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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.209) 8 Performer
Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger

Malcolm Gillies

David Pear

Mark Carroll

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides quotations that illustrate Grainger's 1926 tour around Australia and how this was a great year for him. Memories of this tour contrast strongly with those of much of the rest of his life, which are memories of failure and bitterness. He describes how his contempt for “white man's civilization” helped him to overcome some of his performance anxiety. The Delius Piano Concerto is claimed as a lynch-pin in his performing career, but he notes his relief that Frederick Delius never heard him play his Concerto. Grainger's close relationship with Delius is depicted. Grainger also notes the irony in the fact that the less he is paid for a performance, the better he plays. Further extracts describe Grainger's thoughts about playing the Tchaikovsky concertos, his relationship with Grieg, and Busoni's “lightning octaves” in the Grieg Concerto.

Keywords:   pianism, Australian tour, stage fright, performance anxiety, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, Busoni, Delius

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