Stewart R. Manville
January 15, 1927 - March 16, 2018
We are sad to announce the death of our long-time archivist/curator,
leader, and friend Stewart Manville on March 16, 2018.
He passed away peacefully in his sleep.
Stewart was tirelessly devoted to promoting the memory and legacy
of Percy and Ella Grainger. We miss his leadership, kindness, and his
sense of humor.
A memorial service will be held at the Quaker Meeting House, Purchase
and Lake Street, Purchase, New York, on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at
11.00 A.M. For more information about Stewart's life and about the memorial
service, click here.
PERCY GRAINGER AT THE WHITE PLAINS LIBRARY,
WEDNESDAY MAY 2, 2018, 7:OO P.M.
FILMS! LIVE PERFORMANCES! COMMENTARY!
International Percy Grainger Society
2018 Spring Lecture Series
We are pleased to announce a series of three lectures to be given
at the Grainger House, 7 Cromwell Place, White Plains, New York
on April 29, May 6, and May 13. The talks will be:
- Sunday, April 29, 2018: "Percy Grainger: A Modern Leonardo?"
by Mark N. Grant, composer, author, and music commentator.
- Sunday May 6, 2018: "Percy Grainger and His Colleague Composers,"
by Dana Paul Perna, composer, musicologist and conductor.
- Sunday, May 13, 2018: "Grainger, Grieg and Folksong,"
by Barry Peter Ould, President of the International Percy Grainger Society,
co-founder of the Percy Grainger Society (UK), and publisher, through
his Bardic Edition music publishing house, of numerous editions of
All talks will be at 4:00 P.M.
Admission: $10 online, $15 at the door, and free to Grainger Society
Tickets and membership are available at
or call (914) 281-1610. Early registration is appreciated.
More information about the lectures and about the speakers can be
Grainger Lectures Spring 2018.
Further details about this series of talks can also be found by clicking
President Barry Ould Featured Speaker at White Plains
Historical Society Annual Meeting on May 3, 2018
Barry Ould, President of the International Percy Grainger Society,
will be the featured speaker at the annual meeting and dinner of the
White Plains Historical Society on Thursday, May 3, 2018.
A reception will be at 6:00 P.M., with dinner at 6:30.
For reservations call (914) 328-1776 or go on the website
whiteplainshistory.org. The flyer can be seen at
TOURS OF THE GRAINGER HOUSE
In-person tours of the Grainger House can be arranged. We also
provide a virtual tour (see below).
A donation of $10 is requested for a tour. For information, call
How to get there:
The map below shows how to get to the Grainger House, by car or by
The Percy Grainger house, 7 Cromwell Place, White Plains, NY 10601
(photo by Pamela Tucker)
Grainger house virtual tour
A spacious Victorian home
Since the Society is headquartered
in Grainger's actual house in White Plains, an important part of the site
is devoted to a pictorial tour of the house, where we hope that visitors
will feel that they are welcome guests of Percy and Ella.
The Grainger house is a spacious late Victorian house (1893), literally
from the "gaslight" era--the gas light fixtures are still there! To it,
Percy added his own original enhancements, such as an enlarged window in
the living room to let in sunshine, fireproof vaults in the basement,
and an exercise bar over the living room doorway.
Artifacts, such as Percy's pianos, an Edison cylinder recorder, and
the wheelbarrow in which he wheeled his music to the train station
en route to his performances, can still be seen.
The basement vaults contain manuscripts and copies of the composer's
works, as described below.
Take the tour
A virtual "guided tour" of the Grainger house on this Web
site can be taken by clicking on
Grainger house or on the accompanying picture.
Is the Grainger House haunted?
Strange manifestations have been seen at 7 Cromwell. Moving lights
have been caught on camera, objects have moved on their own,
and some have thought they felt the presence of Percy himself!
For pictures, see The Haunted House below.
Fireproof basement vaults
Percy Grainger designed special fireproof vaults in his basement to
store his manuscripts. The small picture shows the opening bars of one
of his compositions. Click on the name
Hill Song No. 1 or on the image for information
on the Grainger Archives.
JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL PERCY GRAINGER SOCIETY!
We invite you to become members of the International Percy
Grainger Society. Keep alive the legacy of this great musical
innovator. We are making plans for new activities at the
For details of membership, go to the Membership Page.
We also have a new
Facebook page. If you wish to gain access to this, please send a FB friend request to Barry Peter Ould.
AVAILABILITY OF SCORES AND PARTSIF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE AVAILABILITY OF SCORES OR PARTS FOR A
PARTICULAR PIECE BY PERCY GRAINGER, OR AN ARRANGEMENT FOR A PARTICULAR
INSTRUMENT OR COMBINATION OF INSTRUMENTS, PLEASE VISIT
"AVAILABILITY OF SCORES AND PARTS" BELOW.
WE'RE ALWAYS WILLING TO HELP!
