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Track(s) taken from CDA67967

Irish tune from County Derry

1911; British Folk Music Settings No 6; aslo known as 'Londonderry Air'

Piers Lane (piano)
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Studio Master:
Studio Master:
Recording details: June 2012
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Rachel Smith
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: September 2013
Total duration: 3 minutes 38 seconds

Cover artwork: Portrait of Piers Lane by John Beard (b1943)

Other recordings available for download

Marc-André Hamelin (piano)
The Cambridge Singers, John Rutter (conductor)


'This superbly recorded disc (played on a gorgeously voiced Steinway) is Lane's love letter to the piano. I wish more pianists would share their guilty pleasures like this' (Gramophone)

'Lane in wonderful, debonair mode here, sparkling through a personal encore selection from Jamaican Rumba to a Toccata by his own father, and from Myra Hess to Dudley Moore' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Puts smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes … Katharine Parker's Down Longford Way grows from an Ivor Novello-like charm into an opulently Romantic piece of striking contrast and colour, indeed the perfect choice with which to launch the disc. The playing throughout is first-class: witty where it needs to be, reflective and joyous elsewhere … Lane is a dynamic, insightful pianist who is able to bring a new perspective to the repertoire. His renditions of the Grainger and Bach / Hess pieces are quite beautiful, and in Mayerl's Marigold I can hardly imagine a more heartfelt account' (International Record Review)

'Piers Lane, one of the most versatile pianists around, presents many sides of himself in a selection of pieces that may seem topsy-turvy, incongruous even, but there are some wonderful and brilliant things here to be re-united with or discovered, and each piece is superbly played, with complete identification, and beautifully recorded too—just like a piano should sound, with all of Lane’s colours, dynamics and inflections faithfully relayed' (Classical Source)
As a loyal Australian I might be expected to appreciate the music of Percy Grainger (1882–1961), but I can’t imagine anyone not appreciating it. It’s so filled with humanity and imagination and glorious understanding of the instrument—nowhere better illustrated than in this setting of the Londonderry Air: Irish tune from County Derry (British Folk-Music Settings No 6). Grainger found it in The Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland. It had been submitted to the music collector George Petrie for publication in 1855, after Miss Jane Ross collected it from a local fiddle player. Grainger wrote:

For the following beautiful air I have to express my very grateful acknowledgement to Miss J. Ross, of New Town, Limavady, in the County of Londonderry—a lady who has made a large collection of the popular unpublished melodies of the county, which she has very kindly placed at my disposal, and which has added very considerably to the stock of tunes which I had previously acquired from that still very Irish county. I say still very Irish, for though it has been planted for more than two centuries by English and Scottish settlers, the old Irish race still forms the great majority of its peasant inhabitants; and there are few, if any counties in which, with less foreign admixture, the ancient melodies of the country have been so extensively preserved. The name of the tune unfortunately was not ascertained by Miss Ross, who sent it to me with the simple remark that it was ‘very old’, in the correctness of which statement I have no hesitation in expressing my perfect concurrence.

In 1902 Grainger set it for an a cappella mixed chorus. The solo piano version dates from 1911, but he arranged it eight times in all, including a rich version for piano quintet, which I’ve also enjoyed playing. The solo piano arrangement, with its tune starting in the tenor register, reminds one of all the sung Danny Boys one has ever heard. Grainger, like Chopin before him, knew perfectly how to make a piano sing. He also knew a thing or two about the emotional pull of certain harmonies. His fastidious pedal and expression marks complicate the page, but reveal again how much the man cared about music and its communication.

from notes by Piers Lane © 2013

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Grainger: Piano Music
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There is sweet music
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