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  • Percy Grainger: The Immovable Do (video)

    5,386 views 3 years ago
    More about Performer, Artis Whodehouse: http://www.artiswodehouse.com/

    Artis Wodehouse performs Percy Grainger's (1882 -1961) Immovable Do 6/12/13 at Church of the Epiphany, NYC. Percy Grainger was an important international virtuoso pianist and composer, and a musician with unusually broad interests. He owned and wrote music for reed organs and harmoniums.
    The Immovable Do is subtitled "The Cyphering C", and refers to a common mechanical defect - called a cypher - that can develop in harmoniums and reed organs. A cypher is a note that sounds continuously, even though its corresponding key has not been depressed. Considered a nuisance, Grainger uses this defect (a cypher) instead as a point of departure, and specifies that a high C should continuously sound during the performance. In Wodehouse's performance, the high C is played by Epiphany's beautiful Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ: the note is held down by lead weights placed by Wodehouse before she performs the rest of the piece on her 1903 Mustel Art harmonium.
    Grainger espoused an elastic scoring technique to enable groups of all sizes and combinations of instruments to give effective performances of his music. Thus, The Immovable Do (or "The Cyphering C") was "tone-wrought " by Grainger either "for Organ, or Mixed Chorus, (with or without Organ or other instruments), or Full Orchestra, or Strings or Wind Band, or various Wind Groups".
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    Percy Aldridge Grainger (8 July 1882 -- 20 February 1961) was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist. In the course of a long and innovative career he played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early years of the 20th century. He also made many adaptations of other composers' works. Although much of his work was experimental and unusual, the piece with which he is most generally associated is his piano arrangement of the folk-dance tune "Country Gardens".
    Grainger left Australia at the age of 13 to attend the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. Between 1901 and 1914 he was based in London, where he established himself first as a society pianist and later as a concert performer, composer and collector of original folk melodies. As his reputation grew he met many of the significant figures in European music, forming important friendships with Frederick Delius and Edvard Grieg. He became a champion of Nordic music and culture, his enthusiasm for which he often expressed in private letters.
    In 1914, Grainger moved to the United States, where he lived for the rest of his life, though he travelled widely in Europe and in Australia. He served briefly as a bandsman in the US Army during 1917--18, and took US citizenship in 1918. After his mother's suicide in 1922 he became increasingly involved in educational work. He also experimented with music machines that he hoped would supersede human interpretation. In the 1930s he set up the Grainger Museum in Melbourne, his birthplace, as a monument to his life and works and as a future research archive. As he grew older he continued to give concerts and to revise and rearrange his own compositions, while writing little new music. After the Second World War, ill health reduced his levels of activity, and he considered his career a failure. He gave his last concert in 1960, less than a year before his death. Courtesy of Wickipedia.

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