NEW PHONE NUMBER AND WEBSITE
NEW NUMBER FOR DETAILS ABOUT THE
INTERNATIONAL PERCY GRAINGER SOCIETY: (914) 281-1610.
MATTERS RELATING TO COPYRIGHT, PERMISSIONS AND GENERAL ENQUIRIES REGARDING GRAINGER'S
MUSIC SHOULD BE SENT IN AN EMAIL TO:
PLEASE ALSO CHECK OUT OUR NEW MEMBER ORIENTED WEBSITE AT:
HOPING TO HEAR FROM YOU!
News of the International Percy Grainger Society
NEWS, JULY, 2015: SOME NEW OFFICERS AND A NEW DUES ARRANGEMENT
On July 26, the Board of Trustees met at the Grainger House.
Our number has increased with the addition of two wonderful people.
Barry Peter Ould, of Bardic Edition Music Publishers, who has published many of Grainger's works, is now President. Rolf Stang, one of our stalwart founders, who always keeps us energized, is now President Emeritus.
Susan Edwards Colson, attorney and philanthropic advisor, is now
Vice President and General Secretary. Mark Grant also continues as
At the meeting, Rolf was presented with a certificate of appreciation
for all he has done to make everyone aware of Percy's legacy.
Stewart Manville, our forever Archivist and Curator, was also presented
with a certificate lauding his contributions.
We also discussed the new dues structure for the Society, as
described in the box above.
After the meeting, we adjourned to the nearby City Limits diner
for lunch. Below are a picture of Stewart receiving his award, taken
by Matt McGarrell, and a picture of the group at lunch, which our
waiter was kind enough to take.
Left to right: Barry Ould, Rolf Stang, Cora Sowa, John Sowa,
Mark Grant, Matt McGarrell, Eric Culver, Susan Edwards Colson.
NEWS FROM SPRINGDALE, ARKANSAS: PERCY GRAINGER HAS BIG-TIME
FANS IN THE OZARKS (JUNE, 2014)
by Cora Sowa
The week of June 10-15, 2014, I had the good fortune to attend the
annual convention of the National Railway Historical Society in
Springdale, Arkansas, where we went on rail excursions and took plenty
of photographs of short lines in the region. The evening of June 13,
there was a banquet, preceded by a social hour where we were entertained
by a quartet of saxophone players. They turned out to be students from
Springdale High School and their teacher, Daniel Hodge (who switched from alto
to soprano sax at one point in their performance). As they concluded their set,
I asked if they ever played Percy Grainger. They do, big time!
Mr. Hodge told me that they play, among other pieces, Handel in the Strand,
Tune from County Derry, and Lincolnshire Posy. They have purchased a
copy of our LP of the Lincolnshire songs recorded by Grainger, which
they have in their library.
Mr Hodge and his students graciously posed for their picture, which
you see below. So next time you think of high school bands playing Grainger,
think of Springdale, Arkansas.
HEAR A PERFORMANCE OF GRAINGER'S FREE MUSIC FOR THEREMIN
You can hear Thorwald Jørgensen, Marieke van der Heyden,
Marcel Wierckx, and Jessica Hummel play Grainger's
Free Music No.1 for Four Theremins on YouTube.
to listen to the performance.
PICTURES FROM THE WHITE PLAINS GRAINGER CELEBRATION,
FEBRUARY 20, 2011
We have a few pictures taken at the Celebration of the Life and
Music of Percy Grainger, performed under the excellent direction of
Vincent Lionti, violist with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra,
held on February 20, 2011 at Grace Episcopal Church in White Plains.
The group included two violins, one viola (Mr. Lionti), cello, and piano.
We hope eventually to be able to bring you audio clips of some of the
music that was played, which included an extraordinarily beautiful
interpretation of Grainger's Free Music No. 1 as realized for strings.
Vincent Lionti (on the right) and fellow musicians.
Stewart Manville of the International Percy Grainger Society
reminiscing about Percy Grainger.
Dr. Cora Sowa of the International Percy Grainger society talking about
Grainger's musical heritage.
WHAT DID PERCY GRAINGER SOUND LIKE?
A true original, he composed and performed as he lived,
with abandon and creativity
Percy Grainger is known as much for his personal oddness as
for his music, which itself encompassed much that was original and strange.
In his house at 7 Cromwell Place in White Plains, New York, the visitor
can experience evidence of his enthusiasms. He was a physical fitness
devotee before it became fashionable to be one. He would walk between cities where he
was to give piano performances, arriving at the last minute, and wheeled visitors'
luggage from the White Plains railroad station to his house in a wheelbarrow.
At the house, you can see the actual wooden wheelbarrow,
as well as the exercise bar suspended between
hallway and living room, and you can walk up the same
front steps that he would hop up and down
on one leg to strengthen his muscles! But the same characteristics that made
Grainger eccentric in his personal life were responsible for his "out-of-the-box"
thinking about music. He was one of the first to collect folk songs on
several continents using the Edison cylinders. You can see an
Edison machine like the one he used at the Grainger House,
and an LP of some of the actual songs collected
by him is available through the Grainger Society.
