Warriors, The

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (trans. Frank Pappajohn)

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Subtitle: Music to an Imaginary Ballet

General Info

Year: 1916 / 1998
Duration: c. 18:00
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra and two pianos
Publisher: Ludwig Masters
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $300.00   |   Score Only (print) - $60.00


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Subtitled Music to an Imaginary Ballet, The Warriors was begun in 1913. In a letter to a mutual friend of Grainger and Frederick Delius, he wrote: "I have begun a completely new piece, The Warriors. Ballet music without ballet, completely different from all my previous things (harmonic sense is given up as much as possible, the chords and the voice leading advance freely almost without reference to each other...").

In the score, Grainger writes: “The Warriors, which is dedicated to Frederick Delius, was begun in London in December 1913, and ended in San Francisco in December 1916, the bulk of it being composed in London and New York City. It was premiered in the spring of 1917 at the Norfolk (Connecticut) Music Festival. "

- Program Note from Heritage Encyclopedia of Band Music

No definite program or plot underlines the music, though certain mind pictures set it going. Often the scenes of a ballet have flitted before the eyes of my imagination in which the ghosts of male and female warrior types of all times and places are spirited together for an orgy of war-like dances, processions and merry-makings broken, or accompanied, by amorous interludes, their frolics tinged with just that faint suspicion of wistfulness all holiday gladness wears. I see the action of the ballet shot thru, again and again, with the surging onslaughts of good-humoredly mischievous revellers who carry all before them in the pursuit of voluptuous pleasures. At times the lovemakers close at hand hear from afar the proud passages of harnessed fighting men, and for the final picture I like to think of them all lining up together in brotherly fellowship and wholesale animal glee; all bitter and vengeful memories vanished, all hardships forgot, a sort of Valhalla gathering of childishly overbearing and arrogant savage men and women of all the ages, -- the old Greek heroes with fluttering horse-haired helms, shining black Zulus, their perfect limbs lit with fire-red blossoms, flaxen-haired Vikings clad in scarlet and sky-blue, lithe bright Amazons in wind-wept garments side by side with squat Greenland women in ornately patterned furs, Red Indians resplendent in bead-heavy dresses and negrito Fijians terrible with sharks' teeth ornaments, their woolly hair dyed pale ochre with lime, graceful cannibal Polynesians of both sexes, their golden skins wreathed with flowers and winding tendrils, -- these and all the rest arm in arm in a united show of gay and innocent pride and animal spirits, fierce and exultant.

- Program Note by composer


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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