The Rival Brothers
relates a story from the Viking age. A man called Arngrim has two sons, Angantyr and Hjálmar the Champion. Angantyr hears that a bonder, in lands-beyond-the-sea, has a comely daughter, so the brothers build a swift cutter and set out to woo the girl. The melody is an original tune and not based on folk-song; the words have been ‘Englished’ by Grainger from a folk-ballad contained in V U Hammershaimb’s Færøiske Kvæder
, Vol 2 (Copenhagen, 1855). Grainger’s work on this piece dates from 1905 with further revisions following in 1931, 1938, 1940 and 1943. It was ‘dished-up’ for piano solo and for piano duet in July 1932 as part of a projected collection of keyboard pieces to be called The Easy Grainger
or The Music Lover’s Grainger
. As with all Færoese folk-ballads there are many verses but in this case Grainger is very selective and chooses to set only three out of the possible twenty-one verses given in his manuscript sketches.
from notes by Barry Peter Ould © 1996