He created an original body of work for concert band
(a space previously occupied largely by Sousa), for which band leaders and
teachers continue to be grateful.
But Grainger considered his most important contribution to be his
development of a series of Free Music Machines,
which produced music inspired by natural sounds, with continuous pitch and
without formal rhythm. The earliest of these were mechanical, the later were
electronic, the forebears of today's synthesizers, as well as of today's
microtonal music. A small model of one of these machines
is at the Grainger House, while larger examples are in the Grainger Museum in
To the public of Grainger's day, however, he was known as a charismatic
concert pianist, running down the aisle and leaping upon the stage to
deliver a stirring performance. But how did he sound and look when he played?
Tantalizingly, there seems to be only one publicly available video available
of one short performance of his arrangement of the Irish folk tune
"Maguire's Kick" on YouTube (see below).
In contrast to the reverential and cautious performances his works often
receive today (and in contrast to the static photographs and drawings of him),
the video shows a wildly improvisational and athletic bout with the piano.
In this regard we can contrast the performance by Grainger of "Country Gardens"
with the prim rendition by Eugene List (both on the last selection
listed below, audio only). We get a glimpse into Grainger's priorities in his
1945 essay, "English Pianism and Harold Bauer," where he described a recital by
D'Albert gave a piano recital soon after I got to Frankfurt, & I was enthralled
by his slapdash English style... he played his own Piano Sonata with his feet
& hands flying all over the place & wrong notes one or two to the dozen...
When I saw D'Albert swash around over the piano with the wrong notes flying
to the left & right & the whole thing a welter of recklessness, I said to
myself, "That's the way I must play". I'm afraid I learnt his propensity
for wrong notes all too thoroughly..."
Of course, it was only with a prodigious underlying technique that he could
get away with taking such liberties!
So that you can hear (and in one case, see) what a Grainger performance
was like, the list of Web addresses below encompasses all the selections that
I have discovered on YouTube, including some recordings on the Aeolian Duo-Art
piano rolls, for which Grainger recorded prolifically.
If anyone knows of more, please let me know.
Percy Grainger plays Bach Toccata & Fuga in D minor,
Grainger's own arrangement (1931; audio only)
Percy Grainger plays Irish Folk Song: "Maguire's Kick"
(includes video of Grainger playing piano)
Percy Grainger playing an extended version of "Maguire's Kick"
recorded on a Duo-Art piano roll, 1916, audio only)
Note: sometimes there is a problem accessing this file.
Percy Grainger plays Bach Fantasy and Fugue in G minor,
transcription by Franz Liszt (1931; audio only)
Percy Grainger plays Tchaikovksy "Sugar plum fairy"
(Duo-Art Reproducing Piano Roll #6798; audio only)
Percy Grainger plays Grieg Peer Gynt "Morning Mood"
(Peer Gynt Suite No.1, Op.46 No.1, Duo-Art Reproducing Piano Roll #A-57;
Percy Grainger Plays "Sheep & Goat Walkin' to the Pasture"
(Aeolian Duo Art roll #7083, recorded in 1927;
includes video of a restored Steck Duo Art player piano built in 1920,
as it performs the music)
Cyril Scott and Percy Grainger play Scott's Symphonic Dance, arranged
by Grainger for two pianos (recorded in 1922 on Duo-Art
reproducing piano roll; includes video of performance by a
ca. 1929 Chickering Duo-Art piano performing the music)
Percy Grainger plays Lotus Land by Cyril Scott
(in a 1929 Duo-Art reproducing piano roll recording;
includes video of performance by a ca. 1929 Chickering Duo-Art piano)
Percy Grainger plays "Country Gardens"
(from a live performance, 1957; followed by Eugene List playing
"Country Gardens" in 1961; audio only)
(- Cora Sowa)
The famous wheelbarrow, on which Grainger wheeled his own and his guests'
luggage to and from the White Plains train station. It now sits in the
basement of the Grainger House.
GRAINGER HOUSE WELCOMES VISITORS, MAY, 2011,
AND A NEW GRAINGER STUDIES JOURNAL IS ANNOUNCED
On May 30, 2011 members of the Percy Grainger Society and friends met
at the Grainger House to welcome Philip G. Kent, University Librarian of the
University of Melbourne. Barry Ould from the Percy Grainger Society in
the U.K. was also in attendance.
Mr. Kent gave an illustrated talk on renovations and improvements to
the newly reopened Percy Grainger Museum at the University of Melbourne.
He also gave out hardcopies of the first issue of a new journal,
Grainger Studies, An Interdisciplinary Journal, which is available online
After the meeting, everyone went to the City Limits Diner in White Plains
for an excellent lunch.
Some attendees at the Grainger House. Back row, left to right: Dana Perna,
Barry Ould, Lucinda Hess, Eric Culver (Holy Cross College), Mark Grant,
John Sowa, Philip Kent. Front row (seated): Rolf Stang, Stewart Manville.
