For numbers 5 and 6 in his series of Favourite Melodies, Grainger turned to an air by John Dowland (1563–1626). Now, oh now I needs must part
inspired Grainger to make not only two piano versions (concert and easy) but also an extended ‘ramble’ for tenor solo and wind band, which he called Bell Piece
. This concert version (FSFM No 5) dates from his Australian trip of 1935, and was written at ‘Claremont’, the home of his Aunt Clara in Adelaide. (The easy version, FSFM No 6—containing no big stretches, was written out in Segeltorp, Sweden, the following year.) In both piano settings the Dowland melody is heard twice: the first time with harmonies almost identical to the original lute accompaniment but adapted to pianistic technique, the second time with free harmonies and a tail-piece (coda) of Grainger’s own devising. The song was one that Grainger particularly liked to play and sing before retiring to bed.
from notes by Barry Peter Ould © 2002