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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: tjguitar on May 14, 2007, 04:44:52 PM

Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: tjguitar on May 14, 2007, 04:44:52 PM
Listening to his piano concerto. What an incredible work.  Very soothing. I like the interplay between piano and orchestra. Up there w/ Bax's "Winter Legends"


(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41RYBQZNS2L._AA240_.jpg)


Anyone else enjoy his work here?

I have very few Delius CDs, but the ones that I do, I can recommend:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51P4XX21YWL._AA240_.jpg)(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SQRTEMN1L._AA240_.jpg)(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FVGQBPJ8L._AA240_.jpg)




I am currently looking for a recording of his "Double Concerto for Violin, Cello and Orchestra."  Any recommendations?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Harry on May 14, 2007, 09:43:45 PM
Sure I like his music, and have some of it, but it never made a profound statement for me.
Nice enough but nothing more. Sweet rural music. I have the usual blockbusters, but did not play it for years.
Have to dive a little in his oeuvre. Thanks for bringing him up. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on May 14, 2007, 10:05:59 PM
I like the Piano Concerto and also the Requiem.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: springrite on May 14, 2007, 10:11:00 PM
Sure I like his music, and have some of it, but it never made a profound statement for me.
Nice enough but nothing more. Sweet rural music. I have the usual blockbusters, but did not play it for years.
Have to dive a little in his oeuvre. Thanks for bringing him up. :)

May I suggest some Delius works that are not among "the ususal suspects"? Try the violin sonatas. They are delightly. They are the only works by Delius that Vanessa loves. If they are good enough for Vanessa, surely Harry would love them as well!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Harry on May 14, 2007, 10:21:22 PM
May I suggest some Delius works that are not among "the ususal suspects"? Try the violin sonatas. They are delightly. They are the only works by Delius that Vanessa loves. If they are good enough for Vanessa, surely Harry would love them as well!

Absolutely Paul, I will fortwith try to find some recordings of it.
Feel free to give some suggestions. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: springrite on May 14, 2007, 10:41:34 PM
Absolutely Paul, I will fortwith try to find some recordings of it.
Feel free to give some suggestions. :)

From Conifer: Tasmin Little's recording.  ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Harry on May 14, 2007, 10:46:05 PM
From Conifer: Tasmin Little's recording.  ;D

On the order list!
Thanks.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 15, 2007, 03:33:23 AM
This is one of my favorite Delius recordings:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/goodmusic/DelMas.jpg)


This is another:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/goodmusic/DelMack.jpg)


Mackerras conducts Delius in a way that might convince skeptics of Delius's music: no dainty, lazy summer's walk in the country, scrupulously avoiding the cowpats, here. The music is full-blooded, passionate, with almost overwhelming climaxes.

The twofer contains: Brigg Fair, Florida Suite, In a Summer Garden, The Walk to the Paradise Garden, Two Aquarelles, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Summer Night on the River, Dance Rhapsody 1 and 2, and the relatively rare North Country Sketches.

Sarge
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on May 15, 2007, 05:12:17 AM
I really like Delius. He is just "different" and very orginal. I don't have too many of his CDs but do have these:

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41QBHXJ7A6L._AA240_.jpg)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41NDYRPX96L._AA240_.jpg)

which I kinda feel is enough for now since there are no duplicates.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Hector on May 15, 2007, 05:14:06 AM
I think that if it hadn't been for Beecham his music would have dropped into obscurity that many deserve but Delius, certainly, does not.

Died the same year as Elgar and Holst, it was Holst that was mourned the most because Elgar was old, Delius lived in the S of France and Holst was regarded as unfulfilled as a composer. This was the view in 1934, I hasten to add.

A bit hit and miss for me. He couldn't compose opera for toffee, no sense of the theatre, but his orchestral works have a quality that I find compelling having, when younger, found him a bore.

If the 'Florida Suite' doesn't do it for you I doubt whether anything he wrote will. Go on, prove me wrong!

German by inclination if not birth it has been our Scandinavian friends that have done the most for the composer's music in recent years.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: SonicMan46 on May 15, 2007, 08:24:35 AM
This is one of my favorite Delius recordings:...............................

This is another:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/goodmusic/DelMack.jpg)

Mackerras conducts Delius in a way that might convince skeptics of Delius's music: no dainty, lazy summer's walk in the country, scrupulously avoiding the cowpats, here. The music is full-blooded, passionate, with almost overwhelming climaxes.

The twofer contains: Brigg Fair, Florida Suite, In a Summer Garden, The Walk to the Paradise Garden, Two Aquarelles, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Summer Night on the River, Dance Rhapsody 1 and 2, and the relatively rare North Country Sketches.

Sarge

I'm also a long-time Delius fan - own the 2-CD set mentioned by Sarge - excellent and bargin introduction to his orchestral works; also have the discs shown below (one or several already mentioned); dont' have much of his 'vocal' works (except the songs below), so that might be a 'new' consideration:

Tasmin Little w/ Piers Lane on piano in the Violin Sonatas - she is outstanding in these pieces.
Sea Drift, Songs of Farewell, & Songs of Sunset w/ Hickox + Sally Burgess & Bryn Terfel (always love that guy's singing!)
Cello + pinao works of Delius & Grieg w/ Julian Lloyd Webber & Bengt Forsberg
Concertos Cello + Violin/Cello & Paris-Song of a Great City w/ Little & Wallfisch; Mackerras + Royal Liverpool PO.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ZAJY51ERL._AA240_.jpg)  (http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/5137612SYML._AA240_.jpg)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/21AJCBSEV0L._AA130_.jpg)  (http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/51/513105.JPG)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: SimonGodders on May 15, 2007, 08:25:56 AM
No Delius collection is worth it without Beecham (IMO). I can't think of a composer/conductor relationship that was as intrinsically linked as these two. Beecham takes you away to a unique and totally original sound-world, full of mystery, romance and allure. Be warned, there are those that positively loathe Delius, A very divisive composer!

This collection is the one to have:
(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NXHACVNVL._SS500_.jpg)

Re-mastered as a GROC, but frustratingly not all of it by EMI (downsized to single CD):
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41WZ1XFZQ3L._SS500_.jpg)

There's also some good stuff on Sony/Columbia from the 1950's, including The Mass of Life:
(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2001/June01/BeechanSonyMassofLife.jpg)

The Barbirolli collection on EMI is good, Handley is fine, haven't heard Mackerras, but the best anyone has done after Beecham are the two Naxos CD's by Lloyd-Jones I feel.

I'ld be wary of the very first Beecham/Naxos CD's with the pre-war LPO, they are quite awful transfers, but the transfer engineer Lennick seems to have done better with the post-war early RPO stuff.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: SimonGodders on May 15, 2007, 08:38:56 AM
no dainty, lazy summer's walk in the country, scrupulously avoiding the cowpats, here.

I think that's what I like in the music of Delius!

 ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: knight66 on May 15, 2007, 09:00:28 AM
I used to enjoy The Mass of Life until I sang in it. Close up and getting into the guts of it, apart from the opening chorus, I became increasingly disenchanted with it, the structure is poor and basically, panthistic rubbish, unredeemed by the music.

I enjoy quite a bit of his work, but not this turkey.

Mike
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: tjguitar on May 15, 2007, 10:18:15 AM
Quote
Concertos Cello + Violin/Cello & Paris-Song of a Great City w/ Little & Wallfisch; Mackerras + Royal Liverpool PO.

I've been looking at this CD, it's certainly in the price range ($6.98, also part of amazon's 4-for-3). Does this get as much praise as the Mackerras Double Decca?


TJ
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: SonicMan46 on May 15, 2007, 11:32:09 AM
I've been looking at this CD, it's certainly in the price range ($6.98, also part of amazon's 4-for-3). Does this get as much praise as the Mackerras Double Decca?

TJ - for the price, the disc of the concertos is an outstanding value - my most recent Delius acquisition (need to get his piano concerto, and already some recommendations appearing - any more?).  Paris - The Song of a Great City (which I had not heard before) is done wonderfully w/ Mackerras (kind of like a pre-Gershwin 'An American in Paris'; of course, Delius was an Englishman in Paris!).  The two concertos are superb - Little & Wallfisch are fantastic - highly recommended!

BTW - the 'Penguin Guide' gives this CD 3* and feels the solo performances are pretty much at the top; also, the 'Third Ear' classical music guide states "Little was also featured, with cellist Raphael Wallfisch, in the best recording to date of the Double Concerto..., along w/ the latter's Cello Concerto - a worthy rival to Du Pre - and Mackerras's brilliant Paris, easily the finest since Beecham's."

Finally, I've not heard Beecham in this orchestral repertoire although he seems to gleem some of the better if not the best comments regarding Delius performances - my only reservations would be the 'sound quality' of these older recordings, which has received some negative reviews; but I'm 'open' to all considerations & suggestions - Thanks.  :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: SimonGodders on May 15, 2007, 11:49:17 AM
Finally, I've not heard Beecham in this orchestral repertoire although he seems to gleem some of the better if not the best comments regarding Delius performances - my only reservations would be the 'sound quality' of these older recordings, which has received some negative reviews; but I'm 'open' to all considerations & suggestions - Thanks.  :D

I think you're right. The music of Delius can be a subtle and nuanced affair that doesn't lend itself well to historic sound IMO. For this reason, go for either the EMI 2CD set or the later re-mastered GROC, both in stereo and the GROC sounding fabulous. All the more reason I'm cross they didn't re-master both the CD's  :(
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 15, 2007, 12:40:08 PM
I used to enjoy The Mass of Life until I sang in it.

Thank god I can't sing  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: tjguitar on May 15, 2007, 02:38:14 PM
Quote
(need to get his piano concerto, and already some recommendations appearing - any more?)

I read on MusicWeb that there are actually two versions of the Delius Piano Concerto, I think Piers Lane even performed piano on both of them, anyway, the CFP one with Handley and the RLPO I thought was very good.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: tjguitar on May 15, 2007, 02:41:02 PM
This is one of my favorite Delius recordings:

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/goodmusic/DelMas.jpg)


Sarge

I see this on Amazon:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GX35GAYYL._SS500_.jpg)

Is it just a reissue?


I also found another Delius Chandos CD on Amazon that nobody has mentioned that has a really good review. Amazon says ADD, so must be fairly old recordings:

(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/413DEX5DS4L._SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: SonicMan46 on May 15, 2007, 03:22:41 PM
I used to enjoy The Mass of Life until I sang in it. Close up and getting into the guts of it, apart from the opening chorus, I became increasingly disenchanted with it, the structure is poor and basically, panthistic rubbish, unredeemed by the music.

I enjoy quite a bit of his work, but not this turkey.


Hello, Mike - I was encouraged by Sarge's comments, and can understand you as a singer not enjoying a work, esp. one that is done repeatedly (e.g. my wife is a soprano who has sung in many concerts, and when Carmina Burana, as an example, is to be performed, she - and others - get nauseated!  Now, I love that work, I guess as a non-singer); so, my question, are you re-acting in this manner as a professional singer, or will us non-singing 'peons' still enjoyed this Delius performance?  Thanks - Dave  :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: tjguitar on May 15, 2007, 03:49:51 PM
I'm generally not a fan of choral stuff, but this review makes me interested:

http://thompsonian.info/massrevw.html
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: knight66 on May 15, 2007, 05:50:31 PM
Sonic Man.....I am not sure I can tell, as with your wife, I would cringe if Carmina Burana hoved into view again. There is another chorus in the Delius I can now recall liking...lots of la-la-laing in it. I am not a professional singer, so was just part of the chorus. It is quite possibly effective from its surface. I had it on LP and when I got rid of the LPs, I never replaced it. I think it is just about the only standard major choral work I don't have. That was how cheesed off I was with it.

By the way, Hickox has only recorded it once, so the different covers do not indicate a different performance.

Mike
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 16, 2007, 07:02:31 AM
Hello, Mike - I was encouraged by Sarge's comments, and can understand you as a singer not enjoying a work, esp. one that is done repeatedly (e.g. my wife is a soprano who has sung in many concerts, and when Carmina Burana, as an example, is to be performed, she - and others - get nauseated!  Now, I love that work, I guess as a non-singer); so, my question, are you re-acting in this manner as a professional singer, or will us non-singing 'peons' still enjoyed this Delius performance?  Thanks - Dave  :D

Dave, you might want to heed Mike here. I had to smile at his description but I understand his reaction. I have a feeling this is a work not many will love. It reminds me of RVW's Sea Symphony in that it has an arresting, powerful opening but nothing after that is quite on the same level. I love it (and the Sea Symphony) but can't guarantee you will. Therefore, approach with caution.

Sarge
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: karlhenning on May 16, 2007, 07:04:00 AM
Gosh, someone else has already written A Mass of Life Requiem, eh?  8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 16, 2007, 07:11:11 AM
Gosh, someone else has already written A Mass of Life Requiem, eh?  8)

Yes, Delius beat you to it, Karl. Back to the drawing board.

Sarge
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: johnshade on May 17, 2007, 05:43:33 AM
I am a native of north Florida and have several recordings of Delius. This is my favorite Delius especially the Florida Suite. It is truly a great CD.
.
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SZ38X4SSL._AA240_.jpg)
.
Delius based his Florida Suite, composed in 1887, on native American music and African-American spirituals. Dvorak's Symphony #9, From the New World, was composed after the Florida Suite in 1893. I believe that the Florida Suite is equally as delightful as Dvorak's symphony. The Florida Suite is influenced by the native music Delius heard while living on an orange grove near Jacksonville, Florida.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Hector on May 18, 2007, 04:31:42 AM
I am a native of north Florida and have several recordings of Delius. This is my favorite Delius especially the Florida Suite. It is truly a great CD.
.
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SZ38X4SSL._AA240_.jpg)
.
Delius based his Florida Suite, composed in 1887, on native American music and African-American spirituals. Dvorak's Symphony #9, From the New World, was composed after the Florida Suite in 1893. I believe that the Florida Suite is equally as delightful as Dvorak's symphony. The Florida Suite is influenced by the native music Delius heard while living on an orange grove near Jacksonville, Florida.

And puts to bed the lie that Delius is a schnooze composer.

If you cannot relate to the Florida Suite, then...

Pity it is not programmed more often.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: flyingdutchman on May 20, 2007, 11:13:59 PM
The Beecham collection is the one set of disks that I drove from Southern Michigan to Chicago and Rose Records for one day back in 1987.  The best there is of Delius and worth every penny (and the drive).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Harry Collier on May 21, 2007, 02:20:30 AM

I grew up with the Beecham recordings of Sea Drift and Paris, and still have a very soft spot for both works. I find I have to be in a particular mood to enjoy Delius ... but when the mood cometh, I enjoy!

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Montpellier on June 23, 2007, 07:06:52 AM
I grew up with the Beecham recordings of Sea Drift and Paris, and still have a very soft spot for both works. I find I have to be in a particular mood to enjoy Delius ... but when the mood cometh, I enjoy!

I'm still stuck on Beecham's Delius performances.  He recorded many important works on tape thankfully which has allowed them to be resuscitated with reasonable results.  (The only other Paris I can get on with is Anthony Collins' done by Decca and reissued by Dutton).   These are old recordings but Beecham definitely had magic with Delius.  Well, they knew each other.  More recent recordings are nice and digitally sparkly but they lack something - just an opinion because I've nothing against digital recordings! 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sean on June 23, 2007, 07:18:30 AM
I am a native of north Florida and have several recordings of Delius. This is my favorite Delius especially the Florida Suite. It is truly a great CD.
.
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SZ38X4SSL._AA240_.jpg)
.
Delius based his Florida Suite, composed in 1887, on native American music and African-American spirituals. Dvorak's Symphony #9, From the New World, was composed after the Florida Suite in 1893. I believe that the Florida Suite is equally as delightful as Dvorak's symphony. The Florida Suite is influenced by the native music Delius heard while living on an orange grove near Jacksonville, Florida.


I bought that CD- memorable coloratura role.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: tjguitar on July 23, 2007, 04:39:35 PM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CHAN241-37.jpg)
Looks like Chandos is reissuing a number of its Delius recordings into a 2-for-1 double CD set:


Quote
FREDERICK DELIUS (1862-1934)

The Essential Delius

 

Florida Suite 

North Country Sketches 

Air and Dance

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring 

Summer Night on the River 

A Song before Sunrise 

Two Aquarelles 

Intermezzo and Serenade from ‘Hassan’

Prelude from ‘Irmelin’ 

Late Swallows 

Intermezzo from ‘Fennimore and Gerda’ 

The Walk to the Paradise Garden 

In a Summer Garden

 

Ulster Orchestra / London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vernon Handley

Bournemouth Sinfonietta / Norman Del Mar

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / Richard Hickox

 

A comprehensive and richly varied Delius programme has been put together for this new two-CD collection. Vernon Handley’s splendid Ulster performance of the comparatively rarely heard Florida Suite is complemented with, among others, North Country Sketches, a work which reveals a Debussyan influence.

