This recording is the World Premiere of Charles Koechlin's Jungle Book and received the Orchestral Gramophone Award and was, memorably, accepted by the son of the composer. Charles Koechlin loved Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book and set different parts of the book to music at various points in his career. The first of these - The Three Poems - bear the titles: Seal Lullaby, Night Song in the Jungle and Song of Kala Nag, with texts from The Jungle Book. The music, scored during 1904 - 04, is exotic and evocative. The lullaby mimics the gently lapping of waves as the soprano and chorus spin a soothing tapestry of sound. The Night-Song in the Jungle had a cadence that suggests movement (sung by the soprano, tenor, baritone and chorus) and is a song of well-wishing to the animals of the night. The Song of Kala Nag is a lament of an elephant that has been tamed for his old life in the jungle, sung by the tenor. The poem describes a night in the year when all of the elephants gather to dance together and, rather than being somber, the music is triumphant as the elephant recounts his past freedom and vows to have it again.
This reissue commemorates the 50th anniversary of Grainger’s death in February 1961. Harmonium, four guitars, two mandolas, two mandolins, two ukuleles, piccolo, three clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, contrabassoon, two alto saxophones, horn, strings, piano, baritone and choir: and that’s just the scoring for one piece, the famous sea shanty Shallow Brown. Grainger’s Jungle Book cycle was recorded here (for the original Hyperion release) for the first time. The eleven contrasting movements vividly portray the sentiments of Kipling’s poetry and Grainger wrote of the cycle that it was ‘composed as a protest against civilization’.
Rudyard Kipling's famous tale tells the story of Mowgli, the 'man-cub' rescued from the tiger, Shere Khan, and adopted by a wolf pack. As he grows up, Mowgli learns the ways of the jungle from Baloo the bear, Bagheera the black panther and Kaa the rock python. His life is full of adventure with the jungle creatures, but soon the time comes when he is forced to leave and take his place among his own people.