Another Percy Grainger admirer
Art Christenson | Elk Grove Village, IL United States | 02/08/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been listening to and fascinated by classical music since college (I'm 57 now ) when I needed an 'easy A' and took a course in 'Music Appreciation'. Yet, I had never heard of Percy Grainger until just two years when I took a stab in the dark and bought a CD through BMG Classical Music called "Percy Grainger - In a Nutshell" (City of Birmingham Sym Orch, Simon Rattle conducting). What a brilliant and fanciful composer; an Australian who used (arranged) folk songs and ethnic tunes from the entire English speaking world - with marches the equal of Elgar and dances on a par with Liszt and Dvorak. But enough name dropping. Listen to any cut in any CD in the currently produced series called "The Grainger Edition" and I guarantee that the world will seem to be a much mellower and more friendly place. Grainger's compositions will go all long way with anyone's search for contentment through music."
Special versions (for Stokowski) of Grainger favorites
Kevin Lash | Princeton, NJ | 10/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
The Warriors may be the highlighted item on this disc, but I was blown away by the "versions for Stokowski" of seven Grainger pieces (mostly the great chestnuts) -- both the arrangements and the performances are fantastic! The composer made several versions of each, for strings, full orchestra, wind band, etc.; these Stokowski commissions are perhaps the most interesting. "Room music tidbits" Mock Morris and Handel in the Strand are here, but the other five (folk-music settings) make an especially outstanding set. The beautiful Irish Tune from County Derry and Early One Morning complement the sprightly Molly on the Shore, the somewhat wacky Country Gardens (*very* different from the well-known arrangement), and Shepherd's Hey with an ending that knocks you off your seat."
Matthew Elias | CA | 07/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The sixth disc of the Grainger Edition has all five "fripperies" Molly, Shepherds, Country, Mock, and Handel, with maybe the best versions of Shepherds Hey! and Mock Morris. This Country Gardens is a little slow for me and it's very similar to the Band version but I like it cause the Trumpet goes all out on his parts. But these pieces are contrasted by some of Grainger's least known works, i.e. Youthful Suite and The Warriors. Youthful suite is great, especially because he wrote it when he was 17. Doesn't get your blood really going like Molly on the Shore or Danish Folk Music Suite but it'd be nice to read to or listen to while writing. Warriors is in your face in the beginning and end and really quiet in the middle. It uses one of his best themes from Arrival Platform Humlet and the climax is awesome at the end. The middle section has a nice use of offstage brass which is going with the main melodies frantically but quietly while the strings play really smooth long notes. Also on this disc is the most traditional and classically beautiful versions of Irish Tune and also a full and beautiful version of Early one Morning, I always picture getting up really early in the morning and watching the sun rise and there's a moment when it switches from minor to major and it's like the Sun first appearing, glorious! This disc could be a good intro to Grainger, it's not the best of the Grainger Edition but that still means it rocks most other Grainger discs and other CD's in general."