Portrait of Percy Grainger

Portrait of Percy Grainger

Edited by Malcolm Gillies, David Pear


University of Rochester Press



A unique treatment of the key influences on the life of this important Australian composer, consisting of oral histories by people who knew Grainger, as well as reflections from his own writings.
Percy Grainger (1882-1961) was a pianist, composer, ethnographer, essayist, and much more. The Australian-American musician aspired to the condition of a polymath, with strong interests in language, culture, ecology and technology. In an age of increasing specialisation Grainger held to a breathless all-roundedness.
This book looks at the scrabbling diversity of Grainger's life through the eyes of others. Family and friends, pupils, musical associates and chance acquaintances recall their experiences of Percy Grainger from his boyhood in colonial Australia, through his conservatorium years in Germany, on to his early professional years in London, and further to the zenith of his career and then years of decline in the United States. In the final chapter, Grainger himself explains the driving passions of his life. Fifty illustrations, including architectural drawings, scores and machine plans, vividly depict the enthusiasms described in over ninety recollections of Grainger.
A composer of over four hundred compositions and virtuoso performer in some three thousand concerts, Grainger left a large legacy. He was an important influence upon the folk-song movement in Britain, and, through such masterworks as Lincolnshire Posy, he was enduringly popular with the band movement in America. On a personal level, his development of the language of "blue-eyed English" was stillborn, and his muscular style of pianism found few adherents among the next generation of performers. His frankly expressed views on sexual licence were also many decades ahead of their time. Today, however, Grainger the musician is again in the ascendant. His more innovative works are gaining a belated hearing, while his standards, such as Country Gardens, remain firm favorites.

Malcolm Gillies and David Pear are co-editors of Grainger on Music and 'The All-Round Man': Selected Letters of Percy Grainger, 1914-1961


February 2002
50 black and white illustrations
255 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580460873
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS015000, BIO004000, MUS050000
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Table of Contents

Australia, 1882-1895
Germany, 1895-1901
Britain, 1901-1914
America, 1914-1922
America, 1922-1939
America, 1939-1961
Grainger on Grainger


The editors of this volume have...skilfully avoided the familiar trap and have given us a rewarding, informative and -- wonder of wonders -- entertaining take on Percy Grainger, and we can but thank them warmly for it. DELIUS SOCIETY JOURNAL, Autumn 2002

There is a wealth of fascinating material here. This book is worth every penny and is a must for every Delian's library. THE DELIAN, October 2002

This is a delightful book. . . . What is remarkable about this book is its freshness: the vividness of Grainger's personality -- its originality, forcefulness, and impact seem undimmed by the passing of time. NOTES, JOURNAL OF THE MUSIC LIBRARY ASSOCIATION

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