After the meeting, participants adjourned to the restaurant.
At the end of the meal, the waiter was kind enough to take our
GRAINGER'S EXPERIMENTAL FREE MUSIC MACHINES ("TONE-TOOLS")
Model of Free Music Machine at the Grainger House
Reproducing natural sounds
Percy Grainger considered his concept of "Free Music" (and the experimental
machines to create it) to be "his only truly valuable and original contribution
to music." (-Margaret Leng Tan, in Thomas P. Lewis, A Source Guide to the
Music of Percy Grainger).
Grainger's innovations, which seem avant-garde even today,
included work with Hammond organs, piano rolls, electronic sound-producing mechanisms,
and hand-built machines to create "free music" (i.e. unconstrained by
traditional pitch or beat). His inspirations were the natural sounds
of waves lapping aginast a boat, railroad trains, voices, even a squeaking door.
These were early forms of music synthesizers.
Although he developed, with physicist Burnet Cross, an electronic version of
his Free Music machine, he was not interested in electronic music for its
own sake, but only as a means to an end, of freeing music from what he considered
the shackles of its traditional forms.
Nor did he want a performance instrument for the concert hall, but a
composing machine that would let him actually hear the sounds that he
already heard in his head.
The full-scale Free Music machines can no longer be seen (or heard)
at the Grainger House in White Plains, but a small (non-working) model of one of his
machines, pictured above, can be seen by visitors to the Grainger House.
The full-scale machines, which he called "Tone-Tools," now reside
in the Grainger Museum in
Percy's work on his experimental machines,
installed in his living room, can be seen in the archival photos reproduced
below: (1) Percy's "Kangaroo Pouch" Free Music machine, set up in his
living room, ca. 1950, (2) Burnett Cross and Percy working on the
Free Music machine, 1951. (From Inez Bull, 7 Cromwell Place:
A Loving Tribute to Percy Grainger.)
The picture below of Percy and Ella working on one of his machines
is reproduced from Thomas P. Lewis, A Source Guide to the
music of Percy Grainger.
Grainger's Free Music Machine, described by Burnett Cross
The following description by Burnett Cross, of the electronic
Free Music Machine developed by Grainger together with Cross, is taken from
Thomas P. Lewis, A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger.
The diagrams included below are those that
illustrate the article.
This description and other material about Grainger's variations on this idea,
including a long essay by Margaret Leng Tan, is included in the
"Program Notes" section of Lewis' book, which is reproduced on this Web site.
Click HERE to go to the correct page (look for
"The free music machine had to be able to play
any pitch within its range. It was to be free of the limitations
of speaking in half tones, or quarter tones or eighth tones for that
matter. Any pitch (or group of pitches within the range of the seven
voices planned for the machine shown) was to be available to the
"The machine had to be able to go from pitch to pitch by
way of a controlled glide as well as by a leap. It was to be free of
the limitations of the usual methods of progressing from pitch to pitch.
"The machine had to be able to perform complex irregular rhythms
accurately, rhythms much too difficult for human beings to execute. It
was to be free of the limitations of the human performer, of what
Grainger called `the tyranny of the performer.' Of course dynamics
were to be precisely controlled as well.
"The machine had to be
workable by the composer. It was not to require a staff of resident
engineers to translate the composer's language into the machine's
language or to keep the machine in working order.
requirement produced, I think, the most striking feature of the machine
developed. Grainger had worked out a form of graph notation for Free
Music for many years. The Free Music machine [we] developed `reads'
this graph notation, with very little modification required. The pitch
control graph and the volume control graph are painted in the
appropriate bands on the five-foot wide roll of clear plastic (see
Figure 1, preceding page). Black plastic ink is used. By sliding the
portion just pain ted across the pitch and volume control slits, the
musical result is heard at once, and any adjustments can be made at
once. In fact if one paints on the plastic directly over the pitch
control slit, one can hear the pitch being formed. Happily the plasti c
ink used is water-soluble, so erasure is easy.
pitch-control graph moves across the pitch control slit, it causes the
amount of light entering the slit to vary. This light (from the
spotlight above) is reflected from a curved mirror to the pitch control
photocell (see Figure 2, above). The photocell controls the frequency
produced by a transistor oscillator: more light raises the frequency,
less light lowers it, and no light at all produces the bottom note of
the oscillator range. Thus variations in pitch are obtained.
"The output of the oscillator is sent to a common type of flashlight
bulb, one that has a tiny filament and a built-in lens. The bulb changes
the pulsating current from the oscillator into a pulsating beam of light.
This beam is directed upward throug h the volume control slit, to strike
the volume control photocell. The volume control graph varies the
amount of light reaching this photocell, which is connected to a
preamplifier-amplifier-speaker circuit. Thus the strength of the
oscillator output can be varied and control of dynamics achieved.
