Hyperion Records

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

'Grainger: Rambles and Reflections' (CDH55454)
Grainger: Rambles and Reflections
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55454  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
'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  
No 1: A March-Jig 'Maguire's Kick'
No 2: A Slow Dance
Track 7 on CDH55454 [4'33] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 3: The Leprechaun's Dance
Track 8 on CDH55454 [2'52] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 4: A Reel

Four Irish Dances
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

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDA66884 track 14
No 1: A March-Jig 'Maguire's Kick'
Recording date
10 January 1996
Recording venue
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Grainger: Piano Music (CDA66884)
    Disc 1 Track 14
    Release date: October 1996
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