Grainger Studies

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    Grainger, early music, democracy and freedom,
    Gillies, Malcolm (University of Melbourne Library, 2011)
    Journal Article
    Percy Grainger was known to shock his musical peers with his dismissal of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven as writers of 'jazz classics'. He himself, he claimed, wished to promote quite different values, believing that the value of art music depended on the extent to which it was 'intrinsically many-voiced or democratic'. Identifying a fundamental divide in musical history with Joseph Haydn, Grainger claimed that the so-called Classical and Romantic eras of music were creative dark ages and the natural enemy of democratic musical values. Furthermore, that instrument which accrued such influence during Mozart's and Haydn's lifetimes, the piano, was a subsidiary devil because of its harmonic and homophonic bias and rapid decay in tone. This article considers how Grainger believed music could be more democratic, and in particular, how early music, revealed to him through Arnold Dolmetsch and his Haslemere Festivals, could encapsulate so many of the freedoms he found lacking in the more formalised music of later eras.