"Imposing on the pitch control slit a musical scale of whatever sort
is desired can be done with the filter and tuning sticks. How these are
mounted above the slits, on the tuning bridge, is shown in Figure 3
(above). The tuning bridge rests on the me tal guide-rails that steer
the flow of the plastic sheet from roller to roller. A close-up of a
filter and tuning sticks is shown in Figure 4 (next page). By sliding
pieces of exposed photographic film of different densities into the
filter holder, the am ount of light reaching the pitch control slit can
be crudely controlled and the range placement of the oscillator roughly
established, for that particular voice. Then by moving tuning sticks in
or out the effective width of the slit can be varied. Thus ha lf-tone
reference points (for example) of the scale can be distributed evenly
along the length of the pitch control slit. The narrower the tuning
sticks, or in other words the more of them there are along the slit, the
finer the adjustment can be. Thanks to transistors in the oscillator
and other circuits, the scale imposed is stable enough. Trying to
achieve stability with a vacuum tube circuit was a maddening and
unsuccessful task. The vacuum tube model turned out to be a very
sensitive device for detec ting changes in the characteristics of vacuum
tubes by means of changes in a musical scale.
"Since the spotlights
are running on AC it might be expected that an AC hum would be the
principal musical output of the arrangement, but it turns out that this
is not so. Apparently the filament of the spotlight is too massive to
transmit 60 cycles p er second. The power supply for the flashlight
bulb, however, has to be pretty smooth DC.
"The mirror is made of a
strip of copper bent by hand to the desired shape (which was easier than
working out the geometry of the thing) and then chrome plated. A sharp
focus on the pitch control photocell is not necessary. Both photo-cells
were shielded with lightproof black cardboard from stray light. The
transistor oscillator circuit produces a reedy and not unpleasant
quality: a wide range of tone colors could be produced by manipulating
the electronics of the oscillator, but Grainger was not at a ll
interested in this at this stage. Command of pitch, duration and
intensity were what he wanted, and quality was unimportant.
feeder and eater rollers, as Grainger called them, are mounted on skate
wheels, which allow a roller to move from side to side to compensate for
irregularities in the plastic sheeting. Since the plastic sheet is
constrained by the guide rails so that its position relative to the
slits will not change, it must be allowed freedom at both ends of its
path. An electric motor can be arranged to turn the eater roller by
means of a belt, but turning the roller by hand is easy and
AVAILABILITY OF SCORES AND PARTS
Many readers of this Web site have asked about the availability of a
particular score for a particular combination of instruments for a particular
one of Grainger's compositions or arrangements. We have always endeavored to answer
your questions about all aspects of Grainger's life and career as fully as possible,
and continue to welcome your correspondence. While we are delighted by the interest
shown in bringing Grainger's music to life in performance, to avoid
duplication of resources, we are now referring all requests for information about
scores and parts to our sister organization, the Percy Grainger Society (U.K.), where
music publisher Barry Ould (Bardic Edition Music Publications) has a fantastic
collection of scores, parts, recordings, and information about their whereabouts.
Bardic Edition is currently in the process of bringing into print most of Graingerís
hitherto unpublished music, in association with the Grainger Society and Estate.
The Web site for Bardic Editions is
The Web site for the (U.K.) Percy Grainger Society is
Barry Ould can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com
or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RECOMMENDED READING ABOUT PERCY GRAINGER
We are often asked to recommend books for further reading about the life and music
of Percy Grainger. Here are the most highly recommended books that are in print:
- John Bird, Percy Grainger, Oxford University Press, 1999 (first published
- Malcolm Gillies and David Pear, Portrait of Percy Grainger,
Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002 (Eastman Studies in Music,
Eastman School of Music).
- Robert Simon, Percy Grainger, The Pictorial Biography, Grafton, OH:
Ludwig Music Publishing Company, 1983.
- Penelope Thwaites, The New Percy Grainger Companion,
Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell Press, 2010.
Thomas P. Lewis' Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger (1991), a
compendium of catalogs to Grainger's works and various essays and reminiscences,
is out of print (and the catalogs are likely to be out of date), but two of the
most useful chapters, "Biographical/Artistic Vignettes" and
"Program Notes," are available online on this Web site. Click
here to read them.
Mike Miceli has completed a Master's thesis at Western Connecticut State University
entitled "Percy Grainger and his Lincolnshire Posy." Some of his research was done
at the Grainger House at 7 Cromwell Place in White Plains.
If any of our readers know of other useful books on Percy's life and work,
let us know. Happy reading.
A COLLECTION OF FALL PHOTOS FROM THE GRAINGER HOUSE
Below are some new pictures from in and around the Grainger House,
taken in October, 2009 by John Sowa.
The front of the house on a beautiful autumn day. Some members of the
Grainger Society can be seen talking at the foot of the steps (just behind the
telephone pole). Dana Perna is on the left. Notice the historic marker
above and to the left of Dana's head.
A view of the side yard, looking back from the front porch.
Some of these trees were planted by Percy
The Music Room, showing the upright piano.
