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Themes from "Green Bushes"

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (arr. Larry Daehn)


Subtitle: A Passacaglia on an English Folksong


General Info

Year: 1906 / 1987
Duration: c. 3:45
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Daehn Publications
Cost: Score and Parts - $60.00   |   Score Only - $7.00


Instrumentation

Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute
Oboe
Bassoon
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
Cornets I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Euphonium
Tuba
String Bass
Timpani
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Marimba
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Vibraphone
  • Xylophone


Errata

None discovered thus far.


Program Notes

Themes from Green Bushes is subtitled “A Passacaglia on an English Folksong.” Of this work, originally written between 1905 and 1906, Percy A. Grainger wrote:

Among country-side folksongs in England, Green Bushes was one of the best known of folksongs -- and well it deserved to be, with its raciness, its fresh grace, its manly clear-cut lines. Green Bushes strikes me as being a typical dance, a type of song come down to us from the time when sung melodies, rather than instrumental music, held countryside dancers together. It seems to breathe that lovely passion for the dance that swept like a fire over Europe in the Middle Ages -- seems brimful of all the youthful joy and tender romance that so naturally seek an outlet in dancing.

Larry D. Daehn used excerpts from Grainger’s 1921 score to create this setting. Grainger’s original sources for this composition were 1) a folksong collected by Cecil Sharp, from the singing of Mrs. Louie Hooper of Hambridge, Somerset, and 2) the singing of Mr. Joseph Leaning at Brigg, Lincolnshire, collected by Grainger on August 7, 1906. Grainger collected ten different versions of Green Bushes (or Lost Lady Found or The Three Gypsies) during his folksong collecting career, and used one of them as the final movement of his Lincolnshire Posy in 1937.

- Program Note from Illinois State University Symphonic Band concert program, 23 April 2014


In setting such dance-folk songs (indeed, in setting all dance music) I feel that the unbroken and somewhat monotonous keeping-on-ness of the original should be preserved above all else.

The greater part of my passacaglia is many-voiced and free-voiced. Against the folk tune I have spun free counter-melodies of my own -- top tunes, middle tunes, bass tunes . . . The key-free harmonic neutrality of the folk song’s mixolydian mode opens the door to a wondrously free fellowship between the folk tune and these grafted-on tunes of mine.

My Green Bushes setting is thus seen to be a strict passacaglia throughout well-nigh its full length. Yet it became a passacaglia unintentionally. In taking the view that the Green Bushes tune is a dance-folk song... I was naturally led to keep it running like an unbroken thread through my setting, and in feeling prompted to graft upon it modern musical elements expressive of the swish and swirl of dance movements the many-voiced treatment came of itself.

The work is in no sense program music -- in no way does it musically reflect the story told in the verses of the Green Bushes song text. It is conceived, and should be listened to, as dance music (It could serve as ballet music.) ... as an expression of those athletic and ecstatic intoxications that inspire, are inspired by, the dance -- my newtime harmonies, voice-weavings and form-shapes being lovingly woven around the sterling old-time tune to in some part replace the long-gone but still fondly mind-pictured festive-mooded country-side dancers, their robust looks, body actions and heart-stirs.”

Program Note by Larry D. Daehn


Commercial Discography


Audio Links

Reference recording. Ensemble and conductor unknown


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


Performances

To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Boston University (Mass.) Concert Band (Jennifer Bill, conductor) – 30 April 2019
  • Ithaca (N.Y.) College Concert Band (Joseph Missal, conductor) – 4 March 2019
  • Texas Community College Band Directors Association (TCCBDA) Symphonic Band (Phillip Clements, conductor) - 16 February 2019 (2019 TMEA Conference, San Antonio)
  • Colorado Wind Ensemble (Highlands Ranch) (David Kish, conductor) – 16 December 2018
  • University of Iowa (Iowa City) University Band (Nolan Hauta, conductor) – 3 December 2018
  • Belmont University (Nashville, Tenn.) Concert Band (Barry Kraus, conductor) – 28 November 2018
  • Texas A&M University (College Station) Symphonic Band (Russell Tipton, conductor) – 18 November 2018
  • Kent State (Ohio) Symphony Band (John D. Franklin, conductor) – 30 September 2018
  • University of Mount Olive (N.C.) Wind Ensemble (Franklin Gross, conductor) - 12 April 2018
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Power Band (Ray Velasquez, conductor) – 27 March 2018
  • Canyon Crest Academy (San Diego, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Amy Villanova, conductor) – 23 February 2018
  • Austin (Texas) Symphonic Band (Richard Floyd, conductor) - 11 February 2018
  • Rollins College (Winter Park, Fla.) Wind Ensemble (Jeremy Umlauf, conductor) – 7 November 2017
  • Salt Lake (Salt Lake City, Utah) Symphonic Winds (Thomas P. Rohrer, conductor) – 10 October 2017
  • Illinois State University (Normal) Symphonic Band (Polly K. Middleton, conductor) – 5 October 2017
  • Lamar University (Beaumont, Tex.) Wind Ensemble (Andrew McMahan, conductor) – 5 October 2017
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Maroon Campus Band (Jonathan Soderberg-Chase, conductor) – 6 March 2017
  • Oklahoma State University (Stillwater) Concert Band (Mallory Brooks, conductor) – 2 March 2017
  • Indiana State University Wind Symphony (Nikk Pilato, conductor) - 16 February 2017
  • San Francisco Wind Ensemble (John Carnahan, conductor) – 28 January 2017
  • Aragon High School (San Mateo, Calif.) Wind Ensemble (John Carnahan, conductor) – 28 January 2017
  • California State University Wind Symphony (John Alan Carnahan, conductor) – 6 October 2016


Works for Winds by this Composer


References

  • Darling, John A. Theme from 'Green Bushes'. MBM Times, Issue 6 (2012), 58.