Price: $400.00


The important Australian-American composer, pianist, conductor and musicologist autographs and dedicates a 7.5” x 9.5” matte, double-weight photograph to the United States Air Force bandmaster, Chief Warrant Officer Adam Benjamin Shaffer Jr., ...in warm admiration of his superb musicianship... May, 1943.


 Grainger (1882-1961) grew up in Melbourne, Australia the most European of the major Australian cities which was rife with British military bands.  He was trained in the German Romantic tradition. His Australian piano teacher was German immigrant Louis Pabst.  At thirteen he was sent to the Frankfurt Hochschule für Musik where he studied with pianist James Kwast and composer Ivan Knorr.  After a few years of successful piano recitals, he went to Berlin to study with his friend Ferruccio Busoni which did not work out due to philosophical differences. Grainger then went back to Great Britain and became a musical folklorist, taking a portable recording machine to the country regions there to memorialize traditional folk music, which he used throughout his life in his works.  Grainger befriended composers like Edward Elgar and Ralph Vaughan-Williams who were already famous and not the direction he wished to go musically.  He befriended Frederick Delius and they meshed philosophically and he even shared some of his folk music with Delius.  He met Edvard Grieg in 1906 and they two spent time together both in London and Trollheim, Norway.  Grieg was especially fond of Grainger’s performance of his music.  However, the Norwegian composer passed the next year.  Grainger fell in love with Scandinavia and was able to visit Delius in his Summer home there.  Scandinavia shaped Grainger and perhaps was the impetus of some bigotry.


Grainger, highly successful as a concert pianist and recitalist decided to go to the United States in 1914.  Three reasons led to the move, first the start of World War I and he was not in favor of the War and did not wish to fight for Britain.  Second, because he wanted to be an Australian composer, not a British composer and stand on his own rather than be pigeon holed and third to give his mother a change of venue due to her health.  Grainger was faced with World War I in 1917 when Wilson ordered troops to Europe and eventually, he enlisted in the American Army as a bandsman.  Listed as a solo saxophonist, he never discussed the instrument in his writings, or interviews, but he did discuss learning the oboe.  Regardless he remained in the Army for a year until the end of the War.


Band music surrounded Grainger throughout his life.  First in Australia, then German, Britain and eventually in the United States.  Unlike most composers who would rely on an arranger to handle band arrangements, Grainger arranged his band music himself.  Almost everything was fair game for a band arrangement, especially the British folksongs he had gathered.  Perhaps his most famous work for band is the song cycle, “Lincolnshire Posy” written in various forms from 1905 to 1937, it was available initially as a four-hand piano work, but was orchestrated for a variety of combinations including wind band and brass band. It is well performed today around the world by both concert and in parts marching band.  His “Marching Song of Democracy” originally written in 1901, was fully scored by Grainger for brass band in 1948.  Other tunes for band included, “Over the Hills and Far Away”, “Shepherd’s Hey”, “Irish Tune from County Derry” and “Colonial Song” are just a sample of the works he arranged for band.


Grainger spent World War II in service to the United States from 1941 until the end of the war he played some 274 charity recitals and concerts with band and orchestra both as pianist and conductor.  The vast majority of the concerts were for the Army and the Army Air Corps.  It would have been during one of those concerts that Grainger worked with Army Air Corps bandmaster Chief Warrant Officer Adam Benjamin Shaffer Jr. the dedicatee of this photograph.


Shaffer (1914-1998) was the Bandmaster of the Central Air Command from 1948 until his retirement in 1968.  At the time Grainger met him in 1943, Shaffer was the Bandmaster of the 320th Army Air Force Unit at Stewart Amy Air Field in Newburgh, New York. After Shaffer’s retirement he taught high school music and directed bands.



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