Stewart Manville playing Percy's grand piano in the Music Room.
An Edison cylinder machine of the kind used by Percy to collect
Another view of the Edison machine, showing its mechanism.
A view of the side yard from the third floor. These cozy attic rooms
would have been the servants' quarters in the early days of the house,
before the Graingers bought it.
The antique fixtures in the house are exemplified by this
wall sconce. It is dual-purpose, and can be used as either a gas lamp
or an electric lamp.
In this grand mansion, even the bathroom has a stained glass
More antique fixtures: a very old shower head in the bathroom!
ATTENTION VINYL COLLECTORS, EDISON CYLINDER ENTHUSIASTS,
AND FANS OF ROOTS MUSIC!
We have received a number of inquiries about the old Edison cylinders
that Percy Grainger used to record the voices of singers, whose folk songs
Grainger later wove into works like "Lincolnshire Posy" and many other
settings. Many of them are now in the Library of Congress.
Our correspondents have asked whether these performances are
available in any modern form.
We have a supply of LP records, made in 1972, of a selection of
English songs recorded by Grainger in Lincolnshire in 1908, sung by
Joseph Taylor and other singers. These are amazingly fine recordings,
remastered from cylinders and from early discs. The liner notes
are in the form of an extensive booklet, with commentary and the
complete words to the songs. The price is $35, including shipping
and handling, within the U.S (for mailing costs outside the U.S., please
Check or money order should be made out to the International Percy Grainger
Society and sent to 7 Cromwell Place, White Plains, NY 10601.
To pay via PayPal please click HERE.
You can order a record by writing to the International Percy Grainger Society at the
above address. If you contact us by e-mail, please give us your complete
mailing address (and, if you wish, a phone number where you can be
The songs on the record are as follows (some songs appear more than
once, sung by different singers or in different recordings):
- Sprig o' thyme
- Died for love
- Brigg Fair
- The white hare
- Lord Bateman
- Rufford Park poachers
- The gypsy's wedding day
- Worcester City
- Creeping Jane
- Murder of Maria Martin
- Sprig o'thyme
- Bold William Taylor
- Lord Bateman
- Green bushes
- The Sheffield apprentice
- Horkstow Grange
- Landlord and tenant
- Bold Nevison
- Lord Melbourne
- Bold Robin Hood
- T'owd yowe wi' one horn
The cover of the record:
A picture of the singers (with Percy Grainger, center of back row):
AWARDING OF THE GRAINGER MEDALLION
Percy Grainger was adept in many aspects of music, as a performer, as a
collector of folk songs, and as an inventor of music-making machines.
To band leaders, teachers, and musicians, however, he is known, in his
compositions and arrangements for wind ensembles, as an originator of the
concert band, In his hands, the band, which was largely confined
to marches in the manner of Sousa, became an instrument for serious
Each year, the International Percy Grainger Society awards the
Grainger Medallion to one or more recipients who have made a contribution
to band music, especially in the state of Texas. Grainger spent a great
deal of time in the last decade of his life working with college, high
school, and other bands in Texas, including Baylor and in the Austin area.
He also conducted the Corpus Christi Symphony Orchestra.
The Grainger Medallion was made possible by a generous grant from music
store owner Billy Everett (H&H Music of Houston). The design of the
Medallion was by Dr. Cay Smith Osmon and the casting took place in Houston,
Texas in a one-time production of only 50 medallions.
So far, more than 30 have been awarded. It is the wish of Mr. Everett that,
when possible, the Medallion be awarded in Texas, to Texas band directors.
One Medallion is given out each year at the Texas Bandmasters Association
state convention or at the Texas Music Educators Association state
convention. (In some years, more than one has been awarded.) Others can be
awarded by the International Percy Grainger Society.
The first year the Medallion was awarded to the following:
John Bird (England)
John Hopkins (Australia)
Frederic Fennell was the legendary conductor who introduced many of
Grainger's works. John Bird is Grainger's biographer. Conductor
John Hopkins also recorded works of Grainger.
Texas recipients have included:
Eddie Green* (Univ. of Houston, ret.) - 1994
Richard Kole* (Del Mar College, ret.) - 1995
Harry Begian* (Univ. of Illinois, ret.) - 1996
Mark Rogers* (SMC) - 1997
Peter Warshaw* - 1998
Col. John Bourgeois, USMC (awarded at TMEA) - 1998
James Keene* (Univ. of Illinois) - 1999
Maurice McAdow - 2000
Sir Geoffrey Brand* (London, England) - 2002
Chal Ragsdale* (Univ. of Arkansas) - 2003
Tom Bennett* (Univ. of Houston) - 2003
Mark Morette* (Mark custom recordings, NY) - 2004
Jerry Junkin* (Dallas Wind Symphony/Univ. of Texas, Austin) - 2005
Paula Crider (Univ. of Texas, ret.) - 2006
Eugene Corporon (Univ. of North Texas) - 2007
* presented at the TBA.