 

Richard Hickox is a sensitive and flexible Delian and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra plays passionately for him, especially in The Walk to the Paradise Garden. The collection demonstrates the glittering qualities of Delius’s enchanting music which evokes an atmosphere of serene pleasure in nature.

 

These are conductors and orchestras performing at the top of their form, and the anthology will serve collectors as the perfect introduction to this marvellous composer. Quotes at original release:

 

Well-filled 2-CD set, an embarrassment of riches. It is well-played, splendidly recorded, delicately shaded, and rich in expression…

American Record Guide

 

The sultry, sensuous beauty and vibrant colour is wonderfully evoked… a strong contender for my CD of the year.

BBC Music Magazine

 

…the Chandos recording allows Delius’s palette of colours to shine through.

BBC Music Magazine

 

Chandos 241 CHAN241-37
from http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/NR_August07/CHAN241-37.htm
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on July 25, 2007, 02:14:31 AM
I like the Piano Concerto best (original version was recently issued on Hyperion with John Ireland's great "Legend"). I also like the underrated Requiem which has a very moving closing section.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mark on July 25, 2007, 02:22:07 AM
I don't know what it is about Delius, but his music doesn't appeal to me very much. And I say this as a lover of British classical music. His works 'meander' far too much; first a rise, then a fall, then another rise. In places, Elgar can do the same - but Elgar is redeemed a little for having what I think are the better tunes. With Delius, you reach a point where you're sure you know what's likely to come next, how something might develop, then it all just descends into more of the same. Admittedly, I've not heard everything by the man, but if I want works which wander in a similar way to those of Delius, I put on Bax's tone poems, some of which also have a musically meandering quality.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Harry on July 25, 2007, 02:29:09 AM
Delius is a fine composer, and it takes some time to balance your mind to it, meandering as it were.
If your life is not such a turmoil anymore, you might enjoy Delius more as you ever thought you would.
The twofar from Chandos is a excellent bargain, with fine recorded sound.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: m_gigena on July 25, 2007, 04:53:11 AM
What about A village Romeo and Juliet?

Is it worth listening? I downloaded it a few weeks ago and is in my things-to-listen list.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on July 25, 2007, 05:15:11 AM
Ever since 1984, when there was a whole series on BBC World Service about Delius, I have an intense love for his music. Favourites include:

the Violin Concerto (Ralph Holmes, but also the historic one with Albert Sammons)

Cello Concerto (Du Pré)

Requiem (Meredith Davies conducting, EMI)

Mass of Life (Groves)

Cynara (orchestral song, John Shirley-Quirk as soloist)

Sea-Drift (Groves, Hickox)

Song of the High Hills (Fenby conducting)

Idyll (Meredith Davies)

and many shorter works that are well-known, like On Hearing The First Cukoo In Spring et al.

Brian and Delius were my two favourite composers in the 'eighties - power and beauty, two sides of the same coin (to me).

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Larry Rinkel on July 25, 2007, 05:59:13 AM
I don't know what it is about Delius, but his music doesn't appeal to me very much. And I say this as a lover of British classical music. His works 'meander' far too much; first a rise, then a fall, then another rise. In places, Elgar can do the same - but Elgar is redeemed a little for having what I think are the better tunes. With Delius, you reach a point where you're sure you know what's likely to come next, how something might develop, then it all just descends into more of the same.

More or less agree.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Montpellier on July 28, 2007, 06:33:09 AM
Delius was much of a symbolist (to me).  Many sleeve and programme notes claim that one either loves or hates Delius - there's little between.  I'm on the 'love' side though there are works I don't like. 

Much depends on performance.  Trite performances have done neither Delius nor the audiences any favours. 

I still think (from the very few recordings I've heard) that Beecham's Village Romeo and Juliet is the best rendition. 

The BBC issued recordings of a few of his opera.   
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Lethevich on June 07, 2008, 08:02:13 AM
Can anyone suggest some of the essential recordings of his major concerti and orchestral works? I saw an appealing looking LP of his VC performed by Menuhin (EMI) in the charity shop I price music for, and it was one of those things which made me think "If I didn't hate vinyl, I'd buy that"... Sad that its CD incarnation seems to be coupled with an Elgar VC instead of the original Delius coupling (which I cannot remember what it was ATM).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on June 07, 2008, 01:43:55 PM
Can anyone suggest some of the essential recordings of his major concerti and orchestral works? I saw an appealing looking LP of his VC performed by Menuhin (EMI) in the charity shop I price music for, and it was one of those things which made me think "If I didn't hate vinyl, I'd buy that"... Sad that its CD incarnation seems to be coupled with an Elgar VC instead of the original Delius coupling (which I cannot remember what it was ATM).

Although I am not a great fan of Delius-I am afraid that I find the pastoral musings rather tedious-I do seem to have quite a lot of his music on CD!

For the Violin Concerto-recommend Tasmin Little's performance with Sir Charles Mackerras conducting
Cello Concerto-Raphael Wallfisch(Mackerras)
Violin + Cello Concerto-Tasmin Little + Raphael Wallfisch(Mackerras)
Piano Concerto-Jean-Rudolphe Kars(Sir Alexander Gibson)- admittedly an old performance now.

I am sure that committed Delians will offer other recommendations but the above are all good renderings.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: scarpia on June 08, 2008, 05:26:24 AM
Can anyone suggest some of the essential recordings of his major concerti and orchestral works? I saw an appealing looking LP of his VC performed by Menuhin (EMI) in the charity shop I price music for, and it was one of those things which made me think "If I didn't hate vinyl, I'd buy that"... Sad that its CD incarnation seems to be coupled with an Elgar VC instead of the original Delius coupling (which I cannot remember what it was ATM).

All of the recordings I would cite have been mentioned on this thread already.  There is an EMI 2CD set with Barbirolli conducting the major works, there is another EMI 2CD set with Beecham, may be oop now.  Those two understood Delius.  There is also a "double decca" with Delius conducted by Mackerras.  Any one of those will give you a beautifully performed, beautifully recorded sample of his music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on May 03, 2009, 02:15:40 PM
(Not sure if this is the "official" Delius thread...if it isn't, and he hasn't got one, one should be created)

I really have been on a Delius kick over the past two or three days and came across this interesting documentary:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1946103861927483904





Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 03, 2009, 02:47:53 PM
(Not sure if this is the "official" Delius thread...if it isn't, and he hasn't got one, one should be created)

I really have been on a Delius kick over the past two or three days and came across this interesting documentary:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1946103861927483904

Look at Langgaard's Lair where Delius has been derailing the thread these last few days (thanks to yours truly, who is a hardcore Delian...)

Oh, and thanks for that link.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on May 03, 2009, 04:27:44 PM
Look at Langgaard's Lair where Delius has been derailing the thread these last few days (thanks to yours truly, who is a hardcore Delian...)

 :D

A brief look over Langgaard's Lair leads me to believe that I will soon be exploring and distracted by two more relatively unheard composers!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Wilhelm Richard on May 16, 2009, 06:21:15 AM
Any thoughts on the operas of Delius? (specifically Koanga, Village Romeo and Juliet, and Fennimore and Gerda).  Are they worth owning?  I would love to hear them, but for some reason, used copies of the EMI recordings on Amazon seem to be a little on the pricey side.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 16, 2009, 07:00:15 AM
Any thoughts on the operas of Delius? (specifically Koanga, Village Romeo and Juliet, and Fennimore and Gerda).  Are they worth owning?  I would love to hear them, but for some reason, used copies of the EMI recordings on Amazon seem to be a little on the pricey side.

A Village Romeo and Juliet seems to be Delius's masterpiece in the genre. 'Seems', because I can't personally vouch for it. The only thing I know from this work is the, admittedly sublime, Walk to the Paradise Garden...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on May 30, 2009, 04:17:14 AM
Just to demonstrate what a fair-minded man I really am.......

For the attention of Delius fans(of whom I am not to be numbered ;D):

Dutton is about to release a Delius disc. It will contain the Double Concerto for violin and cello, the Suite for violin and orchestra, the Legende for violin and orchestra, the Caprice and Elegy fror viola and orchestra(only previously available in its original scoring for cello and chamber orchestra)....and the early Tone Poem "Hiawatha"(1888) which has only recently been reconstructed from the original incomplete score.

http://thompsonian.info/hiawatha.html

for more information about "Hiawatha".

The BBC Concert Orchestra is conducted by David lloyd-Jones.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 30, 2009, 05:01:32 AM
Just to demonstrate what a fair-minded man I really am.......

For the attention of Delius fans(of whom I am not to be numbered ;D):

Dutton is about to release a Delius disc. It will contain the Double Concerto for violin and cello, the Suite for violin and orchestra, the Legende for violin and orchestra, the Caprice and Elegy fror viola and orchestra(only previously available in its original scoring for cello and chamber orchestra)....and the early Tone Poem "Hiawatha"(1888) which has only recently been reconstructed from the original incomplete score.

http://thompsonian.info/hiawatha.html

for more information about "Hiawatha".

The BBC Concert Orchestra is conducted by David lloyd-Jones.

Thanks for the information, Colin. I hope you'll turn into a Delian one day (I'm not holding my breath, though), for then you would be known as 'Triple D': the Doughty Delian Dundonnell...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: karlhenning on May 30, 2009, 05:05:27 AM
Colin is an excellent neighbor, Johan.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Brewski on May 30, 2009, 09:11:42 AM
Just to demonstrate what a fair-minded man I really am.......

For the attention of Delius fans(of whom I am not to be numbered ;D):

Dutton is about to release a Delius disc. It will contain the Double Concerto for violin and cello, the Suite for violin and orchestra, the Legende for violin and orchestra, the Caprice and Elegy fror viola and orchestra(only previously available in its original scoring for cello and chamber orchestra)....and the early Tone Poem "Hiawatha"(1888) which has only recently been reconstructed from the original incomplete score.

http://thompsonian.info/hiawatha.html

for more information about "Hiawatha".

The BBC Concert Orchestra is conducted by David lloyd-Jones.

Thanks so much, Colin.  I have a few Delius recordings but would like to add more, and this looks like an excellent candidate.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 14, 2009, 05:08:00 AM
Slightly OT - Barry Humphries, the creator of Dame Edna Everage, was a guest recently on Desert Island Discs, a long-running programme on BBC Radio 4. I admire him greatly. I know he is a Langgaard fan, but at the end of a very enjoyable half hour he and I have even more in common.

For those interested...

http://www.mediafire.com/file/3g2yjnzmmlu/DID - Barry Humphries (R4 2009-05-24).mp3
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on June 15, 2009, 02:52:14 AM
Slightly OT - Barry Humphries, the creator of Dame Edna Everage, was a guest recently on Desert Island Discs, a long-running programme on BBC Radio 4. I admire him greatly. I know he is a Langgaard fan, but at the end of a very enjoyable half hour he and I have even more in common.

For those interested...

http://www.mediafire.com/file/3g2yjnzmmlu/DID - Barry Humphries (R4 2009-05-24).mp3

Not cross-dressing, surely, Johan :o ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 15, 2009, 05:52:51 AM
Not cross-dressing, surely, Johan :o ;D

No, of course not only that.  ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: drogulus on June 15, 2009, 02:17:30 PM


     (http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/7253/ecloguehandley.jpg)

     This combo is available with a different cover as a Classics for Pleasure disc.

     I've grown to like the Piano Concerto, though I don't think it's at the level of Finzi's Eclogue or the RVW concerto. It reminds me a little of Strauss's Burleske, a kind of mini-concerto itself.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: karlhenning on July 09, 2009, 02:36:29 AM

     (http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/7253/ecloguehandley.jpg)

     This combo is available with a different cover as a Classics for Pleasure disc.

     I've grown to like the Piano Concerto, though I don't think it's at the level of Finzi's Eclogue or the RVW concerto. It reminds me a little of Strauss's Burleske, a kind of mini-concerto itself.

I only wish WCRB would give the Eclogue some rest . . . .
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on July 11, 2010, 02:56:49 PM
Delius' music has become very important to me these past few years. I have realized that the more I listen to him, the more I understand him a lot better. He was kind of an enigmatic person in some regards, because his style wasn't really rooted in the Western Classical tradition, but rather an amalgamation of a lot of different kinds of music such as music he heard while he was working on an orange plantation in Florida. It was there he heard Black church music and spirituals. It was also in Florida where he received composition training. When he returned to Europe, he settled in Paris and became a permanent resident. This is where some of his best writing came about: "In A Summer Garden," "North Country Sketches," "Sea Drift," "Mass of Life," "Violin Concerto," "A Village Romeo & Julliet," among others.

It's interesting that his music is rarely talked about on any forum as he was an important part of classical music's rich history. Nobody sounded like Delius and his music is certainly an acquired taste, but once you close off any pre-conceived notions of his style of composition then you can understand him better.
 
Some of my favorite Delius recordings:
 
(http://img.maniadb.com/images/album/259/259014_1_f.jpg)
 
(http://www.steenslid.com/music/delius/cover/chan9355.jpg)
 
(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000000B0M.03._SS300_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41NDYRPX96L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
 
(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B000000AT3.jpg)
 

 
 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Saul on July 11, 2010, 03:35:52 PM
I really like some of Delius' work. Very unique and original composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: knight66 on July 12, 2010, 09:42:06 AM
I enjoy some of Delius; especially Sea Drift and what people keep terming, the miniatures. Mass of Life I think is pantheistic twaddle and I can't get along with it, despite some marvelous minutes within the piece.

Mike
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on July 15, 2010, 07:11:30 AM
Well, I disagree violently with the ideologically based dismissal of so-called "pantheistic twaddle"! ::) Nietzsche was not a pantheist.... And I happen to find the end of the work particularly moving - it is on the same level as Mahler in Symphony 3's Nietzsche setting, IMO. But of course there is no argument about what moves one most - take it or leave it.
Now for more recommendations:  I endorse the great recording of Cynara by Shirley Quirk and the latter's Sea Drift (I don't know the Terfel version). Other masterpieces:The Song of the High Hills, so near to and yet so far from Strauss's Alpensymphonie (RPO/Fenby on Unicorn); An Arabesque (of which there is a good if not essential version by Beecham in the original Danish on Sony, not so well sung as the version by John S-Q with Groves) This is pantheistic, by the way...The Groves double disc on EMI with a good MoL (better recorded than Beecham but less powerful), AA and the Songs of Sunset with Janet Baker and J S-Q is a pretty irreplaceable set for me. I don't know the Hickox MoL. Also essential is the Beecham/RPO Sony disc with Hassan, Sea Drift and AA, especially for the Hassan music, not just the two popular excerpts but 11 tracks. Here one must say: read the play, then the music will mean so much more to you. Flecker was a very gifted poet at his best, and this play is an amazing pre-echo of the théatre de cruauté propagated by Artaud, though obviously also participating in what has come to be called Orientalism (Said) and it really needs a new production with video installations and Delius's music to make its full effect. The Fenby disc mentioned above with the SotHH also contains some of the most ravishing fin de siècle orchestral songs ever written, sung by F Lott, S Walker and A R Johnson. I don't know how available these discs are.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: knight66 on July 16, 2010, 10:15:03 PM
Well, I disagree violently with the ideologically based dismissal of so-called "pantheistic twaddle"! ::) Nietzsche was not a pantheist.... And I happen to find the end of the work particularly moving - it is on the same level as Mahler in Symphony 3's Nietzsche setting, IMO. But of course there is no argument about what moves one most - take it or leave it.


I don't have the libretto in front of me; I junked the discs. I have had a look to see what it was about. You are right, not pantheistic, but twaddle nevertheless. I sang the piece and the more I had to sing it in rehearsal, the less I liked it, especially the words. I agree though the ending is great.

Your mention of the Songs of Sunset has sent me back to the disc, lovely.

Mike
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on July 17, 2010, 07:04:57 AM
Quote
especially the words
Mike, have you taken a look at the texts of Bach's cantatas recently? Just wondering... :-X (I won't even mention Italian opera or The Dream of Gerontius etc...)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: knight66 on July 17, 2010, 10:42:54 AM
Mike, have you taken a look at the texts of Bach's cantatas recently? Just wondering... :-X (I won't even mention Italian opera or The Dream of Gerontius etc...)

