Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sadomasochism in an English country garden

At no time in his life after the age of about fifteen did Grainger abandon his sadistic and masochistic pleasure-seeking. Blood-letting was often part of his activities and he nearly always laundered his own shirts because of the telltale bloodstains. With the possible exception of Mimi Kwast, all his girlfriends were to be drawn into his particular form of lovemaking and there is ample photographic evidence of this. Several photographs exist which he took himself after one of his bouts of auto-flagellation. An indication of his extraordinary mentality can be detected from the fact that as he stood before the camera lens with bleeding wounds he also held up a notice which gave details not only of the exact time of day, location of session and number of lashes with what kind of whip, but also the type of film used in the camera and the exposure and aperture. Whenever he went on tour he took a selection of several dozen whips with him.
From Percy Grainger by John Bird (ISBN 0571117171 - OP). Photo is my European LP pressing of the classic 1959 recording by Frederick Fennell and the Eastman-Rochester "Pops" Orchestra of Grainger's music. It still is available as a CD transfer coupled with a 1965 recording by Fennell of Eric Coates' The Three Elizabeths. It is worth noting that the stunning sound on the 1959 Grainger sessions was produced by a woman, Mercury's legendary Wilma Cozart Fine. She also produced Antal Dorati's still-unbeatable Firebird for Mercury; more on that here.

+ Percy Grainger died on 20 February 1961.

Reblogged from April 2009. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk Also on Facebook and Twitter.

4 comments:

Pliable said...

How long before the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden commissions an operatic treatment of Grainger's life with a libretto by Richard Thomas?

P. M. Doolan said...

His "Selected letters 1914-1961" is quite revealing, as is his "Notes on whip lust" from 24 December 1948.

Pliable said...

Notes on whip lust - I think you have just given the ROH the title for that new opera.

Tim said...

http://www.abc.net.au/classic/weekendafternoons/musicmakers.htm

the first of a series on Grainger aired yesterday Australian time on ABC classic FM if anyone is interested in following up. available to stream (& possibly download if you have the right software...)