Other recipients of the Medalllion have included the following:
Barry Peter Ould (Scotland)
Penelope Thwaites (England), who has made many recordings of Grainger's
piano music, and has organized Grainger concerts and festivals (1991)
The Aldeburgh Festival (England)
David Mruzek (Colby Community College, Kansas).
The 2007 recipient of the Grainger Medallion is Eugene Migliaro Corporon,
conductor of the Wind Symphony and Regents Professor of Music at the
University of North Texas (Denton, TX). Particularly noteworthy is his CD
"Composer's Collection: Percy Aldridge Grainger," with a selection of
pieces by Grainger.
The above information was supplied by Leroy Osmon of the Texas
Bandmasters Association and the Texas Music Educators Association,
and by Stewart Manville of the International Percy Grainger Society.
PRESERVING A MUSICAL LEGACY
The International Percy Grainger Society is dedicated to preserving the
musical legacy of Australian-American composer Percy Grainger, with his many
innovations in composition, in the recording of folk-song, and in the
creating of original musical instruments. The Society is headquartered in
Grainger's long-time home in White Plains, New York.
The Society keeps the Percy Grainger archives, containing
Grainger's manuscripts, and owns the copyright to his compositions.
The International Percy Grainger Society was founded by his widow, the
Swedish-born painter Ella Ström Grainger, who was its leading spirit
until her death in 1979. A great debt for keeping up this legacy is also
owed to Mr. Stewart Manville, Archivist and Curator, and to Mr. Rolf Stang,
President of the Society.
The house itself, at 7 Cromwell Place in White Plains, was Grainger's
last home, where he lived from 1921 (when he bought the house with his
mother, Rose) until his death in 1961. From the time of his marriage,
in 1928, he lived there with Ella. The house
looks as it did when he lived there, with his instruments and other
furnishings. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Grainger scholars, composers, and aficionados are invited there to study
Grainger's life and works. Visits can be arranged with the Archivist,
Mr. Stewart Manville (see the map below).
Percy and Ella Grainger at the Hammond organ, 1950. From
Thomas P. Lewis, A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger.
Administration of the Society
The Society is administered by its Board of Trustees, which
meets several times a year. These were the board members in 2018 (some of whom
are now emeritus or deceased):
Barry Peter Ould,
Rolf K. Stang, President Emeritus
Susan Edwards Colson, Vice President and General Secretary,
Mark N. Grant, Vice President (emeritus)
Dana Paul Perna, Secretary (emeritus)
Don Gillespie (deceased)
Robert S. Simon (emeritus)
Margaret Leng Tan (emerita)
Stewart Manville, Archivist/Curator (deceased)
Cora Angier Sowa,
Meetings are held in the Grainger House
Board meetings are usually held in the dining room of the Grainger
house, where members sit around the big table at which Percy used to write
his music. Here are some pictures taken at our meeting in the fall of
2002 (not everyone was present):
(left to right) (the late) Robert Beckhard,
Don Gillespie, Stewart Manville, Robert Simon, Dana Perna, Mark Grant
(clockwise, from left) Stewart Manville, Robert Simon, Dana Perna,
Neely Bruce, Robert Beckhard, Cora Sowa, Don Gillespie
VISITORS AT THE GRAINGER HOUSE
Many visitors take a personal tour of the Grainger House at 7 Cromwell
(as opposed to the pictorial "virtual tour"
offered on this Web site). In 2006,
the Society was host to two large groups of musicians: The third
weekend in March, some forty members of the Carroll College Wind Band
from Wisconsin visited the house, and the following weekend, on March 25,
we hosted sixteen music teachers from the College Band Directors'
National Association, Eastern Division. Below are some pictures from the
band leaders' visit:
Stewart Manville shows off an Edison cylinder recording machine of
the kind used by Percy to collect folk songs:
Visiting band directors sign the guest book:
Percy Grainger Society board members Dana Perna and Mark Grant
in conversation with Columbia University Wind Ensemble director
The visitors also saw the small model of Percy's
Free Music Machine,
pictured above with archival pictures of the full-scale machines.
Remembrance of Grainger fans past -- the Flonzaley
The basement of the Grainger House, which contains Grainger's
fireproof archives, also holds many other wondrous things. In addition to
Percy's wheelbarrow, with which he wheeled
his luggage to the White Plains train station, there are stacks of
old concert programs, publicity materials, and other items.
We recently ran across a supply of postcards,
whose front side depicts the Flonzaley Quartet listening (as it tells us,
we assume truthfully) with rapt attention to one of their own recordings,
of Grainger's "Molly on the Shore."
The Flonzaley Quartet was founded by Edward J. de Coppet, a New York
banker and patron of the arts of Swiss descent. De Coppet had
a summer home, Le Flonzaley, near Lake Geneva. An amateur musician, in
1886 he formed a semi-professional chamber group with his wife and some
friends. However, outside demands left insufficient time for rehearsals,
and in 1903 de Coppet assembled a group of professional musicians --
Adolfo Betti, first violin, Alfred Pochon, violin, Ugo Ara, viola, and
Iwan d'Archambeau, cello -- to devote their entire time and effort to
playing and touring as the Flonzaley Quartet. In addition to the standard
repertoire, they introduced audiences to both modern and early music,
including forgotten pieces by 18th century composers such as Sammartini,
Leclair, and Boyce.