I don't know what you mean.  :o :o

Mike
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on July 18, 2010, 05:33:54 AM
Oh, quite... ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on July 19, 2010, 09:33:45 AM
I was talking with Teresa and it's funny she (of all people) called Delius' music "boring." I think it's obvious she hasn't spent any time with Delius' music, because his music is far from boring. If you have ears, then you'll find something enjoyable in his output. What a joker she is!  :P
 
I mean just listen to the "Sunset" movement from Florida Suite:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3zahvTPpU8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3zahvTPpU8)
 
There's nothing remotely "boring" about this movement. The climax is particularly powerful. To call this "boring," is totally ignorant. At 5:00 the work becomes extroverted and furious. Delius at his best!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on July 20, 2010, 12:09:42 AM
To jump to Teresa's defence here, I must say that "boring" is a category solely dependent on a person's temperament and sensorium at a given time. Thus, though I enjoyed Dvorak in my youth, I now almost always start to get bored when I try to listen to him. I can hear what might delight other people, but it doesn't affect me. I am not putting Dvorak down, it would be absurd, he is a major composer. I love garlic and I hate Brussels sprouts. De gustibus & all that. I love Delius but can very well perceive why others find his music boring. To be frank, all music can bore at the wrong moment - it is a great gift to be able to enter into the magic of great music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 16, 2010, 01:01:12 PM
To jump to Teresa's defence here, I must say that "boring" is a category solely dependent on a person's temperament and sensorium at a given time. Thus, though I enjoyed Dvorak in my youth, I now almost always start to get bored when I try to listen to him. I can hear what might delight other people, but it doesn't affect me. I am not putting Dvorak down, it would be absurd, he is a major composer. I love garlic and I hate Brussels sprouts. De gustibus & all that. I love Delius but can very well perceive why others find his music boring. To be frank, all music can bore at the wrong moment - it is a great gift to be able to enter into the magic of great music.

Please don't defend Teresa. She's not the kind of person that needs to be defended. Her attitude about music is disgusting and juvenile.
 
Anyway, getting back to Delius, I have acquired a great recording of Richard Hickox's first go at Sea Drift on Decca Eloquence and it is beautiful. This recording also contains a great performance of the seldom-heard Appalachia.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on September 17, 2010, 11:16:30 AM

 
Anyway, getting back to Delius, I have acquired a great recording of Richard Hickox's first go at Sea Drift on Decca Eloquence and it is beautiful. This recording also contains a great performance of the seldom-heard Appalachia.

Appalachia is my very favorite Delius work - "ecstatic melancholy" is how I might describe its character - and the Hickox recording just perfect (I find Barbirolli's reading unlistenable by comparison - so leaden and ponderous).
The 6th movement (I think) "lento" is simply one of the most achingly beautiful pieces of music there is.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 17, 2010, 05:47:30 PM
Appalachia is my very favorite Delius work - "ecstatic melancholy" is how I might describe its character - and the Hickox recording just perfect (I find Barbirolli's reading unlistenable by comparison - so leaden and ponderous).
The 6th movement (I think) "lento" is simply one of the most achingly beautiful pieces of music there is.

Good to meet another Delius fan. :D I have this Hickox recording, but I haven't listened to it yet. Good to know that Appalachia is well-performed. I'm sure by comparison it is better than the Barbirolli. While I enjoy Barbirolli's Delius, he isn't one of my favorite conductors.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 01, 2010, 01:58:05 PM
BUMP!!!!
 
It's sad that so many people neglect Delius and fail to try and comprehend his music. His music is lovely on the surface, but deep down there's a man in constant turmoil. He hides this side of him quite well I think by making his music so beautiful and lyrically expressive.
 
People deride his music for being too meandering or whatever, but these are the same people that claim that composers like Tristan Murail or Morton Feldman are musical geniuses. Delius was very much the Morton Feldman of his day. Composing very textural music that you either "get" or don't.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on March 04, 2011, 10:02:19 AM

An interesting little piece of information I came across yesterday on line: back before WW1, Delius, whose work was then successful in Germany, became friends with Heinrich Simon, the proprietor cum editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung, who at Delius's request compiled the literary collage that was set by D in his (unreligious) Requiem. They were also friends with the great artist Max Beckmann, who made drawings of both that were recently displayed in Cincinnati, I believe - did anybody see this exhibition? I have unfortunately never heard the Requiem - the Meredith Davies recording is oop so I would have to buy Hickox 's Mass of Life as well, and somehow I balk at this. -
Personally, I cannot agree about Delius being the "Morton Feldman of his day" - D's music is always associated with a very powerful complex of affects (bright-eyed melancholy yearning, proud tristesse of deliquescence?) whereas Feldman's work (which I admire and appreciate immensely) doesn't exactly propose itself as "expression".
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 04, 2011, 10:08:20 AM
An interesting little piece of information I came across yesterday on line: back before WW1, Delius, whose work was then successful in Germany, became friends with Heinrich Simon, the proprietor cum editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung, who at Delius's request compiled the literary collage that was set by D in his (unreligious) Requiem. They were also friends with the great artist Max Beckmann, who made drawings of both that were recently displayed in Cincinnati, I believe - did anybody see this exhibition? I have unfortunately never heard the Requiem - the Meredith Davies recording is oop so I would have to buy Hickox 's Mass of Life as well, and somehow I balk at this. -
Personally, I cannot agree about Delius being the "Morton Feldman of his day" - D's music is always associated with a very powerful complex of affects (bright-eyed melancholy yearning, proud tristesse of deliquescence?) whereas Feldman's work (which I admire and appreciate immensely) doesn't exactly propose itself as "expression".


I have the Requiem under Meredith Davies. I can upload it, if you like. Great piece!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on March 04, 2011, 10:51:05 AM
That would be very kind of you, J.Z., thank you. I am all agog!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 04, 2011, 10:54:23 AM
Expect it later today. And I am Johan...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2011, 11:18:47 PM
An interesting little piece of information I came across yesterday on line: back before WW1, Delius, whose work was then successful in Germany, became friends with Heinrich Simon, the proprietor cum editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung, who at Delius's request compiled the literary collage that was set by D in his (unreligious) Requiem. They were also friends with the great artist Max Beckmann, who made drawings of both that were recently displayed in Cincinnati, I believe - did anybody see this exhibition? I have unfortunately never heard the Requiem - the Meredith Davies recording is oop so I would have to buy Hickox 's Mass of Life as well, and somehow I balk at this. -
Personally, I cannot agree about Delius being the "Morton Feldman of his day" - D's music is always associated with a very powerful complex of affects (bright-eyed melancholy yearning, proud tristesse of deliquescence?) whereas Feldman's work (which I admire and appreciate immensely) doesn't exactly propose itself as "expression".

Obviously, Delius and Morton Feldman are different composers with a totally different view on composition and more importantly they both came from different times. My point is that Delius' music, much like that of Feldman's, is atmospheric and more concerned with shape, color, and texture, but both composers were obviously able to think outside of their own boxes on numerous occasions. The context in Delius' music is coming from a transitional Romantic expression and incorporating more modern techniques like those found in the Impressionism of Debussy. Feldman, on the other hand, was coming from a post-Modernistic viewpoint. Taking into account, also, are the developments that had been made with electronic music and the serialism of Boulez and Stockhausen, but not to mention the innovations made from Cage (a big influence on his own music), Babbitt, Varese, among others.

So sonically both composers are quite different and have different ideals about music, but both are coming from a more textural point-of-view about music and this is the point I was trying to make.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on March 18, 2011, 11:37:14 AM
Obviously, Delius and Morton Feldman are different composers with a totally different view on composition and more importantly they both came from different times. My point is that Delius' music, much like that of Feldman's, is atmospheric and more concerned with shape, color, and texture, but both composers were obviously able to think outside of their own boxes on numerous occasions. The context in Delius' music is coming from a transitional Romantic expression and incorporating more modern techniques like those found in the Impressionism of Debussy. Feldman, on the other hand, was coming from a post-Modernistic viewpoint. Taking into account, also, are the developments that had been made with electronic music and the serialism of Boulez and Stockhausen, but not to mention the innovations made from Cage (a big influence on his own music), Babbitt, Varese, among others.

So sonically both composers are quite different and have different ideals about music, but both are coming from a more textural point-of-view about music and this is the point I was trying to make.
Well, yes, I can accept that - to a degree  ;) - and I appreciate what you say about Feldman. But in listening to Delius I, for one, have very strong "fin-de-siècle" associations: the content of the images, like the "content" of the music - definable melodies, for argument's sake - is not very vividly defined, but the feeling of recognition is very strong. With Feldman's music there are few if any associations, the sense of attaining understanding is connected with a meditative stance that has nothing to do with memory (as with Scelsi, for me). - As I say, I for one. I just cannot myself get very much out of the analogy between the two.
I have just listened to almost all the Delius (A Village Romeo and Juliet still to come) in EMI's Beecham edition - "English Music" box (6 CDs). I knew the later recordings, Brigg Fair and so on, but of the performances I have never heard before I have been especially taken by the Violin Concerto and the Song of the High Hills, which is tremendous (and a 1946 recording!) and captures the colours and all the affective content mirrored in them which I find slightly lacking in the very good Fenby recording. I found myself wanting to relate it to Strauss's Alpensinfonie and consider both composers' feeling for and use of Nietzsche (going from there, one would end up in the middle of Mahler 3 with a setting of a Nietzsche text that was also set by Delius in the Mass of Life). I have not heard any other recordings of this like that by Mackerras.
I would also recommend this box for the 6th disc containing a fine Garden of Fand and a superb Fifine at the Fair, new to me both as a recording and as a work. It made me return to the Browning poem, which I have always held in high regard.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on March 18, 2011, 01:52:29 PM
I remember thinking Delius was boring when I was a teenager. How times change. I recently stocked up with a pile of Delius cd's. The emi Groves cd used to be a favourite, (Eventyr,Lifes Dance,etc,now deleted). I read recently that 'North Country Sketches' was Delius for people who don't usually like Delius. That was one that got played allot! Delius can seem like allot of fey impressionistic nature painting,but underneath that quiet,seemingly unenventful surface there's a hell of allot going on.
Regarding 'Sea Drift'. The one recording I can't stand is the one with Bryn Terfel. He blusters his way through the piece like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Can't stand his singing!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on March 19, 2011, 06:13:56 AM
To any Terfel fans. I just think he's better on stage. Each to his own.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Lethevich on March 19, 2011, 07:34:38 AM
A new release from Dutton:

(http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/4601/7264.gif) (http://www.duttonvocalion.co.uk/proddetail.asp?prod=CDLX7264)

I wasn't aware of any suite for these operas (whether from the pen of the composer, or - as here - other musicians), only the usual bleeding chunks.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Szykneij on April 10, 2011, 10:44:43 AM
May I suggest some Delius works that are not among "the ususal suspects"? Try the violin sonatas. They are delightly. They are the only works by Delius that Vanessa loves. If they are good enough for Vanessa, surely Harry would love them as well!

It's been quite a while since this recommendation was made, but I finally got around to listening to Delius's "Sonatas for Violin and Piano" and I agree they're delightful. I enjoyed Nos. 1 and 2, composed in 1914 and 1915 respectively, but Sonata No. 3 made a greater impression by far. A much more mature work, it was written in 1930 after Delius had become blind and paralyzed. He composed this and other late works by dictation with the help of volunteer Eric Fenby.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 10, 2011, 11:04:12 AM
For one reason or another I have always given Delius's chamber works a miss. I must redress that!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on April 11, 2011, 05:53:07 AM
For one reason or another I have always given Delius's chamber works a miss. I must redress that!

I'm going to correct this as well. :) I think there's an EMI 2-CD set that has all of Delius' sonatas for violin on it and some other chamber works as well.

Edit: Okay, it has the three violin sonatas but not the one was published after Delius' death. The other works in this set are arrangements for small orchestra and a work for string orchestra with Eric Fenby conducting. Here's the link:



I'm not sure how the performances are but the audio samples sounded quite nice. I think I'll pull the trigger on this one.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on April 11, 2011, 08:21:55 AM
I think you'll find the Tasmin Little/Piers Lane CD of the 4 violin sonatas very superior.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Scarpia on April 11, 2011, 08:28:28 AM
I think you'll find the Tasmin Little/Piers Lane CD of the 4 violin sonatas very superior.

I have this one, but don't recall ever finding the time to listen

(http://ec5.images-amazon.com/images/I/21KJ039QE8L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Lethevich on April 11, 2011, 08:30:17 AM
I like those Tasmin Little recordings too, but the composer's music is well-represented on disc. the Unicorn recordings with Ralph Holmes were very good as well. Then there's the Naxos recordings with Susanne Stanzeleit (of the Maggini Quartet) also (which I have not heard, but everything she records is wonderful)!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on April 11, 2011, 09:00:44 AM
I think you'll find the Tasmin Little/Piers Lane CD of the 4 violin sonatas very superior.

I'm sure it is as Piers Lane and Tasmin Little are both advocates of Delius' music. There's many options available to the perspective buyers.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 20, 2011, 12:01:19 PM
Some very exciting news from the Delius front. Chandos will be releasing another Andrew Davis led orchestral recording, but this time Tasmin Little and Paul Watkins will take us on a journey some of Delius's concerti: the Violin Concerto, Double Concerto, and the Cello Concerto. This should be an excellent recording as Tasmin Little breathes Delius's music. I'm not sure about Paul Watkins, but what little I've heard his playing, he should be good.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 21, 2011, 12:59:52 PM
Delius box set alert!!!

EMI and Decca will be releasing two 150th Anniversary box sets:



Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Lethevich on November 21, 2011, 01:11:22 PM
Erm, do want!! Especially the Decca, as it won't include the stone age-sounding Beecham recordings ;D *hides*
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on November 21, 2011, 01:35:04 PM
Erm, do want!! Especially the Decca, as it won't include the stone age-sounding Beecham recordings ;D *hides*


Found you!  ;D


Nice boxes, indeed!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 21, 2011, 01:37:09 PM
Erm, do want!! Especially the Decca, as it won't include the stone age-sounding Beecham recordings ;D *hides*

I own most of the recordings in both boxes, so I'll probably not be getting them. I don't like the Beecham Delius recordings because of their audio quality hinderance. The performances, as far as I can tell, are great, but these recordings are only for historical purposes. The only reason the EMI set looks tempting to me is for the opera Koanga, which is the only complete recording of this opera that I know of.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: madaboutmahler on November 21, 2011, 02:26:13 PM
Delius box set alert!!!

EMI and Decca will be releasing two 150th Anniversary box sets:





Am instantly excited! To the Christmas wishlist they go!  :D
Will probably go for the Decca one - love Mackerras' way with Delius! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 21, 2011, 04:37:09 PM
Am instantly excited! To the Christmas wishlist they go!  :D
Will probably go for the Decca one - love Mackerras' way with Delius! :)

Yes, Daniel. Mackerras was excellent in Delius's music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 29, 2012, 08:59:03 AM
Frederick Delius was born 150 years ago today. Long may his music live!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2012, 07:08:57 PM
Frederick Delius was born 150 years ago today. Long may his music live!

Absolutely, Johann. Clearly Delius was an underrated composer, but he was also an unacknowledged innovator too. He was using jazz harmonies before jazz was even created. He composed the first Black opera Koanga (1895), which predates Gershwin's Porgy & Bess (1935) by 40 years. The man just isn't given enough credit and I think it's a shame.

Happy Birthday Freddy! 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: johnshade on January 30, 2012, 09:11:39 PM
I am a native of north Florida and have several recordings of Delius. This is my favorite Delius especially the Florida Suite. It is truly a great CD.
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SZ38X4SSL._AA240_.jpg)
Delius based his Florida Suite, composed in 1887, on native American music and African-American spirituals. Dvorak's Symphony #9, From the New World, was composed after the Florida Suite in 1893. I believe that the Florida Suite is equally as delightful as Dvorak's symphony. The Florida Suite is influenced by the native music Delius heard while living on an orange grove near Jacksonville, Florida.
(http://www.ferrisguitar.com/composer/Frederick-Delius.jpg)

(Very good essay on Delius in February Gramophone Magazine.)
Delius's cottage on the St. Johns River near Jacksonville
SOLANO GROVE, FLORIDA
(http://jpl.coj.net/pics/coll/delius_house.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2012, 12:06:15 PM
Thought I would revive this thread by saying that I'm making my way through the EMI 150th Anniversary box and I'm finding some hidden gems that I have never heard like Hassan, which is incidental music, and A Song of the High Hills. Both are gorgeous compositions and completely new to me. I am also looking forward to digging into the opera Koanga and Cynara. I've loved this composer for a long time and this box set is rekindling that love and admiration I've had.

