The Childrenfs March: Over the Hills And Far Away
Percy Aldridge GRAINGER
(1882-1961)

The Childrenfs March: Over the Hills And Far Away is the only original work from Graingerfs military period, the other pieces are revisions of earlier works. Itfs one of the earliest pieces with the piano integrated in the orchestrafs instrumentation. As in more of his pieces, Grainger lets the piano player hit the strings with a percussion mallet. Because the Army bandfs instrumentation didnft allow the piece to be played originally, Grainger cued bits of the piano part into several wind parts.

For the first time the low reeds were used to successfully balance the woodwinds against the brass. This technique can also be found in Graingerfs later works for wind orchestra. As mentioned, this is an original piece, and itfs not based on a childrenfs song titled eOver The Hills and Far Awayf, as one may assume. The piece has an enigmatic subtitle: efor my playmate beyond the hillsf, but Grainger never said who this playmate was. Also worth mentioning are the optional singing bits, to be performed by the band members.

Grainger performed the premiere of the two piano version at a charity concert for the Red Cross in New York, 1919. Later, on June 6th that same year, the wind band version was premiered in the Columbia University by the Goldman Band, the composer conducting. During the recording of this piece by the Goldman Band in 1957, Grainger played the piano part himself.

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