Thursday, February 10, 2005

Percy "No one is stranger" Grainger: Lincolnshire Posy, 6. The Lost Lady Found

Lincolnshire Posy, composed by Percy Grainger, is one of the standards of band literature. Composed of 6 movements, all of them exceptionally different from each other, I will be analyzing the stirring finale entitled "The Lost Lady Found." What I find to be really cool about Lincolnshire Posy is that every single movement is based off an English Folk melody. If I remember right, Grainger went out in the country, using early sound recording equipment, to record people singing traditional folk melodies and transcribed them. He would then use them to compose this piece.
Opening the piece is the high woodwinds. Lightly they sing the melody which will be transferred from instrument and instrument groups throughout the piece. The melody is composed of two rather short periods ending on a PAC. Concluding the first statement of this motive, the low brass and winds come in an accompanying manner. Unlike many songs, as the piece progresses, it is not the melodic motive that develops as the piece continues. Rather the low accompaniment to this folk theme alters every 8 bars. Long, short, loud, soft, Grainger plays with the colors and sounds letting the brass and woodwinds take turns soaring above the bass. The ending is very dramatic with the woodwinds and brass each playing different sections of the melody coming to an energetic finish.
This is my favorite movement of the piece. The melody is extremely beautiful, and most importantly is has a great piccolo solo, (although the third movement has the more impressive solo). An interesting idea would be to compare this piece to "Bonny Boy", written by Ralph Vaughn Williams, in his "Folk Song Suite". We are playing this song currently in band and it shares the exact same folk theme as "Lost Lady Found." I haven't done the research but I'm guessing that Grainger utilized this melody first.

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