Delius fans buy the EMI box! It doesn't contain but two discs with Beecham, Lethe. These two discs (one an orchestral and the other one featuring songs w/ orchestra) don't sound as bad as you think. Anyway, it would be nice to get Johan in on this set too. Here are the contents of the box:
   
Sleigh Ride
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Marche Caprice
ed. & arr. Beecham
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Over the hills and far away
ed. Beecham
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Dance Rhapsody No. 2
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Dance Rhapsody No. 1
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
On the mountains
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
The Walk to the Paradise Garden
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli
A Song of Summer
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli
Irmelin Prelude
London Symphony Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli
Late Swallows
Hallé Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli
Appalachia (Variations on an old slave song)
(includes rehearsal footage)
Ambrosian Singers, Hallé Orchestra, Sir John Barbirolli
Paris - Song of a Great City
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Mackerras
In a Summer Garden
Hallé Orchestra, Vernon Handley
Two Pieces For Small Orchestra
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley
Fennimore and Gerda: Intermezzo
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley
Piano Concerto in C minor
Piers Lane (piano)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley
Florida Suite
Revised and edited by Sir Thomas Beecham
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox
Brigg Fair
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox
Summer Evening
arr. Beecham
Northern Sinfonia of England, Richard Hickox
Koanga: La Calinda
arr. Fenby
Northern Sinfonia of England, Richard Hickox
Air and Dance
Northern Sinfonia of England, Richard Hickox
Hassan: Intermezzo & Serenade
arr. Beecham
Northern Sinfonia of England, Richard Hickox
Aquarelles (2)
arr. Fenby
The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Sir Neville Marriner
Lebenstanz
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves
North Country Sketches
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves
Sea Drift
John Noble (baritone)
Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves
Cynara
John Shirley-Quirk (baritone)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Charles Groves
Violin Concerto
Yehudi Menuhin (violin)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Meredith Davies
Double Concerto for Violin and Cello
Yehudi Menuhin (violin), Paul Tortelier (cello)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Meredith Davies
Cello Concerto
Jacqueline du Pré (cello)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Malcolm Sargent
Dance
arr. Eric Fenby
Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Eric Fenby
Koanga: La Calinda
arr. Eric Fenby
Elena Duran (flute)
Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Eric Fenby
Air and Dance
arr. Eric Fenby
Elena Duran (flute)
Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Eric Fenby
Five Little Pieces
arr. Eric Fenby
Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Eric Fenby
Sonata for string orchestra
arr. Eric Fenby
Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Eric Fenby
String Quartet (1916)
Britten Quartet
Violin Sonata No. 1 in E major
Yehudi Menuhin (violin), Eric Fenby (piano)
Violin Sonata No. 2
Yehudi Menuhin (violin), Eric Fenby (piano)
Violin Sonata No. 3
Yehudi Menuhin (violin), Eric Fenby (piano)
Legende
Tasmin Little (violin), John Lenehan (piano)
Cello Sonata
Moray Welsh (cello), Israela Margalit (piano)
Dance
Igor Kipnis (harpsichord)
Twilight Fancies
Ian Bostridge (tenor), Julius Drake (piano)
To be sung of a summer night on the water, No. 1
(wordless)
Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir Philip Ledger
Wanderer's Song
Baccholian Singers of London
The Homeward Way
Marjorie Thomas (mezzo)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Twilight Fancies
orch. Beecham
Elsie Suddaby (soprano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Whither (Autumn)
orch. Beecham
Elsie Suddaby (soprano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
The Violet
orch. Gibson
Elsie Suddaby (soprano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Whither (Autumn)
Dora Labbette (soprano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
The Violet
Dora Labbette (soprano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
I-Brasîl
Dora Labbette (soprano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Young Venevil
sung in German
Dora Labbette (soprano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham
Twilight Fancies
Dora Labbette (soprano), Sir Thomas Beecham (piano)
Cradle song
Dora Labbette (soprano), Sir Thomas Beecham (piano)
The Nightingale (from Five Songs from the Norwegian)
Dora Labbette (soprano), Sir Thomas Beecham (piano)
Irmelin Rose from Seven Danish Songs
Dora Labbette (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
So white, so soft, so sweet is she from Four Old English Lyrics
Dora Labbette (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
Le ciel est, par-dessus le toit
Dora Labbette (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
La lune blanche
Dora Labbette (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
To the queen of my heart (from Three Shelley Songs)
Heddle Nash (tenor), Gerald Moore (piano)
Love’s Philosophy (from Three Shelley Songs)
Heddle Nash (tenor), Gerald Moore (piano)
Caprice & Elegy
Beatrice Harrison (cello)
Chamber Orchestra, Eric Fenby
Eventyr (once upon a time)
Hallé Orchestra, Vernon Handley
Hassan - incidental music
Martyn Hill (tenor), Brian Rayner Cook (baritone)
Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir, Vernon Handley
Songs of Sunset
Dame Janet Baker (mezzo), John Shirley-Quirk (baritone)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, Sir Charles Groves
An Arabesque
John Shirley-Quirk (baritone)
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, Sir Charles Groves
A Mass of Life
Heather Harper (soprano), Helen Watts (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor), Benjamin Luxon (baritone)
London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir, Sir Charles Groves
Requiem
Heather Harper (soprano), John Shirley-Quirk (baritone)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Choral Society, Meredith Davies
Idyll 'Once I passed through a populous city'
Heather Harper (soprano), John Shirley-Quirk (baritone)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Meredith Davies
A Song before sunrise
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Malcolm Sargent
Songs of Farewell
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Choral Society, Sir Malcolm Sargent
Koanga
Eugene Holmes (Koanga), Claudia Lindsey (Palmyra), Raimund Herincx (Don José Martinez), Keith Erwen (Simon Perez), Jean Allister (Clotilda), Simon Estes (Rangwan)
London Symphony Orchestra, John Alldis Choir, Sir Charles Groves
A Song of the High Hills
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, Sir Charles Groves
A Village Romeo and Juliet
Benjamin Luxon (Manz), Noel Mangin (Marti), Colin Manley (Sali - as a child), Wendy Eathorne (Vrenchen - as a child), Elizabeth Harwood (Vrenchen), Robert Tear (Sali), John Shirley-Quirk (The Dark Fiddler)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, John Alldis Choir, Meredith Davies
Fennimore and Gerda
Elisabeth Söderström (Fennimore, Gerda), Brian Rayner Cook (Niels Lyhne), Robert Tear (Erik Refstrup)
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Danish Radio Chorus, Meredith Davies
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 01, 2012, 12:11:49 PM
Here I am! The contents of that EMI box are excellent. I know many, if not most of the recordings. Sir Charles Groves is really underestimated as a Delian - his Sea-Drift and Mass of Life, for example, are excellent. Beecham and Barbirolli are great, too, of course. Anyone who wants to get to know Delius, can't go wrong with this box!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2012, 12:20:44 PM
Here I am! The contents of that EMI box are excellent. I know many, if not most of the recordings. Sir Charles Groves is really underestimated as a Delian - his Sea-Drift and Mass of Life, for example, are excellent. Beecham and Barbirolli are great, too, of course. Anyone who wants to get to know Delius, can't go wrong with this box!

That's true, Johan. Groves gets no respect! A shame really. I own several of the recordings out of this box, but there was a good bit in it that I didn't own and haven't even heard. My Delius collection has just increased by 18 discs. :) The Decca box looks pretty good too, but I own almost all of the recordings with Mackerras, so really didn't need it plus it's only 8-CDs which seems kind of disappointing. I thought Decca had more Delius recordings in their archive than 8 discs worth.

Johan, let me ask you, why do you think Delius is so unappreciated not only on this forum but abroad?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 01, 2012, 12:29:26 PM
Johan, let me ask you, why do you think Delius is so unappreciated not only on this forum but abroad?


Good question, and a difficult one, too. You should think the sheer beauty of his music would draw people in... I have a few ideas, but I want to make some coffee first!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2012, 12:30:22 PM

Good question, and a difficult one, too. You should think the sheer beauty of his music would draw people in... I have a few ideas, but I want to make some coffee first!

Yes, I'll be waiting for your answer....
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 01, 2012, 12:54:40 PM
1) Musicians don't find him rewarding to play. His music is full of chromatic harmony, so there isn't much independence of line there. In Delius the total effect is what counts, which is magical for us, but less so for the players (it seems).


2) Delius is a cosmopolitan composer, perhaps even the first Western composer of a sort of 'world music'.  His style is a synthesis of German, French, English, Scandinavian and Afro-American music. Though the English have claimed Delius as their own - he was born in Yorkshire after all -, he isn't as English as Elgar is, or Vaughan Williams. He belongs to no single national school.


3) People have negative preconceptions about Delius, based on only a few pieces (Cuckoo, for instance). They see him as the soft, melancholy, nature-adoring dreamer-poet. Of course there is some truth to that. But Delius is so much more. His music is sensuous and sensual, ecstatic, lively, colourful, and though the range of emotions may be restricted, he mines his special vein like no-one else.


4) Delius is an original. His musicial structures are sui generis, his language quasi spontaneous and led by emotion, not intellect. People who like their music to have an analyzable logic, find his music therefore shallow or are incapable of understanding why it moves and develops in the way it does. The stupid word 'meandering' always crops up in this context. If you are on Delius' wave-length his music is perfectly clear and cogent, with not a bar too many, and utterly ravishing.


Long live Frederick Delius!


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 01, 2012, 01:02:13 PM
A good point.It's the same with Bax. If you like his music,it doesn't meander. And,to be honest,I can think of allot of more highly rated music that meanders more than Bax. Well,at least to my ears. Also,like Delius his muse was emotional. I don't think he was particularly interested in structure in the way Sibelius was,for example.
Anyway,as they say,back to Delius!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2012, 01:07:46 PM
1) Musicians don't find him rewarding to play. His music is full of chromatic harmony, so there isn't much independence of line there. In Delius the total effect is what counts, which is magical for us, but less so for the players (it seems).


2) Delius is a cosmopolitan composer, perhaps even the first Western composer of a sort of 'world music'.  His style is a synthesis of German, French, English, Scandinavian and Afro-American music. Though the English have claimed Delius as their own - he was born in Yorkshire after all -, he isn't as English as Elgar is, or Vaughan Williams. He belongs to no single national school.


3) People have negative preconceptions about Delius, based on only a few pieces (Cuckoo, for instance). They see him as the soft, melancholy, nature-adoring dreamer-poet. Of course there is some truth to that. But Delius is so much more. His music is sensuous and sensual, ecstatic, lively, colourful, and though the range of emotions may be restricted, he mines his special vein like no-one else.


4) Delius is an original. His musicial structures are sui generis, his language quasi spontaneous and led by emotion, not intellect. People who like their music to have an analyzable logic, find his music therefore shallow or are incapable of understanding why it moves and develops in the way it does. The stupid word 'meandering' always crops up in this context. If you are on Delius' wave-length his music is perfectly clear and cogent, with not a bar too many, and utterly ravishing.


Long live Frederick Delius!

Very well argued, Johan, and you are right on all points I think. If people would listen to the music on its own terms and not their own, then maybe there would be more of a fighting chance for his music to win over more listeners. When I listen to Delius, he puts me into a completely different place altogether. All of my troubles, cares, etc. have all been washed away. People, like you said, only hear a few works, which most of them hear works like The Walk to the Paradise Garden or Summer Night on the River. These are nice works but, they simply don't want to understand the music and try and get inside of it or even move on from there. Once they move on, they will discover there's more to Delius than shimmering harmonies. There is a whole plethora of musical gems to discover.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 01, 2012, 02:42:00 PM
His best music has a mysterious,enigmatic quality. (I particularly like listening to it late at night). Like Koechlin's Persian Hours,there's far more to Delius's tone poems than 'musical postcards',despite the names. They are also very concise,not a note wasted. Mini- marvels,to be precise!

By,the way,what do you think of his 'Song of the high hills',which is a work which doesn't get mentioned quite so much & apparently,the closest Delius ever got to composing a symphony. I may be wrong,but I seem to have read somewhere that it was not a Beecham favourite?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 01, 2012, 02:51:13 PM
His best music has a mysterious,enigmatic quality. (I particularly like listening to it late at night). Like Koechlin's Persian Hours,there's far more to Delius's tone poems than 'musical postcards',despite the names. They are also very concise,not a note wasted. Mini- marvels,to be precise!

By,the way,what do you think of his 'Song of the high hills',which is a work which doesn't get mentioned quite so much & apparently,the closest Delius ever got to composing a symphony. I may be wrong,but I seem to have read somewhere that it was not a Beecham favourite?


Listening to Brigg Fair under Beecham at the moment... Song of the High Hills (which I have in score, too) is a strange piece. It is rather cool and unapproachable, I find, like the high hills it depicts. Still, it has one of the most 'mystical' choral passages in the whole of Delius.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2012, 04:07:46 PM
His best music has a mysterious,enigmatic quality. (I particularly like listening to it late at night). Like Koechlin's Persian Hours,there's far more to Delius's tone poems than 'musical postcards',despite the names. They are also very concise,not a note wasted. Mini- marvels,to be precise!

By,the way,what do you think of his 'Song of the high hills',which is a work which doesn't get mentioned quite so much & apparently,the closest Delius ever got to composing a symphony. I may be wrong,but I seem to have read somewhere that it was not a Beecham favourite?

Song of the High Hills is on my to-listen-to list right now. I'll probably listen to it next. I've been wanting to hear it for quite some time.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 02, 2012, 05:39:59 AM
I have the Unicorn recording,which may,or may not,be the best way to hear this work. I'll pop it on tonight!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on February 02, 2012, 07:24:24 AM
1) Musicians don't find him rewarding to play. His music is full of chromatic harmony, so there isn't much independence of line there. In Delius the total effect is what counts, which is magical for us, but less so for the players (it seems).


2) Delius is a cosmopolitan composer, perhaps even the first Western composer of a sort of 'world music'.  His style is a synthesis of German, French, English, Scandinavian and Afro-American music. Though the English have claimed Delius as their own - he was born in Yorkshire after all -, he isn't as English as Elgar is, or Vaughan Williams. He belongs to no single national school.


3) People have negative preconceptions about Delius, based on only a few pieces (Cuckoo, for instance). They see him as the soft, melancholy, nature-adoring dreamer-poet. Of course there is some truth to that. But Delius is so much more. His music is sensuous and sensual, ecstatic, lively, colourful, and though the range of emotions may be restricted, he mines his special vein like no-one else.


4) Delius is an original. His musicial structures are sui generis, his language quasi spontaneous and led by emotion, not intellect. People who like their music to have an analyzable logic, find his music therefore shallow or are incapable of understanding why it moves and develops in the way it does. The stupid word 'meandering' always crops up in this context. If you are on Delius' wave-length his music is perfectly clear and cogent, with not a bar too many, and utterly ravishing.


Long live Frederick Delius!

To be pedantic....."meandering" is not a "stupid word" ;D It may be used inappropriately to describe a reaction by the listener to the music, although again, that is a subjective judgment based upon one's reaction to the music; a subjective judgment both by the listener who uses the descriptive word and the listener who finds the word inappropriate and misleading as a description ;D ;D

I shall repeat what I have said before: I have 17 cds on my shelves containing all of Delius's orchestral and choral music committed to cd. And yes, I shall concede that this is partly or even mainly because as a strong supporter of the cause of British music and as a collector I simply "have to have" any or all British orchestral music available to listen to if the mood takes me.

But the mood does not take me back to Delius very often or at all :( Now this may be because I am not listening to it "properly" (whatever that may mean) or I am not "looking for the right things" in the music, I am the victim of my own pre-conceptions, or whatever other deficiencies in my approach to musical appreciation you care to identify.

No doubt, therefore, the 'fault' lies with me rather with Frederick Delius as a composer. I have never argued that Delius was a 'poor' composer. That would be an absurd assertion to make. Clearly he was a composer of unique ability. Perhaps he could even be regarded as a 'musical genius', whatever that may mean or signify. And if I were to spend weeks, months, years immersing myself in his music maybe, just maybe it would all click into place for me ???

....but life is short, there is so much music discovered and undiscovered, sung and unsung, which really appeals to me or would almost certainly do so and I cannot help continuing to pursue a search for that type of music. That is the sort of musical listener I am :) The music of Frederick Delius-in the main, there are a few exceptions-does not strike the requisite chords in my musical psyche and never has. As a teenager I was given an LP with on one side the Samuel Barber Violin Concerto and on the other, the Delius Violin Concerto. The Barber immediately struck with its romantic beauty, especially, obviously, the slow movement. The Delius bored me stiff.

