Introduction To Percy Aldridge Grainger


It took me a little while to get to this point, but here I am finally introducing you all to one of my favorite composer.  A lot of people ask me how it is even possible for me to like classical music as well as hip hop music.  Well the answer is that I never thought of the two as mutually exclusive, and I was involved in classical music when hip hop was getting started.  As far as classical music goes, Percy Aldridge Grainger was the gangster composer of his time, he was most productive around 1920 or so.  He started to perform publicly at the age of 12, in Australia, as a child prodigy and eventually began transcribing folk tunes into amazing classical works.  He travelled all over the far recesses of England and Ireland with a recording device strapped to his back to capture the sounds of the lore that became his obsession.  His skills on the piano were as legendary as his sexual deviance.  More on all that later, though.

I totally realize that the You Tube video is a teaser, and it doesn’t really give you enough to go on.  With that in mind, I hooked you up with some more music in the public files.  I hope to draw attention to Grainger’s extraordinary ability to capture the essence of folk music.  Grainger bucked the system while rejecting the sonata form of celebrated classical composers like Bach and introducing his own method of reproducing songs.  In many pieces he would introduce a theme and embellish them in a way that if you could put them all together then you could understand the whole of it.  In many cases Percy was able to even interpret complex ideas and words through orchestral arrangements and instruments as difficult as the piano.  Grainger not only paid homage to all things “blue eyed English” and Norse, he also pushed the envelope of modern classical music with his use of dissonance and unique annotations. 

Despite the fact that he was a notorious racist and sexual pervert, I’ve always admired him for his brazen and bold musical choices.  I hope you enjoy the full version as much as I do.


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