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Scandinavian Suite for cello and piano

Percy Grainger (b. 1882 - d. 1961)

Andreas Brantelid

Andreas Brantelid

Composer
Percy Grainger (b. 1882 - d. 1961)
Composition Year
1902
Work Movements
1. Swedish Air and Dance
2. Song of the Vermeland (Swedish)
3. Norwegian Polka
4. Danish melody
5. Air and Finale on Norwegian Dances
Artists
Andreas Brantelid [cello], José Gallardo [piano]

Programme Note Writer:
© Ian Fox

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Grainger was often called the “wild boy” of music in his day. A remarkable eccentric, he was a keen hiker and athlete, but also a brilliant and highly successful concert pianist and an important folk-music collector.  He lived in London at the start of the 20th century and then moved to New York; his marriage to a Swedish poet took place during a concert in the Hollywood Bowl in 1928. His compositions are largely arrangements of folk music with his version of Country Gardens achieving enormous success and earning him a fortune, though he came to loathe the piece.

At the start of the 20th century he travelled around Scandinavia extensively and made a valuable collection of local melodies, but the five tunes in this Suite are from an earlier time and were given to him by a fellow student, the Danish cellist Herman Sandby, when they were at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt [1895-1901]; they would play it many times in later years. The Suite was published by Schott in Germany in 1902 when Grainger was just 20; the arrangements are simple and appealing. The first opens with a wistful slow melody into which a lively dance breaks; the opening air is then repeated with some darker hues. The second song from Vermeland in Sweden presents a soulful, broad melody and was a frequent encore for Grainger as a solo piano piece at his recitals; it became independently popular with pianist Billy Mayerl who arranged it as Song of the Fir Tree, which he frequently played in the 1920s and 30s. Norwegian Polka is a sprightly, tongue-in-cheek arrangement, while the  Danish Melody is not folk music but was written by H.E.Krøyer  in 1835 and is the Danish National Anthem Der er yndigt land  (There is a lovely country). Another slow, wistful melody launches the final movement, the cello then introduces a sparkling Norwegian spring dans  which is worked up into a colourful climax.

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Scandinavian Suite for cello and piano

Composer: Percy Grainger (b. 1882 - d. 1961)
Performance date: Wednesday 2nd July 2014
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Percy Grainger (b. 1882 - d. 1961)
Work Title Scandinavian Suite for cello and piano
Composition Year 1902
Work Movements 1. Swedish Air and Dance
2. Song of the Vermeland (Swedish)
3. Norwegian Polka
4. Danish melody
5. Air and Finale on Norwegian Dances
Artist(s) Andreas Brantelid [cello], José Gallardo [piano]
Performance Date Wednesday 2nd July 2014
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Recital Series
Duration 00:15:23
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTE
Instrumentation Category Duo
Instrumentation vc, pf
Programme Note Writer © Ian Fox

Born in Melbourne, Australia, Grainger was often called the “wild boy” of music in his day. A remarkable eccentric, he was a keen hiker and athlete, but also a brilliant and highly successful concert pianist and an important folk-music collector.  He lived in London at the start of the 20th century and then moved to New York; his marriage to a Swedish poet took place during a concert in the Hollywood Bowl in 1928. His compositions are largely arrangements of folk music with his version of Country Gardens achieving enormous success and earning him a fortune, though he came to loathe the piece.

At the start of the 20th century he travelled around Scandinavia extensively and made a valuable collection of local melodies, but the five tunes in this Suite are from an earlier time and were given to him by a fellow student, the Danish cellist Herman Sandby, when they were at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt [1895-1901]; they would play it many times in later years. The Suite was published by Schott in Germany in 1902 when Grainger was just 20; the arrangements are simple and appealing. The first opens with a wistful slow melody into which a lively dance breaks; the opening air is then repeated with some darker hues. The second song from Vermeland in Sweden presents a soulful, broad melody and was a frequent encore for Grainger as a solo piano piece at his recitals; it became independently popular with pianist Billy Mayerl who arranged it as Song of the Fir Tree, which he frequently played in the 1920s and 30s. Norwegian Polka is a sprightly, tongue-in-cheek arrangement, while the  Danish Melody is not folk music but was written by H.E.Krøyer  in 1835 and is the Danish National Anthem Der er yndigt land  (There is a lovely country). Another slow, wistful melody launches the final movement, the cello then introduces a sparkling Norwegian spring dans  which is worked up into a colourful climax.