Themes from "Green Bushes"

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (arr. Larry Daehn)

Subtitle: Passacaglia on an English Folksong

General Info

Year: 1906 / 1987
Duration: c. 4:05
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Daehn Publications
Cost: Score and Parts - $60.00   |   Score Only - $7.00


Full Score
C Piccolo/Flute
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
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion, including:

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


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Themes from Green Bushes is subtitled “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


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) High School Honor Band (John Leonard, conductor) - 29 January 2023
  • Wheaton College (Ill.) Symphonic Band (Brady McNeil, conductor) - 7 October 2022
  • Barbers Hill Symphonic Band (Mont Belvieu, Tx.) (Andrew Kier, conductor) – 19 May 2022
  • Toronto (Ont., Can.) Youth Wind Orchestra (Colin Clarke, conductor) - 20 March 2022
  • Ohio University (Athens) Symphonic Band I (Max Van Dyne, conductor) - 28 September 2021
  • Northeastern State University (Talhequah, Okla.) Wind Ensemble (Andrew R. Pearson, conductor) - 27 February 2021
  • University of Texas at Tyler Wind Ensemble (Jeffrey Emge, conductor) - 10 October 2019
  • Northeastern Wisconsin (Marinette) Concert Band (Robert Berndt, conductor) – 5 May 2019
  • West Chester University (Penn.) Concert Band (Andrew Yozviak, conductor) – 27 February 2020
  • Penn State University (University Park) Concert Band (Gregory Drane, conductor) – 26 February 2020
  • Wartburg College (Waverly, Iowa) Senior Honor Band (Jack Stamp, conductor) – 2 February 2019
  • Sacramento (Calif.) Symphonic Winds (Tim Smith, conductor) – 8 December 2019
  • Rivers School Conservatory (Weston, Mass.) Youth Wind Ensemble (Jason Bielik, conductor) – 1 December 2019
  • 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)

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works


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