Scandinavian Suite for cello and piano

Composer: Percy Grainger (b. 1882 - d. 1961)
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Composer: Percy Grainger (b. 1882 - d. 1961)

Performance date: 02/07/2014

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1902

Duration: 00:15:23

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTE

Instrumentation: vc, pf

Instrumentation Category:Duo

Artists: Andreas Brantelid - [cello]
José Gallardo - [piano]

Born in Melbourne,
Australia, Grainger was often called the “wild boy” of music in his day. A
remarkable eccentric, he was a keen hiker and athlete, but also a brilliant and
highly successful concert pianist and an important folk-music collector.  He lived in London at the start of the 20th
century and then moved to New York; his marriage to a Swedish poet took place
during a concert in the Hollywood Bowl in 1928. His compositions are largely
arrangements of folk music with his version of Country Gardens achieving enormous success and earning him a
fortune, though he came to loathe the piece.

At the start of the
th century he travelled around Scandinavia extensively and made a
valuable collection of local melodies, but the five tunes in this Suite are from
an earlier time and were given to him by a fellow student, the Danish cellist
Herman Sandby, when they were at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt [1895-1901];
they would play it many times in later years. The Suite was published by Schott
in Germany in 1902 when Grainger was just 20; the arrangements are simple and
appealing. The first opens with a wistful slow melody into which a lively dance
breaks; the opening air is then repeated with some darker hues. The second song
from Vermeland in Sweden presents a soulful, broad melody and was a frequent
encore for Grainger as a solo piano piece at his recitals; it became
independently popular with pianist Billy Mayerl who arranged it as
Song of the Fir Tree, which he
frequently played in the 1920s and 30s.
is a sprightly, tongue-in-cheek arrangement, while the  Danish
is not folk music but was written by H.E.Krøyer  in 1835 and is the Danish National Anthem Der er yndigt land  (There
is a lovely country
). Another slow, wistful melody launches the final
movement, the cello then introduces a sparkling Norwegian
spring dans  which is worked
up into a colourful climax.