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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.235) 9 Commentator
Self-Portrait of Percy Grainger

Malcolm Gillies

David Pear

Mark Carroll

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a selection of Grainger's comments about music and musicians. It begins with a discussion of the expressive potential of music, and music's inability to address more than one issue or emotion at a time, unlike other art forms. Music can, however, provide the spirit of a situation in a way other arts cannot. Other writings include Grainger's summary upon his year in Europe (1923) and his views on different national responses to music. The chapter includes many vignettes of various musicians' views of one another: Balfour Gardiner on Vaughan Williams, Imogen Holst, and Arnold Bax; Grieg and Grainger in their approach to folk music. “Nordic” composers such as Jean Sibelius, Carl Nielsen, and Vaughan Williams disappointed Grainger. These recollections include his pleasure at being introduced to Stravinsky by Sir Thomas Beecham, and a concluding description of Grainger's tensions with his one-time piano teacher, Ferruccio Busoni.

Keywords:   expressive music, Balfour Gardiner, Imogen Holst, Arnold Bax, Jean Sibelius, Carl Nielsen, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Igor Stravinsky, Sir Thomas Beecham, Ferruccio Busoni

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