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Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Front illustration by Roland Piper (b?)
Track(s) taken from CDH55454
Recording details: April 2001
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Amanda Hurton
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: June 2002
Total duration: 14 minutes 54 seconds

'Musically enchanting fare … everything is played with unfaltering command … the recording and presentation are immaculate' (Gramophone)

'Inspired re-creations … strongly recommended to connoisseur and newcomer alike … Grainger's eclectic, idiosyncratic piano transcriptions, despatched with light-fingered clarity. Strauss swoons, Stephen Foster's all of a tingle. Excellent notes, too' (BBC Music Magazine)

'A delight from start to finish' (The Observer)

'Beautiful tone and colours … playing of real beauty in the two exquisite Fauré arrangements' (International Record Review)

'Salon esprit without sentimentality and with a touch of humor and poetry: what more could one ask from this music?' (American Record Guide)

'Heroic stamina by Piers Lane' (The Times)

'A charming recital, beautifully played and recorded' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Lane boasts a fabulous technique … succulent performances' (Fanfare, USA)

'A fine selection … an easy listen that often delights the ear' (Pianist)

'This disc moves into the fruitful territory of Percy Grainger’s piano transcriptions, allowing Piers Lane to indulge in flights of virtuosic fantasy and reveal the emotional breadth of these works' (Music Week)

‘Piers Lane rises to this repertoire’s not-inconsiderable challenges in a judiciously programmed and brilliantly executed recital’ (

'It is one of those CDs where surprise comes on surprise. Great fun' (Essex Chronicle)

‘Piers Lane concilie le panache avec une sensibilité très vive’ (Diapason, France)

'Le pianiste joue franc jeu et rend un bel hommage au compositeur' (Le Monde de la Musique, France)

Four Irish Dances
Op 79; March 1905; The Petrie Collection
15 November 1905

A Slow Dance  [4'33]
A Reel  [4'08]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
It was during Grainger’s London years that he came into contact with many artists, composers and musicians who were all to play some part in formulating his career as pianist and furthering his subsequent recognition as a composer. His numerous appearances in ‘at homes’ quickly established him in London society, and it was at such a gathering that he met the Irish composer Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924), who later hosted at least four similar functions at which Grainger performed. From 1904 onwards their friendship grew apace and they were to work closely with each other until Grainger’s departure for America in 1914. The Four Irish Dances had been transcribed from Stanford’s orchestral versions, Op 79, during the early years of their professional association, and Grainger would often include them in his solo recitals along with Stanford’s own Three Rhapsodies Op 92, written specially for him in the summer of 1904. The music of these dances is based on traditional Irish folk tunes which Stanford selected from his own edition of The Complete Petrie Collection of Ancient Irish Music. The first dance, A March-Jig (Maguire’s Kick) is based on two melodies, the main tune, ‘Maguire’s Kick’, being combined with a jig from County Leitrim. Irish rebels had used the primary tune as a marching air in 1798. The entire thematic material for A Slow Dance is taken from a long and varied tune named ‘Madame Cole’, described as ‘one of Carolan’s finest airs’. It was composed by the blind Irish harper Turlough O’Carolan (1670–1738) for the marriage in 1719 of John Cole of Florence Court, County Fermanagh, to Jane Saunderson of County Cavanagh. Grainger points out that this tune is more redolent of the art music of the seventeenth century than of the Irish countryside. In some parts of Ireland, country folk still believe in the existence of leprechauns, tiny fairies who wear tall hats and knee-breeches. The Leprechaun’s Dance is a delicate movement consisting of two tunes in 9/8 time, a ‘Jig’ and a ‘Hop Jig’. The final number of the set, A Reel, opens and closes with a section based on a rollicking Cork reel engagingly titled ‘Take her out and air her’. This is contrasted with a graceful middle episode built around the winsome melody ‘The cutting of the hay’.

from notes by Barry Peter Ould © 2002

Other albums featuring this work
'Grainger: Piano Music' (CDA66884)
Grainger: Piano Music
'Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings' (APR7501)
Percy Grainger – The complete 78-rpm solo recordings
MP3 £16.49FLAC £16.49ALAC £16.49 APR7501  Download only  
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