Maybe I am still that teenager grown old and atrophied in my musical taste :( ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 02, 2012, 08:12:17 AM
And in the blue corner.......

I have the same experience with certain composers. Charles Stanford,for example. I have loads of Stanford cds,all the symphonies & however hard I try to experience the pleasure some people get out of his music,it's still 'in one ear and out the other'. But,I won't go on,in case I offend someone!

On the other hand,I DO like some Hubert Parry!

  Ravel's another one.A genius,yes I know! But his music leaves me cold. His chamber & instrumental music is more interesting,but I still don't play it much & believe me,I've tried! Tournemire,Ropartz,Roussel,Magnard & Koechlin are all far more appealing to my ears!

I DO like some Delius,though!


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 02, 2012, 08:52:25 AM
And in the blue corner.......

I have the same experience with certain composers. Charles Stanford,for example. I have loads of Stanford cds,all the symphonies & however hard I try to experience the pleasure some people get out of his music,it's still 'in one ear and out the other'. But,I won't go on,in case I offend someone!

On the other hand,I DO like Hubert Parry!

  Ravel's another one.A genius,yes I know! But his music leaves me cold. His chamber & instrumental music is more interesting,but I still don't play it much & believe me,I've tried! Tournemire,Ropartz,Roussel,Magnard & Koechlin are all far more appealing to my ears!

I DO like some Delius,though!

I like Hubert Parry too, especially Symphony No. 5. What a masterwork.

I can certainly understand why a lot of people wouldn't like Ravel's orchestral music and prefer his chamber music. The honest truth is Ravel is one my favorite composers, but there is a good bit of his music that I don't like (i. e. Bolero, never cared much for La Valse), but I think Daphnis et Chloe and the piano concerti are strokes of genius. I also love his Piano Trio and I've really been quite taken by L'enfant et les sortileges and the song cycle Sheherazade. I don't listen to Ravel as much as I used to, but his music still means a lot to me. Debussy is also one of those composers that I've come to love maybe a tad more than Ravel. I think there are more Debussy works that I love over Ravel's. I mean just listen to Sonata for flute, viola, and harp. What a brilliant work and one that I thought I would never love. Of course, I like the usual Debussy suspects like La mer, Images, Nocturnes, but I've found so many gems that hardly ever get mentioned like Children's Corner (orch. A. Caplet) and Le martye de Saint Sebastien.

Anyway, as much as I like Delius, he doesn't hold a candle to Ravel or Debussy. He certainly hasn't moved me like these two composers. Ravel and Debussy are desert island composers for me. I could live without Delius.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on February 02, 2012, 09:24:11 AM
And in the blue corner.......

I have the same experience with certain composers. Charles Stanford,for example. I have loads of Stanford cds,all the symphonies & however hard I try to experience the pleasure some people get out of his music,it's still 'in one ear and out the other'. But,I won't go on,in case I offend someone!

On the other hand,I DO like some Hubert Parry!

  Ravel's another one.A genius,yes I know! But his music leaves me cold. His chamber & instrumental music is more interesting,but I still don't play it much & believe me,I've tried! Tournemire,Ropartz,Roussel,Magnard & Koechlin are all far more appealing to my ears!

I DO like some Delius,though!

Oh, don't worry ;D

Johan and I are far too good friends and respect each other's views far too much to fall out over a difference of perspective :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: eyeresist on February 02, 2012, 04:55:57 PM
As a teenager I was given an LP with on one side the Samuel Barber Violin Concerto and on the other, the Delius Violin Concerto. The Barber immediately struck with its romantic beauty, especially, obviously, the slow movement. The Delius bored me stiff.
I had the opposite experience with a CfP disc of piano concertos by RVW and Delius plus the Finzi Eclogue (Piers Lane/Handley). To my surprise the Delius was the definite standout, though it's perhaps not his most characteristic work.
 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2012, 07:58:51 AM
Anyway, as much as I like Delius, he doesn't hold a candle to Ravel or Debussy. He certainly hasn't moved me like these two composers. Ravel and Debussy are desert island composers for me. I could live without Delius.


Delius moves me more than Ravel and Debussy, as much as I love their music. A desert island choice for me...


Johan and I are far too good friends and respect each other's views far too much to fall out over a difference of perspective :)


Indeed.  :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 03, 2012, 08:41:30 AM
I listened to Brigg Fair & the Dance Rhapsody No 2,conducted by Beecham & I definately prefer him to Ravel,who is a composer who does nothing for me,genius,or not. I find that kind of french 'impressionism' gloomy & disturbing. Delius's music is,by contrast,light and airy in texture & even when it's got fey sounding titles about cuckoo's and gardens,strangely mysterious.
 Delius's connections with Norway,and the Beecham connection,got me picking out my Beecham cd of Grieg's Peer Gynt,this morning. I was going to take this down to the charity shop. Wonderful music & performances,I'll be keeping this! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2012, 08:47:45 AM
I listened to Brigg Fair & the Dance Rhapsody No 2,conducted by Beecham & I definately prefer him to Ravel,who is a composer who does nothing for me,genius,or not. I find that kind of french 'impressionism' gloomy & disturbing. Delius's music is,by contrast,light and airy in texture & even when it's got fey sounding titles about cuckoo's and gardens,strangely mysterious.
 Delius's connections with Norway,and the Beecham connection,got me picking out my Beecham cd of Grieg's Peer Gynt,this morning. I was going to take this down to the charity shop. Wonderful music & performances,I'll be keeping this! :)

Ravel's impressionism dark and gloomy? Okay, this has to be one of the most silly things I've read on this forum.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2012, 08:50:34 AM
Ravel's impressionism dark and gloomy? Okay, this has to be one of the most silly things I've read on this forum.


Let's call it a bit misguided. There is sombreness in Debussy, though. But in Ravel? No.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 03, 2012, 09:27:39 AM
Erm,I didn't say,'dark & gloomy'? 'Gloomy & disturbing' was what I wrote! And,anyway, I was merely referring to a particular kind of music which I don't particularly enjoy.
Van Goch is a great painter & I love his work. But I wouldn't have (reproductions! ;D) on the wall,or look at one before going to bed,as the images are very disturbing. It's just an opinion,that's all!
Give me Tournemire,Magnard,Ropartz or Koechlin,any day!

I was referring to my emotional response to the music,anyway. I suppose I should have stated that more clearly. There is certainly nothing intrinsically gloomy about Ravel's music,itself. I just don't like the atmosphere or the textures. No offence intended,MI!



Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2012, 09:40:16 AM
Erm,I didn't say,'dark & gloomy'? 'Gloomy & disturbing' was what I wrote! And,anyway, I was merely referring to a particular kind of music which I don't particularly enjoy.
Van Goch is a great painter & I love his work. But I wouldn't have (reproductions! ;D ) on the wall,or look at one before going to bed,as the images are very disturbing. It's just an opinion,that's all!
Give me Tournemire,Magnard,Ropartz or Koechlin,any day!

I was referring to my emotional response to the music,anyway. I suppose I should have stated that more clearly. There is certainly nothing intrinsically gloomy about Ravel's music,itself. I just don't like the atmosphere or the textures. No offence intended,MI!


Chacun à son goût.  ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 03, 2012, 09:43:25 AM
What's the best book to read on Delius & his music,Johan? And not TOO colossal a tome!
(Or,anyone else,for that matter!)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on February 03, 2012, 09:43:42 AM
Nothing wrong with "gloomy" ;D  I like gloom ;D

The opening of the Ravel Left-Hand Concerto opens in dark gloom or sombre mode if you prefer ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2012, 09:46:42 AM
Nothing wrong with "gloomy" ;D  I like gloom ;D

The opening of the Ravel Left-Hand Concerto opens in dark gloom or sombre mode if you prefer ;D


Indeed it does. (The main theme always reminds me of Brian's Tenth...) But it gets lighter very soon. Wonderful piece.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 03, 2012, 10:58:06 AM
Thanks to Johan,in part,I've got my pile of Delius cds next to my easy chair,now! Beecham's (stereo) 'Brigg Fair' is on now. It IS marvellous! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 03, 2012, 11:04:43 AM
I am REALLY enjoying this music! :) :) :)

I have the recent emi (single cd) of Beechams stereo recordings of Delius,here. No meandering here,as far as I'm concerned (I mean the music,not the post!)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 03, 2012, 12:27:53 PM
Hi cilgwyn! If you want to read something about Delius, you could do worse than read the books Beecham and Fenby wrote about him...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 03, 2012, 01:12:06 PM
Thank you. I shall keep a look out for these books s/h.
While looking on Amazon I was VERY suprised at the lack of recent books about this composer!

I ALSO spotted the recent emi boxed set of Beecham conducting English music. All but one disc devoted to Delius,of course! And the first two are of the stereo recordings. VERY good value INDEED at £9.99 post free!!!
Might be tempted SOON!

You've got me hooked on this!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 03, 2012, 02:00:46 PM
Hm! The Arkiv review of this set is VERY off putting,especially with respect to the remastering of the mono recordings! Also,the choice of one or two substantial items. I think I might defer on this one! This is often the problem with bargain boxes like this. Awkward cd breaks are another one!
Also,one distinct advantage of the single emi issue is that the opening item is 'Brigg Fair'.The purrrrfect opener!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2012, 08:47:11 PM
Erm,I didn't say,'dark & gloomy'? 'Gloomy & disturbing' was what I wrote! And,anyway, I was merely referring to a particular kind of music which I don't particularly enjoy.
Van Goch is a great painter & I love his work. But I wouldn't have (reproductions! ;D) on the wall,or look at one before going to bed,as the images are very disturbing. It's just an opinion,that's all!
Give me Tournemire,Magnard,Ropartz or Koechlin,any day!

I was referring to my emotional response to the music,anyway. I suppose I should have stated that more clearly. There is certainly nothing intrinsically gloomy about Ravel's music,itself. I just don't like the atmosphere or the textures. No offence intended,MI!

Why would I be offended by your opinion? I was just merely making a comment. We all receive music differently. I certainly won't argue with you about you preferring Koechlin. ;) :D A fine composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 04, 2012, 08:50:21 AM
And anyone who can orchestrate like that is obviously a genius,anyway,regardless of my emotional response! :)
And when are we going to get some more Koechlin,I wonder?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 05, 2012, 07:51:14 AM
Thanks,in part,to Johan's enthusiasm,it's been a Delius marathon all week. And it's still on the cd player,right now!
I can't get enough. The only meandering,as far as I can make out,is when I've had to go upstairs to look for more Delius,and back!
Not sure about Appalachia,though. I've no doubt there's some lovely music there,but it DOES go on a bit!
  A major suprise,this time around,was 'Over the hills & far away'. An early work,I'm given to believe,but a lovely work,full of those inimitable Delian 'fingerprints'. I have listened to both the Mackerras & Beecham (stereo) readings.
  The Florida suite is another lovely work. I don't find the inspiration uneven,at all,as some,apparently,do.

Later on,I will 'brave' Paris,which has always been a little too noisily sub Straussian for me. I think I will enjoy it this time!

At this rate,Delius could be my favourite English composer,after Brian,of course! ;D

The Mackerras 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' is in my 'pile'. One of my favourite English opera's,along with,'The Tiger's (of course! ;D),'Hugh the Drover' (in the Groves emi recording),'Sir John in Love','The Pilgrims Progress','Peter Grimes' & 'The Rape of Lucretia' (in Britten's own recordings) & Boughton's 'The Immortal Hour',which I have recently begun to enjoy!

I have an off air recording of Delius's 'The Magic Fountain' on cassettes,somewhere,which I must 'dig out'. I think it's 'Scottish opera',but I'm not sure?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2012, 07:04:15 PM
And anyone who can orchestrate like that is obviously a genius,anyway,regardless of my emotional response! :)
And when are we going to get some more Koechlin,I wonder?

There's supposedly a Holliger-led disc of Koechlin orchestrations and other original works coming out sometime this year. I just don't know when it's going to be released. This information comes from one of Koechlin's relatives which I've spoken with on Facebook several times.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sandra on February 06, 2012, 01:44:40 AM
Big fan of his music. There's a characteristic coldness in his works which are kind of noble. Unfortunately, most musicians I have talked with don't like his works... often for the exact same reasons why I do like them :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 06, 2012, 12:01:55 PM
Not sure about Appalachia,though. I've no doubt there's some lovely music there,but it DOES go on a bit!
  A major suprise,this time around,was 'Over the hills & far away'. An early work,I'm given to believe,but a lovely work,full of those inimitable Delian 'fingerprints'. I have listened to both the Mackerras & Beecham (stereo) readings.
  The Florida suite is another lovely work. I don't find the inspiration uneven,at all,as some,apparently,do.

Later on,I will 'brave' Paris,which has always been a little too noisily sub Straussian for me. I think I will enjoy it this time!

At this rate,Delius could be my favourite English composer,after Brian,of course! ;D


Appalachia is a bit long, I agree, but as a demonstration piece it's excellent - it shows Delius could write anything. There are so many kinds of music there!

Over the Hills and Far Away - love it for the great lyrical passages. The rather boisterous 'frame' is less Delian, and seems to be slightly indebted to Delius' Norwegian friend, the composer Johan Svendsen (if Christopher Palmer is to be believed).


Florida Suite - nothing wrong with it, very appealing, though not major Delius, IMO.


Paris - just as schizophrenic as Over the Hills in the alternation of the energetic and melancholy. I like the opening, the buildup. And the lonely passages are magical.


Big fan of his music. There's a characteristic coldness in his works which are kind of noble. Unfortunately, most musicians I have talked with don't like his works... often for the exact same reasons why I do like them :)


I wouldn't call his music 'cold'. But it is a lot more aloof and reserved than Mahler's, to name just one heart-on-sleeve contemporary. A pity about those musicians.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 06, 2012, 01:19:09 PM
Well'it's been a Delian 'marathon' here,for the last couple of days & part of it thanks to you're advocacy,Johan!  I think you might have a convert to the (Delian) cause,here! In fact,the only work I did not particularly enjoy was 'Appalachia',which has some lovely music,but unlike most of Delius's music,which I have listened to so far,DOES meander a bit TOO much for it's own good,imho!

  I also enjoyed 'A Song of the High Hills' in the Eric Fenby Unicorn Kanchana recording. No problem with that here! :) 'Paris',suddenly 'clicked'.Loved that,too! And,now I have the Piano Concerto on,in the emi recording. I have heard this before,but,crucially,used the program button,so I could give it my full attention,this time around. A lovely work. It may not be Delius at his most characteristic,but it's certainly one of the most beautiful & grandest British/English piano concerto's I'VE listened to!  I suppose I should hear the hyperion recording that everyone raved about. Have you heard it? If so,I wonder what you think of it (or anyone else for that matter). This is REALLY wonderful! :)
 
Sea Drift & the choral works next,but no 'Mass of Life'. The emi Groves recording,I want has been deleted for ages & only available from sellers at extortionate prices! :( Annoying the way emi have developed a nasty habit of re-releasing their recordings now as part of multi cd boxes. Although,I notice that the emi recording of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' is available again,now (Also emi's Walton's Troilus & Cressida is up for re-release next month! Another one that's been deleted for ages.)

Koanga's another one that should be re-issued! >:(
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 06, 2012, 01:34:12 PM
Here are 1) the lovely song 'Wine Roses', sung by Sarah Walker with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Eric Fenby and 2) 'Cynara', with John Shirley-Quirk and Charles Groves conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra...


http://www.mediafire.com/?9by9bttj11316lj (http://www.mediafire.com/?9by9bttj11316lj)


http://www.mediafire.com/?d2zh1fs6fzzme34 (http://www.mediafire.com/?d2zh1fs6fzzme34)

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 06, 2012, 01:46:29 PM
Thanks,Johan.
I will have another go at 'Appalachia' later. I SHOULD enjoy it! I remember buying an Lp of it years ago at the market & liking it,then. I shall program it seperately,like the Piano Concerto,which has been on repeat for a while,now! That should do the trick. I remember I was doing things (wearing cordless headphones,albeit Sennheiser's,good ones!). This way,I can give it my full attention.

I Will 'dig out' those off air cassettes of 'The Magic Fountain' as soon as I have the time!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 06, 2012, 01:51:05 PM
Thanks,Johan.
I will have another go at 'Appalachia' later. I SHOULD enjoy it! I remember buying an Lp of it years ago at the market & liking it,then. I shall program it seperately,like the Piano Concerto,which has been on repeat for a while,now! That should do the trick. I remember I was doing things (wearing cordless headphones,albeit Sennheiser's,good ones!). This way,I can give it my full attention.

