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Percy Grainger [Hardcover]

John Bird
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 1998
This extensively revised edition of John Bird's acclaimed biography of Percy Grainger gives the first circumstantial account of the life and works of one of the strangest figures in twentieth-century music. Behind Grainger's highly original compositional achievements, folksong collecting and glittering career as a virtuoso concert pianist lay a tragic and chaotic personal life--long domination by his mother, unorthodox sexual predilections, an eccentric athleticism, a demonic spiritual drive and wildly inconsistent personal philosophy with Anglo-Saxon obsessions such as his famous `Blue-Eyed English'. A list of published compositions, a current discography of performances by Grainger, and a selection of his seminal writings complete what has already proved to be a standard work. In their Prefatory Note to the first edition, Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears wrote: `In his sympathetic and tactful biography John Bird has beautifully balanced the brilliance with the turbulence of this unbalanced genius--we are grateful to him'.

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Review

`excellent book.' Steve Schwartz

`one of the best musical biographies ever!' Ken Russell

`This documented srutiny of the man and his music is an unabridged tribute to a flawed genius. Its insights are unlikely to be surpassed. Grainger's spirit should now be appeased.' Eric Fenby

`This fascinating book ... depicts in detail the character of one of the most extraordinary human beings of whom records exist.' Roy Fuller

`anecdote and quotation are gathered usefully together in a rich array ... Bird's book benefits from an extensive discography for which all readers wishing to pursue the subject will be grateful.' Lucien Jenkins, Music Teacher, May 1999

`the release of this revised and slightly extended edition of John Bird's pioneering biography, first published in 1976, is welcome. Bird charts the course of his subject admirably, ... he offers us an absorbing character study.' Peter Tregear, Times Literary Supplement

`this fully revised edition of John Bird's masterly biography of 1976 is timely. John Bird has devoted much of his life to collecting information and memorabilia about the composer, and his knowledge of the subject is second to none ... The book is superb, beautifully produced, splendidly written, with all of Grainger's gusto coming out on every page. John Bird pulls no punches, gives us every side of this multi-faceted man, and paints a vivid picture, warts and all. What could have become a tiresome catalogue of concert and engagements and touring is always a fascinating account of professional life in the first half of the century, enlivened by Percy's eccentricities' Tim Reynish, The Journal of the British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles, Spring 1999, Vol 14 no2

`John Bird has written a masterly book, a thumping good read as well as a scholarly account of one of the quirkiest of all geniuses. Even if you have the Faber edition, (which cost L5.95) you should buy this latest edition for the clarity of presentation, for its new material and for its celebration of Percy Grainger, still under-performed by all of us tone-men who dare to try his tonery.' Tim Reynish, The Journal of the British Association of Symphonic Bands and Wind Ensembles, Spring 1999, Vol 14 no2

`makes available again in a handsome edition a well written and nicely illustrated account of a fascinating composer, folk song collector, and human being. Particularly well handled are the complex relations of Percy's early life ... The biography is written by a passionate advocate of Grainger's music, and the preface gives the academic musical establishment a splendid roasting for its supercilious attitude towards his subject. Nevertheless, here is a fine edition from a major publisher.' David Atkinson, English Dance and Song Autumn 1999 Vol 61 no3

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
In this biography, John Bird masterly tells us about the live, thoughts and 'adventures' of one of the strangest music makers of all times, composer and pianist Percy Aldridge Grainger. A very complete book, which is special, for, as the author stresses in his preface, making an understandable view of the complicated life of Grainger, is not a simple task. Besides all important facts about 'Perks', the book contains lots of interesting backgroud information, letting us know under which circumstances and in what time the composer lived. Also an updated discography and a list of all places where manuscripts etc are to be found are included. The current edition is fully revised, the first print was released in the mid seventies. In one word: brilliant!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable resource July 10 2001
Format:Hardcover
As with many composers, to understand the man is essential to understanding how to interpret his music. My reserach on "Lincolnshire Posy" would have been incomplete without this book. There is a lot of persistence on the author's part to present an accurate and indepth portrayal of one of the more eccentric figures in music. A shame that all biographies are not constructed with such care.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The revised edition of THE Grainger biography by John Bird. April 6 1999
By Kees Kramer (kees.kramer@gsd.nos.nl) - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In this biography, John Bird masterly tells us about the live, thoughts and 'adventures' of one of the strangest music makers of all times, composer and pianist Percy Aldridge Grainger. A very complete book, which is special, for, as the author stresses in his preface, making an understandable view of the complicated life of Grainger, is not a simple task. Besides all important facts about 'Perks', the book contains lots of interesting backgroud information, letting us know under which circumstances and in what time the composer lived. Also an updated discography and a list of all places where manuscripts etc are to be found are included. The current edition is fully revised, the first print was released in the mid seventies. In one word: brilliant!!!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable resource July 10 2001
By Val M. Jamora - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As with many composers, to understand the man is essential to understanding how to interpret his music. My reserach on "Lincolnshire Posy" would have been incomplete without this book. There is a lot of persistence on the author's part to present an accurate and indepth portrayal of one of the more eccentric figures in music. A shame that all biographies are not constructed with such care.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Dec 27 2007
By MP - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found this biography of Percy Grainger to be very informative and interesting to read. It accurately describes the musician's life and should be read by anyone interested in the man or his works.
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