PERCY GRAINGER (1882-1961): The Immovable Do, the Lonely Desert-Man Sees the Tents of the Happy Tribes, Arrangements: La Bel’Aronde (Claude Le Jeune [1528-1600]), Ballade No. 17 (Guillaume de Machaut [1300-1377]), Prelude and Fugue No. 5, Fugue No. 4 (J.S. Bach [1685-1750), The Four Note Pavan (Alfonso Ferrabosco II [1575-1628]), Når jola kjem in High Key and in Low Key (Sparre Olsen [1903-1984]), La Bernardina (Josquin Desprez [d.1521]), 5-Part Fantasy No. 15 (John Jenkins [1592-1678]), March (C.P.E. Bach [1714-1788]), 6-Part Fantasy (William Lawes [1602-1645]), Lisbon (Anon.), Angelus ad Virginem (Anon.).

Catalogue Number: 12R032

Label: Naxos

Reference: 8.573228

Format: CD

Price: $11.98

Description: Twentieth-century music's most endearing eccentric had a special place in his heart for the saxophone. With his idiosyncratic views on healthy outdoor-ness he was drawn to the wind instruments with their ability to project in the open air, and upon the outbreak of WWI he enlisted in the US Army Band, playing soprano saxophone (there exists a terrific photograph of him in uniform, posing with the instrument). He regarded the saxophone as the instrument most like the human voice, and appreciated that as a close-knit family of instruments there was potential for polyphonic playing of a wide range of repertoire by ensembles of different constitution. A musical polymath, his range of enthusiasms and expertise was very wide, and this is reflected in the range of music that he arranged for various saxophone groups, from medieval and renaissance polyphony (of which he attempted a kind of revival in collaboration with his friends Dom Anselm Hughes and Arnold Dolmetsch), Bach (whom he revered), via his extensive researches in folksong to his original compositions. So this nicely varied and appealing collection includes transcriptions of Machaut (whose clashing harmonies, strange to modern ears, would have appealed to Grainger on several levels), impressive, organ-like realizations of Ferrabosco, Josquin and Lawes, as well as Bach preludes and fugues; The Lonely Desert-man, a tune which Grainger recycled into The Warriors and Tribute to Foster; the English folksong Lisbon, better known in its full wind-band guise in Lincolnshire Posy, and other beautifully crafted arrangements all of which suit the unusual ensembles as though originally conceived for them. Joyce Griggs (saxophones), J. Michael Holmes, Phil Pierick, Jesse Dochnahl, Adam Hawsthorne, Drew Whiting, Ben Kenis, Adrianne Honnold (more saxophones), Casey Gene Dierlam (piano).

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