Record Reviews On the records of the week, Percy Grainger, one of the most original composers of the 20th century, in addition to the best Bach for a long time

The multi-style production of Australian-based pianist-composer Percy Grainger comprises more than 500 titles.

Classic / album

The Complete Grainger Edition. Chandos. 21 discs. ★★★★★

Pianists and piano lovers are familiar with the phenomenon Percy Grainger (1882–1961). He gave a concert in Finland on November 11, 1913, and the reviews were at least appreciative.

The Helsinki City Orchestra performed Grainger’s music eight times in 1929–1961. Subsequently, it has probably been a half century of silence. Why is this and should it be different?

True to the miracle, for colliding with Grainger means to a hardened musician the same thing as finding a new continent. Percy Grainger is one of the most original composers of the first half of the 20th century. His huge, inspiring and multi-style production comprises 547 titles.

Characterizing Grainger’s music and personality doesn’t happen in an instant, as he was a man of paradoxes in both music and life, an opponent of conventions.

What should be said about a man who was a socialist, a democrat and a racist who admired everything “Nordic” in an almost proto-Nazi style? Or a “vegan” who didn’t like vegetables but ate dairy products, nuts, fruits and pastries?

Percy Graingerin the stages of life are likely to explain his profile. He was born in Australia and considered himself an Australian, although he did not live there since childhood.

At the age of 12, Grainger headed Rosewith his mother to the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt, where he studied from 1895 to 1901. There he broke away from the German compositional tradition, with the main exception JS Bach. Instead Edvard Grieg and Frederic Delius attracted.

To the aspiration fellow students participated Roger Quilter and Cyril Scottwho became his lifelong friend. Together they hated it Beethoven to lean towards Frenchness and exoticism.

Grainger rejected broad forms such as the quartet or the symphony and wanted to free England from the influence of the Mediterranean languages. The music for four was “four-some” and the chamber music was “room-music”. “Slacken” meant slowing down, “loudness” increasing volume.

In Germany he became acquainted Rudyard Kiplingin books and composed throughout his life 11-part Jungle Book Cycle. The appreciation of exotics, wild and original increased when Grainger next lived in London from 1901 to 14, where he began his career as a worshiped concert pianist and also Adelina Pattin and Nellie Melban partner.

He began collecting music from different peoples, often with the help of a phonograph. Over time, he published the collections Songs of the North, La Scandinavie, Four Irish Dances, Danish Folk Music Suite and British Folk Music.

Songs are not simple arrangements, but rhythmically addictive, harmoniously peculiar, and often pulling rallies. The most popular of these are Colonial Song, Country Gardens, Handel in the Strand, Irish Tune from County Derry, Molly on the Shore, Shepherd’s Hey and Spoon River.

Eucalyptus tree depicting Australian men sniffing leaves The Gum-Suckers’ March is joyful entertainment music, Gershwin before Gershwin. From the song Country Gardens became a mandatory encore and its sheet music sales were huge in the USA, where he moved in 1914 for the rest of his life.

For piano as part of a set In a Nutshell composed Pastorale is, in its harmonious experimentation and multilayer, one of Grainger’s finest achievements. These also include rhythmically unbridled In Dahomey, Cakewalk Smasher.

Very new represents wind music composed in this way Hill Song I “For room-music 22-some,” originally written for six piccolo, six oboe, six English horns, six bassoons, and a counter bassoon.

It is one of Grainger’s most complete works in the richness of his polyphony and the ingenuity of his tonal colors.

Orchestral works come to the fore Marching Song of Democracy, in the largest version of which the orchestra, organ and humming mixed choir proclaim the humanist message.

Graingerin the masterpiece is The Warriors, “Music for Imaginary Ballet” for orchestra and three pianos.

It is unique and wild in its invention.

In the composer’s vision, “the ghosts of male and female warriors of all times and places delve into the orgy of warlike dances, processions, and rejoicing, interrupted by loving interludes”.

Critic Choices: The best Bach for a long time

Classic / album

La Rêveuse. Earthly Angels.



Soprano Kajsa Dahlbäck Earthly Angels and their groups have dug into the French Baroque treasure. Her voice is perfect for delicate and decorative songs. JC de la Barren gentle sighing and Julie Pinelin the sadder songs vibrate with their emotional expression. J.-BD de Bousset’n Why, sweet nightingale to appease the whole in a conciliatory manner. Sometimes you get a meaningful playing by a gambist Heidi Peltoniemen and theorbisti Simone Vallerotondan presenting Marin Marais’n In the dream. Aapo Häkkinen solos Louis and François Couperinin the songs are a treat.

Classic / album

European Soirée. M. Lepistö (accordion), I. Laspas (piano, harpsichord). Crab Island. ★★★★

Rarely do you knowthat the accordion was used as an art instrument as early as the early 19th century. It played salon pieces, arrangements and potpourri of favorite tunes in cafes, hotels and restaurants. The earliest known solo composition is a Parisian maiden Louise Reisner variation Théme varié très brillant (1836). The accordion played solos and there is no exact information about the accompaniments.

With a great record for skillfully handling 1- and 3-row accordions Markku Lepistö accompany Ilpo Laspas joyfully colorful.

Classic / album

Franck: Organ works. Pétur Sakari (organ). BIS.


Pétur Sakarin the previous record contained French masterpiece software. Now it’s the real challenge, for César Franckin organ works represent the most complete organ romance. Here, too, one can shine, but above all, the maturity of the interpretations is asked. From the collection Trois Pièces find a suitable restraint skill until Pièce héroïque culminates heroically. It remains to taste how you experience the rest of the manuscript version that is different from the usual. In Franck’s last opus Trois Chorals the broad shapes breathe without haste and curve irresistibly.

Classic / aluminum

JS Bach: Clavier Übung III. Liisa Aaltola (organ). Alb. ★★★★★

Piano practice III (1739) on Bachin the greatest creations for organ. It is framed by a large prelude and fugue in E flat major, and of the 21 organ choruses that remain Liisa Aaltola plays 12 catechism choirs. He scatters an amazing richness of sound from the 20-sounding organ of Pirkkala Church, which he serves Mika Koivusalon multichannel recording. Aaltola has performed Bach’s entire organ production, which is part of style awareness, bold and inventive registrations. The flow of Prelud is rounded to euphoric fugue dance. The best Bach we have ever!

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