From the Collection February 2020

The Grainger Museum is extremely grateful to David Rezits for the donation of a published score of the two-piano version of Lincolnshire Posy, autographed by Percy Grainger.

Lincolnshire Posy - arranged for two pianos, four hands, by Percy Grainger

The front cover of Lincolnshire Posy, by Percy Grainger, version for 2 pianos 4 hands

Some say Percy Grainger's 1937 composition, Lincolnshire Posy, is his masterwork. It's a suite of six brilliantly arranged folk melodies, or "musical wildflowers" that Grainger collected together with Lucy Broadwood on field trips in Lincolnshire, UK, around 1905-6. The piece reflects his fascination not only for folk songs, but in particular for the individual personalities of the singers he encountered during these folk song collecting outings.

Lincolnshire Posy was groundbreaking in the way Grainger disregarded conventional approaches to setting folk music in favour of irregular and erratic (and sometimes completely absent) meter, bespoke ornamentation and stylistically varied expression. The result is a collection of six snapshots of very different performances, each of which vividly portray the unique personalities and styles of the singers from whom Grainger learned the source material.

'The Posy', as many know it, remains a staple of wind band repertoire to this day, testament to Grainger's masterful writing for what was a relatively new medium at the time. A less well-known adaptation of the piece is this re-working for two pianos, four hands, which Grainger completed in early 1938, shortly after finishing the manuscript for the original wind band version.

The Grainger Museum is extremely grateful to David Rezits, son of the late Joseph Rezits, for the donation of this score of the two-piano version of Lincolnshire Posy, inscribed by Percy Grainger himself:

To Joseph Rezits,
In boundless admiration of his great talent, excellent training & unusual application & wishing him the brilliant career he so richly deserves.
- Percy Grainger
Interlochen, Aug 22, 1942

David Rezits notes: “My father Joseph was a concert pianist and professor of music at Indiana University for many years. He studied with Percy Grainger at National Music camp [Interlochen, MI, USA] when he was in high school and later became an expert on this famous composer, giving various lectures internationally. I’m not sure of the dates but I know he did speak in Melbourne also on two trips he made to Australia.” In late 2019, Joseph advised David that he would like the single piece of sheet music for Lincolnshire Posy, that Percy Grainger autographed to Joseph, to be given to the Grainger Museum.

Of the two-piano version, Thomas Lewis notes, in ‘Source guide to the music of Percy Grainger’:
"The two-piano version is, I believe, [Grainger's] best piece for that combination and, especially considering that, like almost all of Grainger's keyboard works, it is a transcription, it is at once very aptly written for the medium and by no means a poor reflection of the band version even if the sonority is completely different.”

Jon Drews, Grainger Museum, February 2020

Image: Front cover of Percy Grainger: 'Lincolnshire Posy', for military band, version for two pianos, no 35, published by Schott & Co, London, 1940. Grainger Museum Collection. Donated by David Rezits in memory of his father, Joseph Rezits (1925-2019), 2020.

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