If you want to meet the man, says the British-Australian pianist, try really listening to his music.
An English musician friend, Dr William Reed, once asked me “You’re Australian, why don’t you play some Grainger?” A friend had a score so I took a look at it, and thought “This is quite tricky, I think I’ll stick to Bartók.” I didn’t follow it up until, like a lot of people, I was given a copy of an LP that Benjamin Britten produced in 1969 called Salute to Percy Grainger. That recording absolutely got me hooked. I read two biographies and thought Grainger would make an interesting lecture recital, and so I learned about 15 of the pieces.
Penelope Thwaites and Timothy Young
Later on I became a member of the Grainger Society, and one of them, Barry Peter Ould, turned out to have a considerable collection of Grainger’s music. Barry had been able to go over to White Plains where Grainger’s widow was still living and bring back some scores from her archive. He built-up a detailed knowledge, not as a practising musician, but as a publisher and music enthusiast,...