Original Folksong settings

‘Grainger inspired me to find more minimal approaches within my arranging. I embraced his style of using English performance directions such as ‘pure’, warm’ or ‘heavy’ and enjoyed mimicking his chromatic harmonic movements, cheeky syncopated backings and soaring countermelodies to give my writing some of the qualities found in these fascinating yet little known compositional techniques.

The two folksongs I set myself, The Young Fisherman’ and ‘Blow, Ye Bully Boys, Blow’ were informed completely by the content of Grainger’s transcriptions, the history behind the songs and the narrative within the lyrics themselves.

It was both stimulating and freeing to have such beautiful melodies to work with as thematic material. I incorporated them into my compositions in two ways: firstly, I sought to understand the storylines’ morality tale, for example, the revelation of the fisherman’s wealth and maturity; secondly, I explored more general themes existing within the works in the context of the 19th century. Some of these themes included rural life, economic insecurity, the legacy of slavery and the natural world.’