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.
6 years ago