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Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, November 2018

The third and final disc announces itself with The Lads of Wamphray March. This, we are told, was Grainger’s first large work for wind band. Parts of it recall Bax’s First Northern Ballad. Then comes The Power of Rome and the Christian Heart; such a title. One of his last compositions for wind orchestra… The instrumentation adopted here is tangy with parts notated for harps, pianos, ‘tuneful percussion’ and ‘pipe or electric organ’. For the latter he had in mind a Hammond organ using plenty of vibrato. © 2018 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2018

The final edition in Percy Grainger’s complete music for wind band comes with some of his finest compositions in this genre, including A Lincolnshire Posy. More often than not Grainger presented each of his works in versions for differing groups of instruments, and those originally written for wind band were few. As he said, when unable to meet a wind band commission, ‘as it takes me about 20 years to finish a tone-work, the best thing I could do was to fix up my Power of Rome so it could be played without strings’. So skilful was he at the craft of arranging, you would assume this powerful score—to which he added an organ—is an original for wind band. Throughout the series, the conductor, Bjarte Engeset, has insisted in using the scoring originally asked for, the Hill-Song No.1, which Grainger always thought of as one of his finest scores, asked for two flutes, six oboes, six English horns, six bassoons and double bassoon. When heard in that format it still sounds very modern more than a hundred years after its composition. The disc also contains one of his most famous works that exists in many guises—A Lincolnshire Posy—in six ‘movements’ that are taken directly from original folk songs, many of which Grainger took down with the aid of an early recording machine. In its wind band version it has a rustic flavour, though the composer was guilty of often creating something quite powerful out of a simple song. That he enjoyed arranging music of composers from yesteryear comes in three works that belong to ‘Early Music’, though in every case he retains much of the feeling of the original score. Opening with a rousing The Lads of Wamphray March, the discs makes a fitting conclusion to a series of discs that have been both pleasing and illuminating, the playing throughout of the highest order, while the well-balanced recording has captured the ‘open air’ quality that was a feature of Grainger’s music. © 2018 David’s Review Corner





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