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Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger$
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Malcolm Gillies, David Pear, and Mark Carroll

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195305371

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195305371.001.0001

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(p.165) 7 Composer
Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger

Malcolm Gillies

David Pear

Mark Carroll

Oxford University Press

The goal of art and of music for Grainger is explained and his “Marching Song of Democracy” cited as an epitome of this. The importance of “whip-lust” to his compositional strength, and of his racial convictions that lie behind his music and that motivate him to compose is also explained. Walt Whitman, Swinburne, and Grieg he cites as among the most clever people of the most clever nations, while democracy he sees as concomitant with intelligence. He despairs that classical music has too strong an Italian sense, and not enough support is given to Nordic works. He regrets that his various musical innovations were never acknowledged, but records some of the most notable responses to his music, from Charles Villiers Stanford, Sir Thomas Beecham, Balfour Gardiner, Edvard Grieg, John Singer Sargent, William Rathbone, Vaughan Williams, and Frederick Delius. He concludes with comments on “elastic scoring” and a detailed description of a potential world-wide “guild” of composers.

Keywords:   Marching Song of Democracy, sado-masochism, Nordicism, C.V. Stanford, Sir Thomas Beecham, Balfour Gardiner, Edvard Grieg, John Singer Sargent, Vaughan Williams, Frederick Delius

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