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Cat. No. CHAN 10455 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10455 - Grainger: Transcriptions for Wind Orchestra
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Available From: 01 March 2008
The eccentric Percy Grainger was well known for his musical arrangements that ranged from works by other composers as well as arrangements of his own original and folk music settings. These arrangements form a body of work which is perhaps unique in musical history. Most of the works on this CD are taken from a series Grainger named Chosen Gems for Winds

Grainger had a musical mind of unusual breadth and vision, with interests spanning the ages from mediaeval music to the latest twentieth century developments and had the vision to see this context of the wind orchestra setting. It is likely that enlisting in the American Army as a bandsman at the outbreak of World War I, cemented his interest in wind band music, along with an awareness of Stokowski’s Bach transcriptions. In compiling his works for Chosen Gems he took works prior to Bach, the earliest performed here being the 13th Century Angelus ad Virginem. Five further pre-Bach compositions are also performed including music by Antonio de Cabezon; Alfonso Ferrabosco II and Josquin des Pres. He also included works by J.S Bach – whose music played a central role in Grainger’s musical life, including a tenor aria from the 1725 Cantata ‘Ich bin ein gutter hirt’ (BVW 85) and the chorale prelude O Mensch, bewein’ dein’ Sunde Gross. Unlike Stokowski’s modern sounding Bach, Grainger manages to create a sound still very much of the original composer, but with expressive concept and colours, entirely Grainger’s. Complementing this early music, are several twentieth-century pieces by composers he particularly admired, including Fauré (a hero of Grainger’s), Goossens, Franck, Sandby and Liszt. The most ambitious and the longest arrangement is Grainger’s transcription of Chorale No.2 by Franck; one of Franck’s last compositions.

Performed by acknowledged leaders in the genre; the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra under Clark Rundell (who have previously recorded Grainger for wind orchestra on Chandos); ‘The Royal Northern Collegians show themselves to be in tune with Grainger’s quirky style’ (Fanfare on CHAN 9549).
Reviews

"I suspect that many of these works will find their way into the repertoire, and hope that they will be given equally warm recorded sound and winning performances as here."

Gramophone

"The performances from this student orchestra are sleek and warmly coloured, and Ukranian pianists Ivan Hovorum is a stylish soloist in the Liszt."

The Telegraph

"This is fascinating disc bringing together the brilliant wind transcriptions made by Percy Grainger between 1937 and 1959, some of the edited by Barry Peter Ould and recorded for the first time. He may have been quirky with his own music, but this is Grainger the scholar-poet finding wonderful sonorities for Machaut, Bach, John Jenkins, Faure, Goossens and Liszt among others. Ivan Hoverun is the pianist in Liszt’s Hungarian fantasy. The playing by the RNCM band is of professional standard and its conductor Clarke Randell finds the ideal spirit for each of the items."


The Sunday Telegraph

"This is the latest release in Chandos’s apparent long-term project of recording just about everything that Percy Grainger wrote… The recordings are as fine as we have come to expect fromChandos and Barry Peter Ould contributes excellent booklet notes. Despite the appearance of a ’bits and pieces’ record, I do urge you to hear this remarkable disc; much of this music is really worthwhile, adding to our knowledge of this extraordinarily gifted individual."


International Record Review

"Clark Rundell has made some fine recordings with the RNCM Wind Ensemble, but none more enjoyable than his latest release for Chandos, devoted to transcriptions by Percy Grainger…. With sonorous recording by Don Hartridge, this is a treat for music loversand sound buffs."


Liverpool Daily Post

"Excellent readings by the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Ensemble, a group that can be counted on for consistently fine intonation and blend."

American Record Guide

"Clark Rundell conducts lively yet stylistically sound renditions of everything here, while the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra (whose musicians perhaps practice breath support by repeating its name over and over) performs it all with obvious expertise. Excellent sound, good liner notes. Definately worth getting if you’re a Grainger enthusiast, a fan of wind band music, or simply want to hear a great arrangement of Franck and one of the most successful performances of the Liszt on record."


Fanfare

 

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