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Distant Dreams: The correspondence of Percy Grainger and Burnett Cross, 1946-60 (paperback)

Edited by Teresa Balough and Kay Dreyfus, a collection of letters together with interviews, lectures and other writings on Free Music by Burnett Cross.
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Percy Grainger's childhood imagining of a music capable of reproducing the sounds of nature was translated, in his later life, into the creation of wondrously inventive "Free Music" machines. Mostly made from found materials, these machines take their place in a proud tradition of sound art, at a point where the aural and the visual intersect.

Two minds converged on the creation of the machines: the one self-taught and intuitive, the other scientifically trained and rigorous. The exchange of letters between the two men charts their journey of discovery and the friendship that grew from it: a grand passionate human adventure.

Table of Contents:

List of illustrations ix
Foreword by Warren Burt xi
Acknowledgements xiii
Editors’ note xiv

Introduction 1

PART 1 “A very happy occupation” 13
Correspondence between Percy Grainger and Burnett Cross, 1944–60

1946–49 (Letters 1–6) 14
1950 (Letters 6a–34) 21
1951–52 (Letters 35–55) 55
1953-55 (Letters 56–75) 84
1956–57 (Letters 76–97) 104
1958–60 (Letters 98–111) 126

PART 2 “A man of high intelligence and lively imagination” 139
Selected interviews, lectures and other writings on Free Music by Burnett Cross

Burnett Cross interviewed by Robert Trumble (1965) 140

“Last Grainger Free Music Machine” (1968) 144

Extract from “Grainger as I Saw Him” (1976) 152

“Free Music” (c. 1978) 154

Cross’s explanation of the Cross-Grainger Music Roller (1981) 160

“Free Music Machines Maintenance” (1986) 162

“The Last Free Music Machine” (1986) 166

“Collaborating with Percy Grainger” (1988) 167

“A Letter to the Editor: The Scientific Method Revisited” (1991) 170

Chronology of the letters 172
Select bibliography 174
Index 177

About the Editors:

Teresa Balough is an adjunct professor of music history at Eastern Connecticut State University. She received her PhD in musicology from The University of Western Australia and is the author of a number of books and monographs on Percy Grainger, including A Complete Catalogue of the Works of Percy Grainger (UWA 1975); Kipling and Grainger (Studies in Music 1977); A Musical Genius from Australia: Selected Writings by and about Percy Grainger (UWA 1982, 1997); The Inner Fire: Spirit and Evolving Consciousness in the Work of Percy Grainger (CIRCME 1994); May Human Beings Hear IT! IDRIART The Institute for the Development of Intercultural Relations through the Arts: Education for Social and Cultural Transformation through Music (CIRCME 1996); Comrades in Art: The Correspondence of Ronald Stevenson and Percy Grainger: 1957-61 (Toccata 2010).

Kay Dreyfus is an Associate in the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation (ACJC), Monash University. As Curator and Research Fellow at the Grainger Museum between 1974 and 1987, she edited The Farthest North of Humanness: Letters of Percy Grainger 1901–14 (South Melbourne, 1985), compiled the Museum’s catalogues of the music of Percy Grainger and authored a bibliographic study of the manuscript sources of Grainger’s Kipling settings (Nedlands, WA, 1980). In 1988 she received the International Percy Grainger Medal for her contribution to Grainger scholarship. She has since published on other topics, but in 2015 she co-edited, with Suzanne Robinson, a collection of essays on Grainger the Modernist (Farnham: Ashgate).

Published December 2020 | xvii, 182 p., ill. | ISBN: 9780734037947 (paperback) | $40.00 RRP

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