Grainger heard and unheard in a nice debut CD of an ongoing collection from Naxos
GRAINGER Complete Music for Wind Band, Vol. 1: Molly on the Shore, Country Gardens, Shepherd’s Hey – The Royal Norwegian Navy Band / Bjarte Ingest (Texts and translations included) – Naxos CD 8.573679 TT: 67:59 ****:
This is the first volume in a complete sequence of Percy Grainger’s music for wind band and it very closely follows Grainger’s instructions on performance and scoring, whether for Hammond organ, Swiss hand bells or steel marimba. Grainger wrote a series of Chosen Gems for Winds, which include beautiful transcriptions of music by composers such as Bach, Franck and Fauré. This first volume also contains some of his greatest and most joyous creations—the immortal Country Gardens, Shepherd’s Hey and Molly on the Shore, along with many more selections.
I’ve always been a fan of Grainger’s music, going back to my high school band days, where Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy was always a favorite.
Grainger’s music is always exuberant and emotive. The performance by the Royal Norwegian Navy Band is top notch, precise and energetic, just what Grainger’s music calls for.
Several of the works in this CD are world premiere recordings. Others are world premieres in Grainger’s original scoring. Along with all this rich treasure of new works, are the ones many of us know, like the aforementioned Molly on the Shore and Country Gardens.
Sound-wise, this is a very fine recording; detailed with a very nice stereo spread. Brass are not strident, and the bells and percussion instruments are well etched in the mix.
The microphones are rather close to the ensemble, but not unrealistically so. I would say the production choices well match Grainger’s style.
Highly recommended and I’m looking for more Grainger in this series.
Track list: (* denotes a premier recording)
Molly on the Shore (1907/1920) [3:39]
Bell Piece (ramble on Dowland’s ‘Now, O now I needs must part’)[version for voice and wind] (1953) [5:41]
Marching Song of Democracy (1917/1948)
O Mensch bewein’ dein’ Sünde groß, BWV 622 (J.S.BACH 1685-1750) [arr Grainger] (1937-42) [4:10] *
Let’s Dance Gay in Green Meadow (1905/1946) [2:27] *
Country Gardens (second version) (1908/1953) [1:56]
Six-part Fantasy and Air No 1 (W LAWES 1602-45) [arr Grainger] [6:52] *
Hill Song No 2 (1907) [5:02]
Folk-Tune, Op 38 No 1 (E GOOSSENS (1893-1962) [arr Grainger)(1942) [2:43]
Shepherd’s Hey (1908-13/1918) [2:04]
Walking Tune (1900-05/1940) [3:59]
Spoon River (1919-29; 1933) [4:06]
Down Longford Way (Katharine PARKER 1886-1971)[arr Grainger] (1935) [2:16]
Tuscan Serenade (Sérénade Toscane Op 3 No 2 – G FAURÉ 1845-1924)[ arr Grainger](1937) [2:48]
Chorale No 2 in B minor (C FRANCK 1822-90)[arr Grainger] (1942) [12:30]