After some weeks of research, music setting and proof-reading, we are happy to be able to publish the "Friendly Grotesques" (four pieces for one pianoforte and four hands).
The piece was written for Fitzwilliam House’s May Week Concert on 3rd June 1953 and was intended to be an interlude between the two parts of Handel’s Acis and Galatea. At that first performance, the pianists were Thurston Dart and Allen Percival. For subsequent performances, the order of the four movements changed as did their titles. However, on the first night, they were:
- Tempo di turkey-trot
- Collapso: Tempo di Rhumboid
- Valse Hoqueteuse
- Fox-trot glissant
The second movement quotes from Schubert’s well-known Marche militaire, while the main theme at the start of the last movement is a quotation of one of the main themes of the first movement, which in turn derives from an organ voluntary Tranchell wrote in 1952 (which bears the note "The door of the organ-loft should be locked from the inside"). As one would by now expect, the piano-writing is highly idiomatic and demanding, while the dance rhythms engender a great sense of fun. For performances outside Cambridge, the tongue-in-cheek titles were replaced by more serious ones. For a performance by Peter and David Epps at Monkton Combe School in July 1959, the movements were entitled:
- Allegretto (Tempo di Turkey-trot)
- Allegro di molto
- Allegro leggiero
While at the concert given to inaugurate the Lecture Hall of the newly-built Fitzwilliam House in November 1963, when the pianists were Peter and David Atherton, the movement headings were:
- Tempo di Turkey-trot
- Valse d’ivresse
- Pas a quatre mains gauches
These are the titles in the manuscript used for this edition. We are making the full score freely available.