The Arrival Platform Humlet
is a characteristic ‘Graingerism’. Composed in the same period as the Sussex Mummers’ Christmas Carol
it is scored for any of the following: solo viola, a group of violas, an oboe, cor anglais, bassoon, or a group of these instruments—or, further, by a solo voice or unison chorus. Grainger himself put it like this: ‘Originally conceived for middle-fiddle single, or massed middle-fiddles, or double-reed single, or massed double-reeds, or as a humlet for a single voice or chorus of voices.’ This, then, gives the clue to the extraordinary title. Grainger goes on to describe what he means: ‘Awaiting the arrival of a belated train bringing one’s sweetheart from foreign parts: great fun! The sort of thing one hums to oneself as an accompaniment to one’s tramping feet as one happily, excitedly, paces up and down the arrival platform.’ This ‘humlet’, or little hum, was apparently written in Liverpool Street and Victoria Stations, London, in 1908.
from notes by Paul Spicer © 1994