for 4-part women's, or children's, or both's, chorus or for four single voices. Set 10.5.1905. Re scored and shortened 11.5.1910.

"The traditional tune from Miss Mason's book on which this setting is based runs as follows (Mus. Exam. 24, below).

"All the rest of the musical material (bars 62-83, for instance) is added by Percy Aldridge Grainger.

"The words of verses 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 are traditional from Miss Mason's Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs. "The words of verses 3 and 9 are added by Percy Aldridge Grainger."

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