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Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, November 2018

Grainger’s transcription of Franck’s organ Chorale No. 2. Grainger pays respect and fidelity to the original so there are no wild cards. It shows that Stokowski learnt some of his transcribing art from Grainger or vice versa. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Barry Kilpatrick
American Record Guide, September 2018

GRAINGER, P.: Wind Band Music (Complete), Vol. 1 (Royal Norwegian Navy Band, Engeset) 8.573679
GRAINGER, P.: Wind Band Music (Complete), Vol. 2 (Royal Norwegian Navy Band, Engeset) 8.573680

Here are the first two of Naxos’s three-album Grainger Wind Band project. Given the wonders to be found in so many of the selections and the uniformly outstanding readings by the Norwegian Navy Band, it must have been challenging to decide where to begin.

All performances by the superb band are first-rate. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

James V. Maiello
Fanfare, July 2018

Grainger uses the band to do things not possible on an organ, such as complex phrasing among individual voices and independent dynamics. Engeset and the players are well attuned to this, and they make Franck’s work ebb and flow in a way it never could on an organ.

On the whole, this is a fine recording and it is particularly valuable in committing to disc recordings of Grainger’s original instrumentations. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Richard Hanlon
MusicWeb International, March 2018

…within the first five seconds of Molly on the Shore discerning listeners will know they are in for a treat: the Royal Norwegian Navy Band can definitely ‘do’ Grainger. The playing is crisp, fresh and fleet. It is patently obvious that Engeset is a convert—he shapes Molly so lovingly. There are some wonderful saxophone solos and thrilling percussion, in particular the dainty colours of the twinkling steel marimbaphone. The unassumingly titled Bell Piece (Grainger’s subtitle is more detailed and more, well, Grainger…) is incontrovertibly gorgeous. Here the Dowland song is most tenderly sung by the tenor Marius Roth Christensen over a gentle accompaniment, but following its rapt conclusion Grainger spins an extraordinary sonic web in an appendix with the most sublime part for Swiss hand bells that has probably ever been written…

The delightful Let’s Dance Gay in Green Meadow (Faeroe Island Dance) benefits from some superb percussion writing and some harmonies which sound as if they have been geographically transplanted from the Paris of Milhaud’s Le Boeuf sur le toit. The quasi-rhapsodic nature of the more extended Hill Song No 2 occasionally (and unsurprisingly) brings Delius to mind. Engeset’s notes remind us that Grainger was usually pernickety with good reason, here the soft reeds demanded, deliberately produce convincing bagpipe-like sonorities. Hill Song No 2 is one of Grainger’s most haunting inspirations. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review

James Manheim, February 2018

There is not a dull moment anywhere, and one excitedly awaits Vol. 2. © 2018 Read complete review

Lark Reviews, January 2018

A most unusual collection with more promised to follow. Grainger’s arrangements are often idiosyncratic with hand bells and Hammond organs to the fore—but always used to fine effect. Alongside many of his own compositions come arrangements of other composers’ works. Most interesting is the orchestration of Franck’s Second Chorale—normally an organ piece but here given a far wider range of texture and tone. This is a fascinating dive into unfamiliar territory and I look forward to further volumes. © 2018 Lark Reviews

Records International, January 2018

This new series will adhere strictly to Grainger’s instrumental demands, whether for Hammond organ, Swiss hand bells or steel marimbaphone (there are two world premieres and Let’s Dance Gay gets its first recording in the composer’s original scoring). © 2018 Records International

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