Saturday, March 5, 2016

Lincolnshire Posy

Australian-born composer Percy Aldridge Grainger wrote Lincolnshire Posy based on folk tunes he gathered in Lincolnshire, England. In 1987 this monumental setting of six folksongs was edited and assembled by world-renowned maestro Frederick Fennell with detailed and precise markings and musical annotations. Grainger’s musical language was unique, not only in his fascinating orchestration and harmonization, but also in the specific instructions in his own vernacular. Each movement contains directives such as “clingingly” [tenuto], “lilt” [con spirito], “louden” [crescendo], and “quicken” [accelerando]. (Source: JRO)
“Percy Grainger described his six-movement Lincolnshire Posy as ‘a bunch of musical wildflowers’. He worked hard to preserve the originality of folk songs by recording and taking notes on individual performances which he sought out in their natural habitat among sailors, peasants, and other spontaneous performers. ‘Plenty of lilt’ is his requirement for playing Lisbon. Horkstow Grange, or ‘The Miser and His Man, a local Tragedy’, is formed with the accent shifting throughout, yet never losing its flowing style. Rufford Park Poachers is the most complex of the settings. Its lead is set by piccolo in high register, with solo clarinet in unison three octaves lower. The tune is accompanied by itself in canon, played by E-flat clarinet and bass clarinet. In sprightly contrast is The Brisk Young Sailor, with its effective woodwind writing. The final approach has some startling passages, marked to be played ‘angrily’. Lord Melbourne (War Song) is in free-time phrases written out without bar lines. The Lost Lady Found, the most conventional setting of all the movements in the suite, is written in a fast but sturdy one-in-a-bar.” —Eric Banks, quoted in A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger by Thomas P. Lewis