by Vincent Lionti, viola, Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Board Member, International Percy Grainger Society
How would you like to go back in time (oh, about 100 years or so), sit in Percy Grainger's living room parlor and enjoy a performance of some of this great composer's music as well as that of a few of his famous friends and colleagues? If you are intrigued by this idea, I cordially invite you to 7 Cromwell Place, White Plains, New York, for a concert that pianist Richard Masters and I will be giving on Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 2:00pm. You'll hear and see the same piano and harmonium that Percy played and composed on. You'll sit among the same furniture, pictures on the wall and furnishings that adorned Percy and his wife Ella's humble home during their lifetime. You'll see the Tiffany stained glass windows, the tasseled Victorian lampshades and the chin-up bar that hangs in the entrance foyer. House concerts were a very important facet of Percy's music-making, where he could try out new compositions in front of family and friends before publishing and performing them around the world.
The complete program is as follows:
GRAINGER The Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol
GRAINGER Youthful Rapture
YORK BOWEN Phantasy, opus 54 (1918)
ARNOLD BAX Piano Sonata in E-flat major (1921)
FREDERICK DELIUS Violin Sonata No. 2 (1923) arranged for Viola by Lionel Tertis
GRAINGER Molly on the Shore (transcribed by Lionel Tertis, notated and edited by R. Masters)
York Bowen's musical career spanned more than fifty years during which time he wrote over 160 works. As well as being a pianist and composer, Bowen was a talented conductor, organist, violist and horn player. Despite achieving considerable success during his lifetime, many of the composer's works remained unpublished and unperformed until after his death in 1961, the same year as Percy Grainger's death. In his book Grainger on Music, Percy writes of hearing a performance in Stockholm of "...the English composer York Bowen's melodious and effective Second Piano Concerto..."
Sir Arnold Bax, born a year after Grainger, was an English composer, poet, and author. His prolific output includes songs, choral music, chamber pieces, and solo piano works, but he is best known for his orchestral music. Lewis Foreman has written that some "music of Bax exhibits an unexpected resemblance to Percy Grainger at his most energetic."
Percy Grainger met Frederick Delius in London, April 1907, probably at the home of the painter John Singer Sargent; the two met and exchanged music. Upon looking at Grainger’s setting of the folksong Brigg Fair (1906), Delius declared that their harmonies were identical! The next year, Delius wrote his orchestral rhapsody Brigg Fair, and dedicated it to Grainger. In his 1952 essay on Delius, Grainger noted that Delius "…did not so much create new ideas and idioms as respond exquisitely to those brought to him…”
Please join us for a brief journey back in time at the Percy Grainger House on May 3, 2020 at 2:00pm! A reception follows the concert.
Tickets will be available online starting March 5th, 2020. The Percy Grainger House is located at 7 Cromwell Place in White Plains, New York, 10601. Parking is available along the street as well as in the municipal parking garage located directly opposite the house.