I Will 'dig out' those off air cassettes of 'The Magic Fountain' as soon as I have the time!


I should give the Piano Concerto a listen again (yes, it's the Hyperion with the Ireland concerto too, and if I have the time I'll upload it for you as FLACs). High time I reassess it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 06, 2012, 03:48:42 PM
Thank you. I remember taping the Delius Piano Concerto (not the Hyperion) off that request programme they used to have on R3 on Saturday afternoons. They used to feature a less well known work. The programme lasted about two hours & then the rotters took it off (more 'dumbing down')! :(
I've had this cd for a while now. I quite liked it before,but you're postings here got me listening again,more attentively & in the context of hearing those other works.

Regarding,'Appalachia'. The Lp I had was the Barbirolli. The one I have here is conducted by Mackerras & I am definately enjoying it now. Not too disparage the 'Florida suite',but this is even finer. Glorious music. I was just busy doing things & obviously wasn't paying enough attention. More fool me! There's no chaff here. What I was thinking of? This is one of Delius's most original & varied works. Marvellous! Delius's use of voices is stunning & I'm someone who,frankly,finds some well known English choral works a tad turgid (not that very large one by 'you know who',of course! ;D)
You don't seem so keen on the 'Song of the High Hills'. I enjoyed that,when I put it on,but this is more varied & heartwarming. 'The Song of the high hills' has got some extroadinary writing,though;especially the beginning & the way those voices 'come in').
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 06, 2012, 03:54:59 PM
Delius's use of voices is stunning & I'm someone who,frankly,finds some well known English choral works a tad turgid (not that very large one by 'you know who',of course! ;D )
You don't seem so keen on the 'Song of the High Hills'. I enjoyed that,when I put it on,but this is more varied & heartwarming. 'The Song of the high hills' has got some extroadinary writing,though;especially the beginning & the way those voices 'come in').


He Who Must Not Be Named, indeed...


Oh, but I do find Song of the High Hills a beautiful work, and that entry of the voices is magical. But there is something about the structure... Delius is more traditional here (with literal repetition of material), and I don't think it suits him. Delius is at his best when the music finds it own form (seemingly) organically.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on February 08, 2012, 12:35:01 PM

Regarding,'Appalachia'. The Lp I had was the Barbirolli. The one I have here is conducted by Mackerras & I am definately enjoying it now. Not too disparage the 'Florida suite',but this is even finer. Glorious music. I was just busy doing things & obviously wasn't paying enough attention. More fool me! There's no chaff here. What I was thinking of? This is one of Delius's most original & varied works. Marvellous!

My own judgement is that "Appalachia" is Delius' very finest work, or perhaps I should say the very "epitome" of everything he wrote.  What is the heart or core or defining ethos of what Delius communicates in all his music?  If I myself had to use a single word to characterize it I might say "evanescence" or "transience" - the sense or quality of things "passing away" (those wordless voices that waft in and out of the textures now and then in Appalachia is a particularly telling expression), - and his special artistry lies in the exquisite poignance he draws out of that experience.  But in Appalachia not only does he evoke this poignance of the transient but transforms it into almost an ecstasy, - a transcendence of the boundaries of the self, or almost mystical participation in some immanent "life force" or vitalism, - whatever.  Thus towards the end of the piece when the baritone leads the chorus with "Oh Honey I am going down the river in the morning..." what one would think should be a very sorrowful reflection has morphed into almost a celebration, or at least an affirmation, - emerging out of the very center of regret.  It's uncanny.  Much of the music is intensely sad & melancholy, - yet by the end one feels wondrous, exhilirated, - even joyful.

I want to urge you to pick up if you can the Hickox/RPO performance of "Appalachia" which IMO is far and away the very best reading it has ever received, - in the tempos and dynamics, the ebb and the flow, it is just about perfect.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2012, 02:20:34 PM
I want to urge you to pick up if you can the Hickox/LSO performance of "Appalachia" which IMO is far and way the very best reading it has ever received - in the tempos and dynamics, the ebb and flow, is just about perfect.

This I agree with. Yes, it's the best Appalachia I've heard too.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 09, 2012, 09:16:15 AM
Beautiful contribution to this thread, J. What you say about Delius is closely related to what Christopher Palmer in his book on Delius calls 'The Delian Experience' - that seminal experience in Florida, when Delius heard Negroes singing, and their strange harmonies wafting towards him through the evening, both poignant and uplifting. Appalachia was the first longer piece by Delius I came to love very much, and it still hasn't lost its power to move me. Hickox is very good, I agree, though I find the baritone in the Barbirolli more appealing, less grainy.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 09, 2012, 10:14:06 AM
I'll have another listen later on.Wonderful music. Sounds like I should get a cd of that Barbirolli (I did have the Lp). As to the Hickox,I looked this up on Amazon & recognised the cd 'artwork'. I did have the performance on cd. Sadly,it went,along with lovely original Argos set of The Mackerras recording of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet'. 'The great Delius purge!' Silly me!!!
 Now,partly (maybe,wholly?) thanks to Johan,I'm enjoying this composer again & more than before! In fact my 'Delius Marathon' only ended the other day,because of a bad migraine,and just in case anyone who doesn't like Delius reads this,it was NOT because of all the Delius I was listening to!!! ;D

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 09, 2012, 10:25:14 AM
Phew!  :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on February 15, 2012, 12:28:54 PM
What you say about Delius is closely related to what Christopher Palmer in his book on Delius calls 'The Delian Experience' - that seminal experience in Florida, when Delius heard Negroes singing, and their strange harmonies wafting towards him through the evening, both poignant and uplifting.

Yes, - one description I remember (from Wiki) of those days in Solano Grove along the St. John's River that struck my imagination speaks of shipowners encouraging their Negro (African-American) deckhands to sing as they worked, and how haunted Delius became by their unforgettable songs as he "heard them day or night carrying sweet and clear across the water to his verandah whenever a steamship passed".

Could you tell me a bit more about Palmer's book on Delius, - "Portrait of a Cosmopolitan"?  How much of the work is straight biography and historical/cultural/impressionistic reflection on the music, vs. technical/academic
"nuts and bolts" analysis of scores and such?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 15, 2012, 12:36:59 PM
J, about Palmer's book - it is one part personal, one part biography, one part musical analysis of the rudimentary kind. Christopher Palmer tells us about his relationship with Delius' music, about Delius' life and character, and the very varied influences which stand behind the music. He has separate chapters (iirc, I read it a long long time ago) detailing Delius' German side, French side, Scandinavian side, English side, American side. And he gives a chapter about the composers Delius influenced in his turn. You don't have to know a lot of musical theory to like the book, though it helps to be able to read and/or play music, because he gives examples. I love the book, as it makes you want to explore Delius' music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on February 15, 2012, 03:49:25 PM
J, about Palmer's book - it is one part personal, one part biography, one part musical analysis of the rudimentary kind. Christopher Palmer tells us about his relationship with Delius' music, about Delius' life and character, and the very varied influences which stand behind the music. He has separate chapters (iirc, I read it a long long time ago) detailing Delius' German side, French side, Scandinavian side, English side, American side. And he gives a chapter about the composers Delius influenced in his turn. You don't have to know a lot of musical theory to like the book, though it helps to be able to read and/or play music, because he gives examples. I love the book, as it makes you want to explore Delius' music.

Thanks Johann, - I'll have a look for it.

The books on Delius I am most familiar with are Beecham's biography, Fenby's account of the last years, and Jahoda's somewhat "popularized" (but endearing) treatment "The Road to Samarkand". 

What I'd love to have is a really large-scale "Life" - something akin to Swafford's Brahms or Jens Fischer's book on Mahler, - but don't believe anything like that has been done yet.  On the whole Delius remains a rather obscure and mysterious character for me, - especially in regards to his inner experience and development.  I've seen reference to a large two-volume collection of Letters that might offer good insights.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 15, 2012, 04:29:25 PM
I have read the books you mention, too, of course. You are right - no big, 'definitive' book about Delius' life and works has yet been written, and I wonder if it will ever happen. Although Delius in his younger years certainly knew how to enjoy himself, he became 'Delius', the singer of transience, only when he was in his forties. It seems that from that moment on he did nothing but transform all his experiences into sound. The life suffered as a consequence. He is elusive and aloof, but his music is very moving, though not in an autobiographical way as it is in Mahler.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 01, 2012, 03:06:51 PM
Who wouldn't love this:

http://www.youtube.com/v/SVeaAhYluOc
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 01, 2012, 10:28:36 PM
How anyone could not fall in love with this music is beyond me.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on May 02, 2012, 04:34:59 AM
How anyone could not fall in love with this music is beyond me.

Ha ;D ;D  A challenge indeed ;D

The music IS very beautiful...that I fully accept and acknowledge. I might even grant "gorgeously beautiful" :)

But what sticks in my throat every time is the lack of contrast...to MY ears of course :) The beauty and tranquillity is not won through struggle but is just there.  I can admire the sound but it takes me nowhere else, the journey is through exactly the same sort of country with nothing to alter the view or interrupt the idyll.

And that is utimately what bores me. The more I think about it.....I don't really dislike Delius's music at all. It just bores me :(  And that is not a criticism of Delius.....it is no more and no less than a commentary on what I personally am looking for in music or what sort of emotional response I have to music. Were I to live for a thousand years it is perfectly possible that might change but given a somewhat shorter life expectancy I shall devote my attentions to exploring much much more of the sort of music I appreciate better but have still to fully uncover.

Sorry, Fred     .........(and Johan, too, of course) ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 02, 2012, 04:40:31 AM
Apology accepted.  ;)


Thanks for the clarification, Colin. I think it's a matter of temperament. Like you, I love music that is full of contrast and that battles its way through to victory and/or serenity (as you well know). But there is a more melancholy, meditative side to me, that is 'serviced' by the likes of Delius...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on May 02, 2012, 05:22:12 AM
I quite understand :)

Now that we are clear that I don't really dislike Delius at all...... I can get back to disliking Rachmaninov ;D ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on May 02, 2012, 08:05:15 AM
(http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/373/81tidcyou1laa1429.jpg)
By dinasman (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/dinasman) at 2012-05-02

I gather Dundonnell won't be pre ordering this?! ;D
(Release date: May 28th)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 02, 2012, 08:30:59 AM
You never can have too many 'Masses of Life'. The work isn't a favourite even among some Delians I know, which I find quite puzzling. The Mass is the largest and most comprehensive choral-orchestral piece he ever wrote, a very varied fresco full of inspired ideas. I love it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on May 02, 2012, 10:28:34 AM
Good on Naxos for bringing out this recording. It could also solve a problem for me. As you know,the Groves is deleted & has been for a while & sellers keep asking nasty prices! :o :( Even worse,emi have recently developed a nasty habit of reissuing their British music back catalogue in the form of multi cd box sets. If you only want one particular piece of music,or have most of the other items in the box,it's a bit of a pain,quite frankly!
  But now,along comes Naxos with a new recording at under £10!!!! I SHALL,however,be looking at reviews,before buying,but this is very good news & wouldn't burn too large a hole in this poor beggar's (I DID say,beggar!!! ;D) pocket!

To think that emi ACTUALLY used to record music like this?!!! :o
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dundonnell on May 03, 2012, 03:59:37 AM
(http://img528.imageshack.us/img528/373/81tidcyou1laa1429.jpg)
By dinasman (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/dinasman) at 2012-05-02

I gather Dundonnell won't be pre ordering this?! ;D
(Release date: May 28th)

I shall stick with the Hickox version :) As I have said before, there are at least 16 Delius cds sitting on my shelves.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 03, 2012, 04:02:19 AM
Yes, you have been digging (into your pocket) for Delius, that's undeniable.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 03, 2012, 04:14:17 AM
As you know,the Groves is deleted & has been for a while & sellers keep asking nasty prices! :o :

You mention the Groves often; mourn its lack of afforable availabilty. Why do you think Groves is preferable to Hickox? I mean, why wouldn't Hickox satisfy your Mass of Life jones? Just curious  :)

Sarge
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on May 03, 2012, 12:08:12 PM
A very good question,Sergeant! I'll come back to you on this! :o ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 03, 2012, 12:43:33 PM
If I may offer my own answer - Hickox, in my view, doesn't cut it. Groves has the better soloists and his reading is more passionate. Same goes for Hickox' 'Requiem' - Meredith Davies is superior. There is an ecstasy in these works which a conductor must impart, so that you get a 'lift-off' at the end . For me Hickox fails to do that. But I like his 'Appalachia' a lot, though the soloist's voice at the end isn't to my liking.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on May 03, 2012, 01:45:30 PM
Thank you,Johan! ;D I was cooking supper & downloading some Schulhoff,whose music I've suddenly developed quite a taste for,so a reply had to wait! I don't like burnt scampi! :( Sorry Sarge!!!!

  Scampi aside,I was going to say the same thing,really,except that I haven't actually heard the Hickox :o,so I can't really make any comparisons......except,that I like the singers on the Groves,and I know I'm being a bit of a curmudgeon here,but I think some of those singers they had,years ago,just have more characterful,expressive sounding voices,and I like Groves as a conductor in this kind of repertoire. I will download it eventually,if emi don't come up trumps! I quite like downloading,now! :)

  By the way,has anyone heard the Del Mar performance? I have read some good things about it somewhere,but have avoided the Intaglio,even when someone was offering it cheap,because Intaglio are a bit dodgy,I'm not that mad about Kiri te wotsits singing (not that I would suggest she isn't good),at least not in this kind of music & I'm not too crazy about live recordings,unless there's no alternative.......it's the Gothic,or virtually anything by Havergal Brian! ;D

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 03, 2012, 01:47:16 PM
Del Mar is good, too. I have it...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on May 03, 2012, 02:01:00 PM
Kiri te Kanawa! ::) I remember mulling over a cheap ex library copy,but I eventually resisted. She could be very good in this,actually,come to think of it! I'm sure someone was praising this performance,up to the hilt, somewhere & Del Mar is underrated,I suppose. I should have bought it.........and it WAS cheap! :(  The only soloist I really DO like in the Hickox is Joan Rodgers!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 03, 2012, 02:02:46 PM
It's been a while since I last listened. I'll revisit it next week, if I find the time, just to check what I think of the performance now...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on May 03, 2012, 03:37:21 PM
It would be interesting to hear what you think. There isn't exactly a huge amount of informartion about that performance,on the internet.
Next time a cheap copy comes along.maybe I'll just buy it!!! ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: raduneo on May 03, 2012, 06:34:09 PM
Who wouldn't love this:

http://www.youtube.com/v/SVeaAhYluOc

Sounds absolutely gorgeous! Delius and Finzi I have to explore!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 03, 2012, 06:55:36 PM
Sounds absolutely gorgeous! Delius and Finzi I have to explore!

Glad you enjoyed that. This work The Walk to the Paradise Garden was extracted from one his operas called A Village Romeo and Juliet. The next Delius works I urge you to hear are Florida Suite and In A Sumer Garden. I think these will win you over and if they don't then I'm afraid to say that he may not be for you.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on May 03, 2012, 11:22:21 PM
If I may offer my own answer - Hickox, in my view, doesn't cut it. Groves has the better soloists and his reading is more passionate. Same goes for Hickox' 'Requiem' - Meredith Davies is superior. There is an ecstasy in these works which a conductor must impart, so that you get a 'lift-off' at the end . For me Hickox fails to do that. But I like his 'Appalachia' a lot, though the soloist's voice at the end isn't to my liking.

Scampi aside,I was going to say the same thing....I like the singers on the Groves,and I know I'm being a bit of a curmudgeon here,but I think some of those singers they had,years ago,just have more characterful,expressive sounding voices,and I like Groves as a conductor in this kind of repertoire. I will download it eventually,if emi don't come up trumps! I quite like downloading,now! :)

Thank you both.

Sarge
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on August 21, 2012, 09:42:39 AM
Listening to his piano concerto. What an incredible work.  Very soothing. I like the interplay between piano and orchestra. Up there w/ Bax's Winter Legends".


