Arrival Platform Humlet (tr Patterson)

From Wind Repertory Project
Percy Aldridge Grainger

Percy Aldridge Grainger (trans. Donald Patterson)

General Info

Year: 1916 / 2011
Duration: c. 2:30
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Various
Publisher: U.S. Marine Band
Cost: Score and Parts - Unpublished

This work may be downloaded free from the U.S. Marine Band.


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III-IV
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Big Drum
  • Crash Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Gong
  • Marimba, Steel
  • Marimba, wooden I-II (II optional)
  • Side Drum
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The Arrival Platform Humlet is a characteristic ‘Graingerism’. Composed in the same period as the The Sussex Mummers' Christmas Carol, it is scored for any of the following: solo viola, a group of violas, an oboe, cor anglais, bassoon, or a group of these instruments -- or, further, by a solo voice or unison chorus. Grainger himself put it like this: "Originally conceived for middle-fiddle single, or massed middle-fiddles, or double-reed single, or massed double-reeds, or as a humlet for a single voice or chorus of voices." This, then, gives the clue to the extraordinary title.

Grainger goes on to describe what he means: "Awaiting the arrival of a belated train bringing one’s sweetheart from foreign parts: great fun! The sort of thing one hums to oneself as an accompaniment to one’s tramping feet as one happily, excitedly, paces up and down the arrival platform." This ‘humlet’, or little hum, was apparently written in Liverpool Street and Victoria Stations, London, in 1908.

- Program Note by Paul Spicer

In June 1916, Grainger was invited to compose a piece for the Norfolk Festival of Music in Connecticut. He collected and orchestrated four unrelated pieces whose origins stretched back to 1905 and titled it In a Nutshell. As was usual for him, the piano figured as a central instrument in each, buttressed by a large percussion section, including the tuned Swiss staff bells, and a steel marimba. The premiere was a huge success, despite some demurrings over the 'vulgarity' of the final movement. 'If it wasn't vulgar,' Rose retorted, 'it wouldn't be Percy!'

The first movement of the collection, Arrival Platform Humlet, also exists as a single piece in a generous array of other versions: for piano solo, piano four-hands, for solo 'resonaphone' (marimba), solo violin, solo viola, and these qualities of motion through persistent rhythmic solo oboe (or multiples of those instruments). Like nearly all his music from this time, the piece is dedicated to Rose.

Unique amongst Grainger's pieces, this short snapshot is devoid of harmony as a single melodic line bustles along. Grainger [has] it as 'the sort of thing one hums to oneself as an accompaniment to one's tramping feet as one happily, excitedly, paces up and down arrival platforms, great fun!'

The edition of Arrival Platform Humlet performed at this concert, with the edited orchestration by Master Sargent Donald Patterson, is on gracious loan from "The President's Own" United States Marine Band.

- Program Note adapted from Sydney Symphony

Commercial Discography


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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