Sunday, 8 August 2010

You remember that rainy evenin'...

Yesterday went round to the farm for a musical evening. Fantastic food and lots of wine as usual, followed by the traditional piano duets: The Dolly Suite, The Entry of the Queen of Sheba and Country Gardens. The latter two are quite funny after a few drinks (especially if it's the pianists who've drunk them). Mum's friend Wendy had brought a Ukulele with her and so had I. There was a spare ukulele, too, so we gave Peter, fresh from the piano, a crash-course in uke and we all played Edelweiss and The Sloop John B among other things. Joan played the piano and I swapped ukulele for bass and Joan and I thrashed Bill Bailey (we're talking about the song here, not the comedian). I wish I could remember the words.  I've just checked them out on Wikipedia. I never knew that in the Simpsons episode, Whacking Day Abe Simpson is seen posing as a female cabaret singer in Nazi Germany, singing the song to Adolf Hitler. You learn something every day. I'll have to watch out for it.

Percy Grainger, by the way, was an interesting chap. The Australian composer is remembered today mainly for his folk song pieces (like Country Gardens) but he was quite an innovator, who worked with hand-built music making machines designed to compose music unconstrained by the usual conventions of pitch and rhythm. Unfortunately, I don't think any machine-composed music by him exists, so exactly what Grainger's "free music" sounds like will have to remain the stuff of imagination.


the watercats said...

that's my kind of piano!... How the hell does it control the soft/hard of the notes being played though..?... I must go and ponder this thing for a while, before searching it out in google... (ever wonder how lazy our brains must be getting since the invention of tinterwebs?)

tony said...

On the strength of your post i looked-up Percy on wiki what an interesting bloke!

Ann ODyne said...

I do wish I had been at your Uke-Fest.
I blogged Percy Granger a while back and his clothing range must be seen to be believed.

Totalfeckineejit said...

If that's the invisible man, tell him I can't see him.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Snap - I posted about our fun evening too!
I once saw a TV programme on Percy Grainger - he was a real eccentric - but his arrangments are so very musical and whimsical - Country Gardens is hard to play but great fun. Each time Peter and I play it I think I get it a little more accurate - but as you say - the more wine I drink the less I am bothered about accuracy.

Von said...

Glad you like our Percy..we have lots more like him!

Von said...

PS I was born in Brighton too but only dress in towels in Summer.
I've borrowed your links for an organ-grinder mate who might be interested, thank you.

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments, everybody.

the watercats: I don't know. Just checked out Wikipedia: "Reproducing pianos can also re-create the dynamics of a pianist's performance by means of specially encoded control perforations placed towards the edges of a music roll, but this coding was never recorded automatically."

tony: he is, isn't he?

Ann O'Dyne: I dropped in on your page. Interesting post. Great minds think alike!

TFE: lol! (What are you doing under the piano? I'm hidin'. No your not - Haydn died years ago!)

Weaver: Yes - it was good to have two accounts, I thought. And you added the pictures.

Von: The wonders of the internet. 40 years ago, if you'd had a chat about PG the chances of an Australian joining in were remote to say the least!

Ann ODyne said...

'an Australian'? You got two** of us, and I lived in Brighton the Melbourne suburb) and have seen Percy's house there.
Percy got around the world a fair bit, and his story is truly richly amazing.

**and I was pleased to meet Von here and her blog has taken me on to another place I am glad to be.
interwebz rulez!