(http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/41RYBQZNS2L._AA240_.jpg)


Anyone else enjoy his work here?
Just spotted this post. Nice to hear someone describe a Piano Concerto as being "Up there w/ Bax's Winter Legends" :)!!!
The last time I praised it here,someone said something about "Woolly mammoths!" :o ;D







Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on August 21, 2012, 09:58:09 AM
As some members may have observed,I have often moaned here about the deletion of Grove's emi account of Delius's 'A Mass of Life'. I do not have it in my collection & for the last 2-3 years sellers have been asking such high prices (and some of them with lousy ratings,too! >:() I have had to resist. Anyway,I now appear to have procured a set for £10 (+ p&p) from an Amazon seller. Having received a very prompt reply to my email,I will now be keeping my fingers crossed that within the next few days,I will have a nice s/h copy of the Groves emi set & nothing left to moan about! ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on August 24, 2012, 07:13:28 AM
Well,I received my s/h copy of the Groves 'A Mass of Life' today. Absolutely mint condition & not a mark on either cd. The booklet itself looks like new! Did he ever play it,without surgical gloves? All I can say is,'Wow!' (a bit late for that,ed!)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on August 24, 2012, 07:28:22 AM
As to the music itself. Wonderful! Why wouldn't anyone like it? Although,I'll have to listen to it again,before I can really decide! And what glorious singing & I'm not just referring to 'A Mass of Life'. This is the sort of recording that really underlines the problem I have with allot of recent recordings. Well performed & sung as they are,they just don't seem to have singers with such distinctive voices anymore. Impressive as they are,I can't seem to tell one from the other! :(
Of course,I grew up with those 'old' singers,so it's not that suprising,really,I suppose. But I do feel there's something missing from the current generation! And I'm not referring to acne,although,yes,there is less of that! :o ;D
Oh,and to think that emi once actually recorded repertory like this?!!!

NB: All I need is the emi set of Koanga,now! ;D

                                   
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: snyprrr on August 24, 2012, 07:29:56 AM
The Delius Thread grows like the moss on a dewey morn.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 24, 2012, 01:02:46 PM
Cilgwyn, I fully echo your enthusiasm for the Groves recording - it is excellent, it has all the power, feeling and colour you could wish for. The performance is so good, that it makes clear to anyone with ears that 'A Mass of Life' is major Delius, though an earlier incarnation of him.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on August 24, 2012, 01:03:46 PM
Quote from: snyprrr on 24-08-2012, 18:29:56 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=899.msg654202#msg654202)
The Delius Thread grows like the moss on a dewey morn.



Like it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: xochitl on August 24, 2012, 08:34:23 PM
i jut heard delius for the first time [violin sonatas with tasmin little].  holy cow!  i'm in love

where next?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on August 25, 2012, 07:21:59 AM
I'm going to have to hear those,myself! :)

It took a few more years for me to get a copy of the Groves Mass of Life. The thing is,you can't buy everything (not on my budget,anyway!) & you don't really expect anything to get deleted for that long. Back in the days of Lps,I would send off for secondhand records,often boxed sets,which would only cost a few pounds.Nowadays to buy some of the cds sellers offer on Amazon,you need a small mortgage!
Usually the price of s/h sets drop when the cd is reissued in some form. Unfortunately,emi seem to have developed an unfortunate tendency to reissue recordings as part of mult-sets! :o :(

You just have to be patient! Here are some other emi deletions I had to 'sit it out' for:

Holst: Choral Symphony/Boult
Britten Peter: Grimes/Rape of Lucretia/Goodall
Vaughan Williams:Hugh the Drover/Groves
Brian: Symphonies 7,8 & 9 (2 cd set)

But I eventually got 'em! :)

EMI have reissued their recording of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' in a nice edition,with the original artwork,but I'm not sure if I'm allot happier with the Mackerras recording (the film was nice,too!). I only wish I'd kept the original Argo release,which looked allot smarter! It also had a complete libretto. This,incidentally,leads me another annoying trend. Libretto's on cds,or online,so you need a pc or laptop,to view them! Of course,the price is reduced,but what are you supposed to do? Print the whole thing out,I suppose? Or stare at a laptop?! One way around this is to hang onto the nice,big,often illustrated libretto's from the original Lp box sets! Some of which are very nice,indeed! (You can often buy an old ex library set,from a stall,for next to nothing!)

An emi release of Koanga,WOULD be very nice,but they appear to have reissued it as part of one of those mult-sets! :(
There was a BBC release of 'The Magic Fountain', once upon a time, and this is another one,obviously,overdue for a reissue! Luckily I have off air cassette tapes of a Scottish National Opera production,which I hope to transfer to cd,as soon as I have the right lead & the time!

Off topic I know,but listening to the 'off air' complete recording of Holst's,very colourful & entertaining opera,'The Perfect Fool'.it really is rather difficult to understand why emi never got around to a complete recording! Mind you,having said that,it's even harder to believe that emi once recorded repertory,like the stuff listed above!

How the once,mighty fall! :o :(
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 11, 2012, 01:53:58 AM
After being 'blown away' (as they say! ;D) by the Charles Grove recording of Delius's 'Mass of Life',which I had been trying to get s/h for ages,I remember adding,albeit humorously,that the deleted 'Koanga' would be next on my 'list'!
  Well,I looked on Amazon the other day & there it was,at a nice low price! Wanting to save,part of me groaned inwardly,but at that price,what could I do? I HAD to buy it! :( :)
  So here I am,and by gum,Delius has 'blown me away' again!!! :o ;D :) After being suprised at how full blooded the 'Mass of Life' sounded (I was expecting something pastoral & a bit polite) I am now astonished at how good this opera really is! Passionate,rousing,exciting and worlds away from his later more 'impressionistic' mood painting. And even more astonishing,some of it,really does make you think of Porgy and Bess. In fact,there are moments when the orchestration,the choruses,the banjos :o :) really do feel like a fore shadowing of that great work! In fact,if you nodded off & woke up at some points,you might actually think old Sportin' Life was about to show up!
Amazing,actually! And so varied. Not a dull moment. This is simply worlds away from the perceived image of English opera of this period & proves,for me anyway,that English opera before Peter Grimes WAS dramatic & not just all hey nonny no & pretty orchestration!

Wonderful! I REALLY AM gobsmacked about this one! A real suprise!!!!!! :o :o :) :) :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 11, 2012, 02:04:53 AM
You certainly know how to make people part with their money, cilgwyn...  ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 11, 2012, 02:45:25 AM
Oop,didn't you have this one?!! :o ;D I must say I really,really AM excited about this opera! :) :) :) :)
The choral contributions are particularly marvellous! But so are the performances of the soloists. Who said Groves wasn't a great conductor? (Well.he certainly had his moments!) Listen & marvel! (Unless you hate Delius of course! :( ;D)
I erm,actually think I prefer this to Porgy & Bess,in a way (gulp!) or maybe,just as much! You could even pop this on as a kind of sequel!
  Incidentally, I do prefer my Porgy & Bess with a less (overtly) operatic approach. I have had the RCA Houston recording for a while now & recently obtained the sadly deleted first 'complete' (well,not quite!) 1951 Columbia Masterworks recording from a seller. Beautiful 'retro' packaging with original artwork. They really pulled the stops out for this one. (Sony did the same for Weinberger's Schwanda.What a box!! ;D) This has to be one of my favourite recordings,now! Well worth shelling out for,if you like this work! The much earlier selections with Lawrence Tibbet are also very moving! (Not pc now,but he was a marvellous singer).

Of course,I musn't leave out poor old Scott Joplin. The recent recording Of 'Treemonisha' sounds very tempting. And what about the unrecorded opera's of Grant Still?!!! :o But that's another story for another thread?! ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 11, 2012, 02:49:03 AM
Oh, but I do have it, with David-Lloyd Jones and the Chelsea Opera Group. Found it on internet a few years ago, but I still have to listen to it... When I have more time, I'll dive in.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 11, 2012, 03:10:35 AM
My copy cost £13.26 altogether. I notice the s/h copies on Amazon are now £35 upwards! You really have to grab 'em while you can,don't you! Likewise,the Groves 'Mass of Life',which as you know,I have been looking for s/h for years. It suddenly came up,for around £12. I snapped it up. The same seller had the cd reissue of the BBC recording of 'The Magic Fountain' for just about £35. A bit too much,perhaps,but it often sells for much more & the copy of the 'Mass of Life' is near mint! I was sorely tempted,but luckily I have off air cassettes of a Scottish opera production. I will check these out as soon as I have the time. If I get the lead & master 'Audacity',I will make some cdrs. I have a dolby cassette deck as you know,but it would be nice to make a copy. I can also edit out the 'talking' bits with the presenters.

Fennimore & Gerda,next! ;D I see the emi set has Soderstrom,no less!!!!!!! :o :)
EMI certainly pulled out the stops in those days!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 11, 2012, 03:25:29 AM
You certainly know how to make people part with their money, cilgwyn...  ;D
I wonder if I could sell Koanga to Dundonnell?!! ::) ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 11, 2012, 04:26:32 AM
Quote from: cilgwyn on Today at 14:25:29 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=899.msg658378#msg658378)
I wonder if I could sell Koanga to Dundonnell?!! ::) ;D



Can pigs fly?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 11, 2012, 05:15:28 AM
  ;D Judging by the noise their helicopter makes over here,at times,you never know! :( ;D I just hope it doesn't turn up now,while I'm listening to Koanga! :(
 I nearly forgot to mention....actually,I hadn't got to it;the very nice 'fill up'! The Song of the high hills. I think I prefer the vocal contributions to the ones on the Fenby Unicorn recording.The soloist was a little 'hard edged',or nasal,I think! It certainly sounds lovely here. That magical opening makes a wonderful contrast to some of the more fiery & passionate passages of Koanga. Despite the disparity of geography & inspiration,they compliment each other very well. Even more importantly,the two works underline the sheer breadth & range of Delius's inspiration. No listening to cuckoo's or 'rolling around in summer meadows' here (sorry,Dundonnell!). Mind you it could be a bit dangerous on a mountain! :o
  I will dig out that CBS Masterworks recording of Porgy & Bess later,just out of interest!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 11, 2012, 06:07:26 AM
The Fenby "Song of the High Hills" is good, but I can imagine a better performance. I don't find the piece wholly satisfactory. It adheres to a form (a sort of sonata form, if I analyse correctly), which doesn't really suit Delius. Just as with Brian, Delius is at his best when his inspiration dictates the form... Nevertheless, there are unforgettable things in this piece!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 06:19:07 AM
The Fenby "Song of the High Hills" is good, but I can imagine a better performance. I don't find the piece wholly satisfactory. It adheres to a form (a sort of sonata form, if I analyse correctly), which doesn't really suit Delius. Just as with Brian, Delius is at his best when his inspiration dictates the form... Nevertheless, there are unforgettable things in this piece!

I pretty much agree with you, Johan. I find that Delius' music flows better when he just lets the music speak. What people seem to not understand is that Delius was very much a 'progressive composer' and what I mean by this is his music takes a tiny sliver of an idea and he develops that idea until he completely exhausts it. He constantly moves from one motif to another. Structure isn't the important thing in his music. It's about mood and texture. It's good to see Koanga get some attention. I think it's a fine opera and I enjoy A Village Romeo and Juliet equally. I still haven't heard The Magic Fountain. I wish Hickox had recorded the rest of Delius' operas. The only one he recorded, to my knowledge, was Fennimore and Gerda.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 11, 2012, 06:25:13 AM
Well put, John. Yes, there is a unity in Delius's music, but no textbook will give you the key. You either 'get' it, or you don't. His music is certainly deserving of analysis but also, in a sense, defies it. As a Dutch poet, Willem-Jan Otten, once wrote about another Dutch poet, Jan Hendrik Leopold - you don't dissect a butterfly.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 06:32:51 AM
Well put, John. Yes, there is a unity in Delius's music, but no textbook will give you the key. You either 'get' it, or you don't. His music is certainly deserving of analysis but also, in a sense, defies it. As a Dutch poet, Willem-Jan Otten, once wrote about another Dutch poet, Jan Hendrik Leopold - you don't dissect a butterfly.

To use a cliche, the key to Delius' music is to appreciate the beauty of a flower blossoming. By the way, have you heard this newer A Mass of Life recording:



I'm just curous about it. I wonder if it tops Hickox's performance? Hmmm...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 11, 2012, 06:38:40 AM
No, I haven't yet bought/heard it. So I don't know if it tops Hickox's performance. But, and this is a bit ironic - I like Sir Charles Groves's performance better (like cilgwyn). I have problems with Hickox's blandness and I don't like his baritone. Neither have I great love for his handling of its coupling, the Requiem - a wonderful work, where I prefer Meredith Davies!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 06:51:31 AM
No, I haven't yet bought/heard it. So I don't know if it tops Hickox's performance. But, and this is a bit ironic - I like Sir Charles Groves's performance better (like cilgwyn). I have problems with Hickox's blandness and I don't like his baritone. Neither have I great love for his handling of its coupling, the Requiem - a wonderful work, where I prefer Meredith Davies!

You're probably quite right, Johan. I think Hickox is a bit bland in Delius myself, especially after exploring many of the recordings in this set:



What a treasure trove this EMI set is. I already had several of the recordings in this set, but there are some real gems buried here. There's a box set on Decca that looks interesting as many of the performances I don't own like Mackerras' Sea Drift and A Village Romeo & Juliet. Has anyone bought this set:

(http://cdn.7static.com/static/img/sleeveart/00/014/472/0001447267_350.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Hattoff on September 11, 2012, 06:59:31 AM
I have the BBC Magic Fountain and Margot la Rouge, I could upload to AMF? Hands up anyone?
I'm not enamoured with it opening over the sound of running water, it just makes me want to go to the loo :) Is that in the score?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 11, 2012, 07:37:59 AM
You sure it is running water,Hattoff?!! ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Hattoff on September 11, 2012, 07:49:51 AM
Can't tell lately :(

I thought to have a listen to magic Fountain again just now, there's some incredibly beautiful music there.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 11, 2012, 08:43:47 AM
It could be Big Chief Running Water,of course! ;D

 I've got off air tapes of the Scottish opera production,of The Magic Fountain,which I've had for some years & hardly played. After listening to the Groves Koanga on repeat,for the last couple of hours,I'm finally starting to really enjoy this. Funny how something,that seemed a bit of a closed book,can suddenly open up like this!

 No watery intro here,although I think I left the tape on during the 'talking' bits (with the presenters!) This is one of my better off air recordings. Very clear & in stereo! I just hope its like this all the way through. When I get the lead,I'll use this cassette deck to make some cdrs!

  Some incredibly beautiful music here! I'm really enjoying this! I definately haven't listened enough to make observations like this yet,but it strikes me as more 'Wagnerian' in places,less original than Koanga,but who cares when the music is as lovely as this!

Ooops! Tape 1,side 1 has come to an end. Must turn the cassette over!
(Remember that?!!! :o ;D )


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 11, 2012, 03:48:34 PM
I finished listening to The Magic Fountain. There is allot of ravishingly beautiful music here & I enjoyed listening to this opera. At the same time,I have to admit that it just doesn't grip me in the way Koanga did. Koanga strikes me as a grievously underrated English opera.I will definately be listening to it again. The Magic Fountain,not as much. Delius's inspiration is less consistent,there are definate longeurs & crucially,it lacks the individuality & dramatic urgency of the later opera.
The Scottish opera production I listened to was very good though & I can't think of a better case for this flawed,but very beautiful opera.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 11, 2012, 06:25:20 PM
I finished listening to The Magic Fountain. There is allot of ravishingly beautiful music here & I enjoyed listening to this opera. At the same time,I have to admit that it just doesn't grip me in the way Koanga did. Koanga strikes me as a grievously underrated English opera.I will definately be listening to it again. The Magic Fountain,not as much. Delius's inspiration is less consistent,there are definate longeurs & crucially,it lacks the individuality & dramatic urgency of the later opera.
The Scottish opera production I listened to was very good though & I can't think of a better case for this flawed,but very beautiful opera.

Yeah, it's hard to beat Koanga, A Village Romeo & Juliet, and Fennimore and Gerda.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Hattoff on September 11, 2012, 09:44:45 PM
I know and love A Village Romeo & Juliet but have never heard the entire Koanga or any at all  of Fennimore & Gerda: how remiss of me! That situation will be adjusted forthwith...or, that is, when I can find some money.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 12, 2012, 03:25:53 AM
I really WAS gobsmacked at how good Koanga is. I thought it would be pretty,have some lovely orchestration & I'd think,'I enjoyed that & I'm glad I heard it,but it's not Delius at his best!'
Well how wrong I was! In fact,I think it's not only one of the most enjoyable English opera's I have heard,but could actually now be one of my favourite opera's! And yes,I must have a listen to Porgy & Bess,because,while I wouldn't like to compare Koanga with Gershwin's extraordinarily innovative score,there are parts of Koanga that do seem to share the same kind of sound world. Although I'm referring to some of the choruses,banjo's & fleeting moments in the orchestration,of course. We're not talking about anything along the lines of 'I've got plenty o' nuttin',or 'it ain't necessarily so',let alone the grime & squalour of Catfish Row!. But,it's still an extraordinary listen,if you're expecting a polite,conventional Victorian opera!

