Grainger, Ginastera ~ Composer ABCs

This letter was hard to pick; there are quite a few other composers I could have included. But top of my list had to be Grainger. Percy Grainger’s Children’s March is one that happily frolicks in my head many a day and I love it. Grainger’s pieces were always a joy to perform and I still love listening to them. Alberto Ginastera had to go on the list because, as a French horn player, he wrote fabulous pieces that were transcribed for wind ensemble. They were challenging but tons of fun.

Percy Grainger

Percy Grainger was born in Australia in 1882 to an architect/engineer father and a mother who encouraged his visual and musical art abilities. He learned to play piano first and then added harmony studies and composition later. He was primarily known as a pianist for a long time, commanding top performance fees and playing to sold-out crowds.

When he was about 11, he had his debut concert and was well received. He and his mother (his father had left) moved to Europe when he was 13 so that Grainger could continue his studies. He enrolled in Hoch Conservatorium in Frankfurt, Germany, to study composition and piano. In 1901, he then moved to London. While in London, he became known worldwide as a pianist. He also began to collect English folk songs which made their way into his compositions. Some examples of these folk songs influencing his music are found in the excepts shared here: Country Gardens, Over The Hills and Far Away (The Children’s March), and Lincolnshire Posy. These are well known and universally played band arrangements.

Grainger is also well known for championing the music of the Nordic lands and peoples. Frederick Delius and Edvard Grieg were two important friendships that Grainger maintained.

In 1914, Grainger moved to America. He became a naturalized citizen. He lived in America the rest of his life, though he was constantly touring and visiting both Australia and Europe. Grainger became very involved in educational works and set up a museum in his name in Melbourne, his birthplace. As he aged, he continued to perform and to write and revise his works. He gave his final performance less than a year before his death in 1960.

Note – There are some hints (and perhaps more blantant statements than I found) of unseemly behavior on the part of his father in some of the resources out there. Just a note prior to having students research.

This is the first movement of the suite and it should continue playing on through all movements. If it doesn’t, you can watch on YouTube and it will play all movements. It is worth listening to them all.

Additional Resources on Percy Grainger:


This is a movement from Estancia

Alberto Ginastera (pronounced with the Spanish J/H sound) was born in 1916 in Argentina. He is considered one of the America’s most important 20th century composers. Born in Buenos Aires, he studied music privately as a child and then enrolled in the National Conservatoire of Music there. Beginning composing in his youth, he won his first prize in 1934 with Piezas Infantiles for piano. Also in 1934 he wrote Impresiones de la Puna, for flute & string quartet. These pieces and the next ones that he wrote featured heavily the authentic sounds and folk music of his native country Argentina. Through about 1947, he wrote strongly nationalistic pieces.

In the late 1940s, he traveled to the USA on a Guggenheim fellowship and studied with Aaron Copland. From this point forward, Ginastera’s music began to change a bit and featured less obvious folk melodies, though they were still present. Following a year in the US, he returned to Argentina and continued composing. His works through this period continued to focus on the sights and sounds of the Gaucho traditions.

In the late 1950s, Ginastera’s style changed yet again to a much more 20th century style. He still called upon the Gaucho tradition and traditional melodies but they are not so easy to recognize in his music. He also began using the serial techniques and 12 tone techniques popular with composers such as Berg. Throughout his life, Ginastera was an influential composer who touched many of the composers to come after him in Argentina. He wrote in all genres, though not really more prolific in one than in another.

In researching this post, I found out that Ginastera wrote some amazing pieces for individual instruments. One of those was the harp. This blog post by Yolanda Kondonassis was quite interesting to read about playing one of Ginastera’s harp pieces. There are some track previews available on the post showing off the unique writing Ginastera did for the harp.

Further resources for Alberto Ginastera:

Lori, At Home.

Thank you for joining me this week for Composer ABCs. Please visit the hosts to find the linky and other participants.

Desiree @ Our Homeschool Notebook and
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

Composer ABCs in this series:
A – Leroy Anderson
B – Bernstein, Bizet, Bax
C – Copland
D – Debussy and de Meij
E – Elgar
F – Fauré

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13 thoughts on “Grainger, Ginastera ~ Composer ABCs

  1. Desiree W May 26, 2021 at 1:04 am Reply

    Love listening to the music in the videos! Also, those uniforms that they are wearing are so colorful and fun for an orchestra!

    • 3gigglygirlsathome May 26, 2021 at 8:26 am Reply

      I agree – they are quite colorful uniforms. And most of the fun of this series is for me to sit and listen to the music, too.

  2. Ellen May 26, 2021 at 10:16 am Reply

    You are right. Frolic is a good word to describe that Children’s March. I love the Country Gardens piece. I wish I could play it as well as he does, but then I would be famous!

  3. […] Chareen at Every Bed of RosesG is for Going to the Movies by Kristen at A Mom’s Quest to TeachGrainger, Ginastera – Composer ABC’s by Lori at At Home: Where Life HappensG is for Giraffe by Lori at At Home: Where Life […]

  4. Holst ~ Composer ABCs | At Home May 31, 2021 at 10:28 am Reply

    […] Composer ABCs in this series:A – Leroy AndersonB – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and Ginastera […]

  5. Ives ~ Composer ABCs | At Home June 7, 2021 at 8:48 am Reply

    […] – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – […]

  6. […] – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – HolstI – […]

  7. Kern – Composer ABCs | At Home June 21, 2021 at 12:50 pm Reply

    […] BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – HolstI […]

  8. Liszt ~ composer ABCs | At Home June 30, 2021 at 11:14 am Reply

    […] – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – HolstI – IvesJ – Joplin and JanacekK – […]

  9. […] – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – HolstI – IvesJ – Joplin and JanacekK – KernL – […]

  10. Nelson ~ Composer ABCs | At Home July 19, 2021 at 10:07 pm Reply

    […] – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – HolstI – IvesJ – Joplin and JanacekK – KernL – LisztM – […]

  11. Offenbach ~ Composer ABCs | At Home July 27, 2021 at 11:40 am Reply

    […] – Bernstein, Bizet, BaxC – CoplandD – Debussy and de MeijE – ElgarF – FauréG – Grainger and GinasteraH – HolstI – IvesJ – Joplin and JanacekK – KernL – LisztM – MussorgskyN – […]

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