Grainger was a great admirer of the music of Richard Strauss, considering him to be a genius and ‘a humane soul whose music overflowed with the milk of human kindness’. Meetings between the two composers took place on various occasions during the early part of the twentieth century, and Strauss was on at least two occasions to conduct Grainger’s music in Germany. Work commenced on the Ramble on Love
(‘Ramble on the love-duet in the opera “The Rose-Bearer” [Der Rosenkavalier] FSFM No 4’) before 1920. But it was his mother’s suicide in 1922 that drove Grainger to complete this most elaborate of all his piano paraphrases, with her name obliquely enshrined in the title. It is one of the most meticulously notated piano pieces in the repertoire, with copious use of the sostenuto (middle) pedal. An authentic interpretation requires the pianist to follow scrupulously Grainger’s numerous instructions. Thus the sumptuous sound world of Strauss is conjured up to dazzling effect in this transcription that marks the full range and summit of Grainger’s pianism.
from notes by Barry Peter Ould © 2002