The Flonzaley Quartet was one of the first quartets to make recordings.
The Quartet disbanded in 1929.
HISTORIC PICTURE OF PERCY GRAINGER WITH NAVY BAND LEADERS
Band director William Aaron Tomlin was kind enough to send us images
of a historic photograph in his collection of Grainger memorabilia.
The original 8 x 10 photo shows Percy Grainger with US Navy Band Leader
Lt. Commander Charles Bendler and his assistant Richard Townsend during
World War II. The images below show both the front (entire picture and
detail) and the back of the picture. The back bears Percy's name (signature?).
About Our Web Site
Grainger information, and other news
This Web site has been designed to bring news of activities of the
International Percy Grainger Society, as well as other information
concerning Grainger's life and music.
Other pages of this site can be accessed by clicking on the
appropriate icons below or on the names on the sidebar down the left of
the page. These provide information on the Grainger archives, his
cataloged works, membership information, news and announcements.
In our "news" category, we like to include the names of new (or newly
discovered!) books on Grainger or other materials having to do with
Grainger's life and work. The most recent news is put
at the top of this home page. Older items are
archived on our (Past) News and Announcements"
If you have written a book or are giving a a concert or festival that
you would like to announce, please contact us.
THE HAUNTED HOUSE: A HALLOWEEN TALE:
STRANGE DOINGS AT THE GRAINGER HOUSE, 7/2/2016 8:00 PM:
IS THE GRAINGER HOUSE HAUNTED?
Is the Grainger House haunted?
For years, there have been reports that the Grainger House is haunted.
Musicians composing alone at Percy's own big work table in the dining
room have suddenly felt Percy's presence, approving or disapproving,
beside them. A former housesitter of reliable and sound mind even
claims that he saw objects move on three different occasions: a table
leg in the kitchen vibrated; a backpack strap on the second floor
oscillated; and a light switch in the basement turned off by itself.
Recently, because of the number of vagrants and other security concerns
in the neighborhood, the White Plains police have been making regular
rounds about the house. Surveillance cameras have also been installed
inside the house.
Strange things are happening
On the night of Saturday, July 2, 2016, another as yet unexplained
occurrence was captured on film: something triggered the motion
detector in the dining room, once at 8:32, again at 9:23. A lighted
object flew across the room, passing out of sight as it left the room.
It did not fly like a moth or a bat, and nothing could be found wrong
with the camera itself. And a laser beam wouldn't set off the motion
detector. Creepy! You can see the videos for yourself by clicking on
the links provided below. At the bottom of this item, you will find
some screen captures from the first video. In it, the object begins as
a tiny dot against a dark background in the upper right hand corner. It
grows in size as it passes across the table and exits in the lower left.
In the second video, the object flies from left to right. Security
camera experts have viewed these films and have offered no scientific
Who was it?
Was it Percy, testing an inspiration for some new musical device? Was
it Ella, resident sprite of the household? Was it Percy's mother Rose,
wishing to assert her domination? What do YOU think it was? Click on
the links and see the video, or look below for screen captures.
Screen shots from the first video
A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger (biographical
reminiscences, lists of works, and commentaries)
Catalogs, commentaries, and biographical essays
A volume of catalogs to Grainger's works, scores, recordings, and other
materials, along with "Biographical/Artistic Vignettes" and
"Program Notes" or commentaries, has been prepared by Thomas P. Lewis
(1991). The "Vignettes" are a collection of essays and
reminiscences, both biographical and musical, by friends, colleagues,
and students. The biographical/artistic essays and the "Program notes" are
perhaps the most valuable parts of the book, since discographies and
locations of scores can get out of date and be superseded by more
Originally published by Pro/Am Resources, Inc. of White Plains, NY,
this volume, or at least parts of it, is being put online, piece by piece.
Chapters 1 and 4 are now available to be read on this site. Click on
or "Program Notes" to go
directly to these chapters. Or click on
A Source Guide to the Music of Percy Grainger or on the reproduction
of its cover below to see the complete Table of Contents of the book.
All are invited to become members of the International Percy Grainger
Society. Go to the
new web site to obtain information on how to join.
There are other Web sites devoted to the life and work of Percy
Grainger. The Percy Grainger Museum in Grainger's native Melbourne,
Australia maintains its own site, as do musicians and enthusiasts in the
U.K. and other countries. Click to learn about some of these
related Web sites.
This historic Percy Grainger Web site is maintained by Dr. Cora Angier Sowa of
Minerva Systems, an emeritus member of the board of the International Percy
Grainger Society. You can reach her at her Web site
or send comments by e-mail to
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