The original two Decca 'Salute to Percy Grainger' LPs were my first introduction to the wonderful music of Percy Grainger, and for many years the only CD reissue had been the material from the first LP (conducted by Benjamin Britten), with additional tracks from the second (conducted by Steuart Bedford), to make a generously filled 73 minute mid-price collection.
Now, we have a two disc reissue of everything from both LPs. Disc one is identical to the previous CD release, and disc two has the previously unavailable tracks from the 2nd LP, and they are a joy. It has been such a pleasure to hear them again. The setting of 'Under a Bridge' is particularly interesting, with its arrangement for tuned-percussion, and the very simple rendition of 'Six Dukes went a-fishin'' is lovely. A bonus is to have Eliot Gardiner's spirited performance of the completely over-the-top 'The Warriors', which could only be bettered by hearing it live (as I have).
There have been lots of Grainger recordings, and many are very fine, but no one has even come close to matching these performances for sensitivity and sympathy to Grainger's unique style and distinctive sound-world. The recordings still sound remarkably fresh, and I would recommend this collection without reservation to anyone who has even a passing interest in Grainger's music. Music making of the very highest calibre, and a real bargain as well.