Salute to Percy Grainger

Salute to Percy Grainger
Benjamin Britten; Steuart Bedford; John Eliot Gardiner
Catalogue No.

A composer with an extraordinary ear for sonority, original in his outlook, sometimes misunderstood, now revered, Percy Grainger is one of Australia’s most unique sons, and, in the words of Sir Peter Pears, one of its “most independent and single-minded spirits”. Many of these recordings, of vocal and chamber orchestra pieces, were made by Decca in 1968 and 1972 and issued, together with a 1927 recording of Grainger playing his Country Gardens and of Peter Pears and Osian Ellis performing Six Dukes wenta-fishin’ in two volumes, with the title Salute to Percy Grainger. The title is retained for this anthology and to it is added Sir John Eliot Gardiner’s Deutsche Grammophon recording of The Warriors, presenting nearly two hours of some of Grainger’s finest utterances in some of their earliest (and best) performances to be captured on record. Ten of these items [CD2: 1-10] make their first appearance on CD.

The performers are a Who’s Who of great Decca artists. Benjamin Britten and Steuart Bedford share the conducting duties on the Decca recordings, and the vocalists include Sir Peter Pears, Anna Reynolds and John Shirley-Quirk, together with the Ambrosian Singers and the Wandsworth Boys’ Choir. The notes are written by celebrities too – Sir Peter Pears and Grainger scholar, John Bird – and include affectionate reminiscences. Complete song texts are included.


CD 1
1 Shepherd’s Hey
2 Willow Willow
3 I’m seventeen come Sunday
4 Bold William Taylor
5 There was a pig went out to dig
6 My Robin is to green wood gone
7 Lord Maxwell’s goodnight
8 The ‘Duke of Marlborough’ fanfare
9 Let’s dance gay in green meadow
10 Scotch Strathspey and Reel
11 Two songs: The pretty maid milkin’ her cow ∙ The sprig of thyme
12 Lisbon
13 The Lost lady found
14 Shallow Brown
15 Molly on the shore
16 Shenandoah
17 Danny Boy
18 Brigg Fair
19 Green bushes

CD 2:
1 Under a bridge
2 Dollar and a half a day
3 The merry king
4 Six Dukes went a-fishin’
5 Stormy
6 The three ravens
7 Died for love
8 Country gardens
9 The power of love
10 The hunter in his career
Peter Pears, tenor
Anna Reynolds, mezzo-soprano
John Shirley Quirk,
Ambrosian Singers
Wandsworth Boys Choir
Linden Singers

Benjamin Britten, Steuart Bedford, conductors

11 The Warriors
Philharmonia Orchestra / John Eliot Gardiner

Recording information

Recording Producers: Ray Minshull (CD 1: 1-19, CD 2: 1-7, 9-10); Lennart Dehn (The Warriors)
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, Stanley Goodall (CD 1: 1-14); Kenneth Wilkinson, John Dunkerley (CD 1: 15-19, CD 2: 1-7, 9-10); Rainer Millard, Jobst Eberhardt, Stephan Flock (The Warriors)
Recording Locations: The Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, UK, December 1968 (CD 1: 1-14), November 1972 (CD 1: 15-19, CD 2: 1-3, 5-7, 9-10), March 1976 (CD 2: 4); unknown location, May 1927 (CD1: 8); All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, UK, February 1994 (The Warriors)


* * * ‘This is an altogether delightful anthology, beautifully played and recorded by these distinguished artists … the recording is an extremely good one’ Penguin Guide

‘the enchantments remain … will surely give pleasure’ Gramophone