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  • Ian Passmore

Music that doesn't suck, No. 4: Mama's Boy Edition!

For Mother's Day, I'm sharing one of the most beautiful pieces in the repertoire...by one of classical music's most unusual mama's boys!


The Australian composer Percy Grainger wrote his Colonial Song in 1911 as a "yule gift" for his mother Rose. Though the piece was originally composed for solo piano, Grainger, much like Charles Ives, often arranged his works to exist in multiple versions ... in this case: wind band, orchestra, and piano trio. This performance of the orchestral version features the BBC Philharmonic, conducted by Richard Hickox.


But wait... What about that whole "mama's boy" thing? Have you ever seen the movie Psycho or, even better, the TV series Bates Motel? Well, Grainger had a very similar, way-too-close relationship with his syphilitic mother Rose, all the way up until her death by self-defenestration (look it up) in 1922.


If you've never heard of Percy Grainger, I encourage you to explore more of his music and read a bit about him. Both his music and his life are endlessly fascinating. Here's that Colonial Song performance, as well as an article about his life to get you started. Happy listening and reading...and Happy Mother's Day! :)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wkJWTsIj30


https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-lust-branch-private-matters-of-eccentric-musician-percy-grainger


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