'The Magic Fountain',on the other hand,while it undoubtedly has some stunningly beautiful music (& I DID enjoy it) does feel closer to what might be perceived as your conventional Victorian opera. There are quite a few,prolonged,passages of people warbling vacuously at one another,which can get a little tiresome. You find yourself waiting impatiently for the next bit & fortunately,Delius doesn't let you down. Nevertheless,those bits do drag & despite the exotic location & subject matter,it just isn't anywhere as consistent or daring as Koanga.
It has got 'something' though,I'll give it that! (And of course,you learn a bit more about Delius's developement as a composer). Enough to persuade me to,maybe, give 'Irmelin' a go,when I get a chance!(Although,juding by seller prices on Amazon,I'll need a small mortgage at the moment! ;D ) And Fennimore & Gerda has got to be up near the top of my cd 'shopping list' now! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 12, 2012, 08:13:57 AM
I really WAS gobsmacked at how good Koanga is. I thought it would be pretty,have some lovely orchestration & I'd think,'I enjoyed that & I'm glad I heard it,but it's not Delius at his best!'
Well how wrong I was! In fact,I think it's not only one of the most enjoyable English opera's I have heard,but could actually now be one of my favourite opera's! And yes,I must have a listen to Porgy & Bess,because,while I wouldn't like to compare Koanga with Gershwin's extraordinarily innovative score,there are parts of Koanga that do seem to share the same kind of sound world. Although I'm referring to some of the choruses,banjo's & fleeting moments in the orchestration,of course. We're not talking about anything along the lines of 'I've got plenty o' nuttin',or 'it ain't necessarily so',let alone the grime & squalour of Catfish Row!. But,it's still an extraordinary listen,if you're expecting a polite,conventional Victorian opera!

'The Magic Fountain',on the other hand,while it undoubtedly has some stunningly beautiful music (& I DID enjoy it) does feel closer to what might be perceived as your conventional Victorian opera. There are quite a few,prolonged,passages of people warbling vacuously at one another,which can get a little tiresome. You find yourself waiting impatiently for the next bit & fortunately,Delius doesn't let you down. Nevertheless,those bits do drag & despite the exotic location & subject matter,it just isn't anywhere as consistent or daring as Koanga.
It has got 'something' though,I'll give it that! (And of course,you learn a bit more about Delius's developement as a composer). Enough to persuade me to,maybe, give 'Irmelin' a go,when I get a chance!(Although,juding by seller prices on Amazon,I'll need a small mortgage at the moment! ;D ) And Fennimore & Gerda has got to be up near the top of my cd 'shopping list' now! :)

Actually, Koanga was the first all-Black opera and predates Gershwin's Porgy & Bess by some 38 years. Delius was an innovator. He was using jazz harmonies before jazz was even invented!!! So when people make comparisons between Koanga and Porgy & Bess, it should be noted that Gershwin is the one borrowing from Delius and not the other way around. I like Gershwin, but he's always given credit as creating the first Black opera and the critics have it all wrong. They need to look at their music history books. Delius' Koanga was completed in 1897. Gershwin's Porgy & Bess was completed in 1935. What a difference!

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 25, 2012, 10:20:08 AM
Good news Delius fans! New orchestral recording from Andrew Davis coming in October:

(http://www.chandos.net/hiresart/CHAN%2010742.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 27, 2012, 01:59:29 PM
Bought these last night:









In the Decca set, I already own a 2-CD set with Mackerras, but there's a good bit in this Decca box that I don't have with Mackerras conducting (i. e. Appalachia, A Village Romeo & Juliet, Sea Drift, The Song of the High Hills, Over the hills and far away). I wager this set will be rare in the near future, especially knowing how Decca is quick to cut of life support from so many great recordings.

The Naxos recording has just been released and while I have a recording with this coupling (Hickox/LSO), I thought this would be an interesting performance especially for the forces involved: Stefan Sanderling and the Florida Orchestra. The Delius Collection set on Heritage is a reissue of the Unicorn recordings but finally boxed together for what might be the first time. I heard these were classic performances with Eric Fenby, Norman del Mar, and Vernon Handley sharing conducting duties.

The Hyperion recording with Delian Piers Lane on piano seems like a safe bet. Lane has recorded this concerto before with Handley on EMI with successful results. It will also be great to hear the original version of this concerto.

I'm pretty excited about these recordings. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 27, 2012, 03:24:04 PM
Found a fascinating documentary about Delius which deals with an alleged affair he had with an African-American woman in which he fathered a child while living in Florida. In this documentary, we follow Tasmin Little around as she tries to gather as much information as she can as to why Delius returned to Florida many years later:

Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/v/0RocX8MvqcE

Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/v/w95C2Vwt-Dc
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 27, 2012, 03:41:02 PM
Whilst reading the biography of Delius on Wikipedia, I found this paragraph which stuck out like a sore thumb and that goes along with Little's documentary I linked from above:

In 1897, Delius met the artist Helena Sophie Emilie Rosen, known as Jelka (1868–1935), who later became his wife. She was a professional painter, a friend of Auguste Rodin, and a regular exhibitor at the Salon des Indépendants. Jelka quickly declared her admiration for the young composer's music, and the couple were drawn closer together by a shared passion for the works of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Jelka bought a house in Grez-sur-Loing, a village 40 miles (64 km) outside Paris on the edge of Fontainebleau. Delius visited her there, and after a brief return visit to Florida, he moved in with her. In 1903 they married, and, apart from a short period when the area was threatened by the advancing German army during the First World War, Delius lived in Grez for the rest of his life.

The bolded text obviously is what I wanted to be emphasized. The question is why did Delius return to Florida? What could possibly be back there that he needed? I think Little has done a great service to Delius fans with this documentary. There's still so many questions that are left unanswered about Delius' life. All of this makes a person wonder for sure.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: springrite on September 27, 2012, 03:57:49 PM

The question is why did Delius return to Florida? What could possibly be back there that he needed? I think Little has done a great service to Delius fans with this documentary. There's still so many questions that are left unanswered about Delius' life. All of this makes a person wonder for sure.

The Delius family had family business and investment there. So he must be there to take care of some of that.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 27, 2012, 04:29:55 PM
The Delius family had family business and investment there. So he must be there to take care of some of that.

I'm not so sure about that. Maybe this is what biographers want you to think? I think Little was onto something there. It certainly gives his music another layer of mystery.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: springrite on September 27, 2012, 04:35:55 PM
I'm not so sure about that. Maybe this is what biographers want you to think? I think Little was onto something there. It certainly gives his music another layer of mystery.

You'd be perfect for the Spanish Inquisition!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 27, 2012, 04:38:11 PM
You'd be perfect for the Spanish Inquisition!

 :P
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 28, 2012, 12:58:37 PM
Hello, gents! I saw that documentary about Delius by Tasmin Little years ago, and found it very plausible. One thing about Delius must be borne in mind - he did like women a lot, he didn't catch syphilis for nothing. In Florida, at his father's orange plantation, he gave piano lessons and cut quite a dashing figure and was very popular. And in Paris he led a bohemian existence. Combining work and pleasure, when returning to Florida, would be very Delian...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2012, 01:07:41 PM
Hello, gents! I saw that documentary about Delius by Tasmin Little years ago, and found it very plausible. One thing about Delius must be borne in mind - he did like women a lot, he didn't catch syphilis for nothing. In Florida, at his father's orange plantation, he gave piano lessons and cut quite a dashing figure and was very popular. And in Paris he led a bohemian existence. Combining work and pleasure, when returning to Florida, would be very Delian...

Johan!!! Glad you're here! Yes, this documentary poses some very interesting questions about this time in Delius' life. Have you read a biography about Delius, Johan? Would be interested to know what happened on his return to Florida in depth, but my thinking here is that Delius was quiet about this alleged affair and not only that but upon his arrival back in France, he married Jelka Rosen. Was Delius trying to rekindle a lost romance? Oh, the many questions that are left unanswered.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2012, 01:10:17 PM
Of my recent purchases, I'm quite interested in hearing The Delius Collection. Has anyone heard and own the originals as they appeared on the Unicorn label? Would appreciate any feedback in regards to the performances. I know the sound quality had to be pretty good since they were 1980s recordings.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2012, 02:36:17 PM
Delius is never given credit for anything. People just love to loathe him and what's interesting is there are a lot of people out there that genuinely adore his music. These are the kind of people that I share a bond with, because we all understand that Delius is a difficult composer to grasp for many. A lot of people respond to excessive bombast and high energy and Delius' wasn't about this at all. He didn't need to 'impress' people, though back in his time, he impressed a lot of listeners and conductors. He wasn't championed by Thomas Beecham because he was a poor composer. :) No, Beecham believed in this music as all of us do who love his music. I look to Delius for comfort and serenity, but also to be challenged, because his music was anything but conventional. He, like some of my other favorites like Bartok, Villa-Lobos, or Tippett, marched to the beat of his own drummer. I think he cared about his audiences, but composed because it's what his heart desired to do. Incredible composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 28, 2012, 03:04:56 PM
Of The Delius Collection I originally owned the Song of the High Hills, the Songs and the Violin Concerto, with Ralph Holmes as soloist, and I liked them all. Especially a few of the orchestral songs are unforgettable ('Wine Roses' springs to mind, I think it's on YouTube).


I find it incredible that people should find Delius 'difficult'. But perhaps beauty and poetry in music need a certain temperament that many people lack. One thing Delius taught me was to appreciate life a bit more, and this Earth. He sings eloquently of the transience of all things and writes, to my mind at least, the most sheerly poignant and beautiful music there is. And the poignancy isn't personal, as in Mahler, it's as objective as our mortality.


Re books: I have read several books about Delius in the course of several decades. Fenby, Beecham and Philip Heseltine (aka Peter Warlock) are required reading I think. They don't give the more 'lurid' details of his life, of course (if there really are any). I seem to remember, by the way, that Delius didn't fall for easily for Jelka Rosen, that he loved a painter friend of hers more, and that Jelka's persistence and her providing a safe and quiet working environment finally won Delius over. So, it was more a marriage of convenience. On his trips to Paris, he wasn't faithful. She knew that, but she 'had' him...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 28, 2012, 03:37:07 PM
Delius! Why not?!! :) I'm afraid I've been side tracked by ,Howard Hanson,Louis Spohr & Anton Rubinstein,of all people! :o ;D Not you're cup of tea,I fear! ;D
I have had the Sony cd of Beecham conducting Eventyr,North Country Sketches (etc) in my 'to play pile' for the last two or three days & I need to listen to the Grove 'Mass of Life' again. After all,it took me 'yonks' to acquire it!
I have the Mackerras set of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet'. I used to have the original Argo release with the libretto. Like a fool,I sold it to the lady with the s/h stall,in the market. Quite some years ago,now. I honestly needed the money,then! But looking at some of the prices sellers ask on Amazon,it's a decision I definately regret! :( I remember buying it after enjoying the film of the Mackerras recording on Channel 4. Have you seen it,by the way,MI?) I think it's a wonderful performance.
  Incidentally,if you want to grind your teeth at some brain dead newspaper criticism;have you seen Andrew Clements review of Ronald Corp's 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall,on the Guardian newspaper's website? I quote: "hand-me-down Wagnerian","dramatically shapeless","glutinous","...which sounded too often like Tristan and Isolde on an outing to Ambridge!" A reference to the long running BBC Radio 4 soap,of course! :( Of course,it could have been a simply terrible performance!
I wonder if Johan's seen that one?!!

Got to get ready for the old sack,now!! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kishnevi on September 28, 2012, 03:45:22 PM
. Incredible composer.

Truly incredible when you consider that he was born 28 years after he died.

(points to the caption for MI's current avatar)

 >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on September 28, 2012, 04:08:29 PM
MI's lucky,I'm so knackered I could hardly see to type,let alone spot that! :)

Okay,I'm off to bed!!!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2012, 04:11:08 PM
Of The Delius Collection I originally owned the Song of the High Hills, the Songs and the Violin Concerto, with Ralph Holmes as soloist, and I liked them all. Especially a few of the orchestral songs are unforgettable ('Wine Roses' springs to mind, I think it's on YouTube).


I find it incredible that people should find Delius 'difficult'. But perhaps beauty and poetry in music need a certain temperament that many people lack. One thing Delius taught me was to appreciate life a bit more, and this Earth. He sings eloquently of the transience of all things and writes, to my mind at least, the most sheerly poignant and beautiful music there is. And the poignancy isn't personal, as in Mahler, it's as objective as our mortality.


Re books: I have read several books about Delius in the course of several decades. Fenby, Beecham and Philip Heseltine (aka Peter Warlock) are required reading I think. They don't give the more 'lurid' details of his life, of course (if there really are any). I seem to remember, by the way, that Delius didn't fall for easily for Jelka Rosen, that he loved a painter friend of hers more, and that Jelka's persistence and her providing a safe and quiet working environment finally won Delius over. So, it was more a marriage of convenience. On his trips to Paris, he wasn't faithful. She knew that, but she 'had' him...

Thanks for your response, Johan. I really couldn't tell you why people dislike Delius' music, but one mention of his name on some forums and people will cut you to ribbons. I suppose they like something that has a bit more edge to it. Delius' music only rewards those that are willing to listen to the music for what it is. A lot of the time the frame of mind that the person could be in can very well hender their own enjoyment of the music. The music has to hit people just right I think. Personally, Delius isn't mere 'mood' music for me but he enriches the soul. Like you said, it enables you to understand and enjoy the simple the things in life: walks through the park, stroll on the beach at night, etc. These are things that I don't feel in other composers music. He was a Romantic composer in the truest sense of the word.

Delius' concerti are some of his most magical creations IMHO. That yearning, rhapsodic sense of line comes to the fore in these works. The Violin Concerto is my favorite of the concerti and I own two recordings with Tasmin Little and her performances are great. The Menuhin performance came in that 150th Anniversary box on EMI I bought many months ago. I also own the Philippe Djokic/Tintner performance (on Naxos). I believe I also have a performance with Jean Pougnet which came in a Thomas Beecham box set. Looking forward to hearing Holmes performance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2012, 04:23:32 PM
Delius! Why not?!! :) I'm afraid I've been side tracked by ,Howard Hanson,Louis Spohr & Anton Rubinstein,of all people! :o ;D Not you're cup of tea,I fear! ;D
I have had the Sony cd of Beecham conducting Eventyr,North Country Sketches (etc) in my 'to play pile' for the last two or three days & I need to listen to the Grove 'Mass of Life' again. After all,it took me 'yonks' to acquire it!
I have the Mackerras set of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet'. I used to have the original Argo release with the libretto. Like a fool,I sold it to the lady with the s/h stall,in the market. Quite some years ago,now. I honestly needed the money,then! But looking at some of the prices sellers ask on Amazon,it's a decision I definately regret! :( I remember buying it after enjoying the film of the Mackerras recording on Channel 4. Have you seen it,by the way,MI?) I think it's a wonderful performance.
  Incidentally,if you want to grind your teeth at some brain dead newspaper criticism;have you seen Andrew Clements review of Ronald Corp's 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' at the Queen Elizabeth Hall,on the Guardian newspaper's website? I quote: "hand-me-down Wagnerian","dramatically shapeless","glutinous","...which sounded too often like Tristan and Isolde on an outing to Ambridge!" A reference to the long running BBC Radio 4 soap,of course! :( Of course,it could have been a simply terrible performance!
I wonder if Johan's seen that one?!!

Got to get ready for the old sack,now!! :)

I like Beecham's performances, preferrably the stereo performances, but I've found a lot of good in Handley, Mackerras, Grooves, Hickox, Barbirolli. These conductors carried the torch and they, too, believed in the music like Beecham did. I don't think there's many conductors working today that are for Delius' cause. Andrew Davis is still very much a Delian, but I don't think his grasp of the music is as strong as Barbirolli's or Mackerras'. But at least we got him on our side! :) Anyway, I have not seen the Mackerras-led performance of A Village Romeo & Juliet. I'm sure it's wonderful performance. The only performance I've heard of this opera has been Meredith Davies, which was an excellent recording. I loved Koanga too. As I was telling Johan, I really like Delius' concerti. There's so much beauty to be found in those works. His orchestral works outside of the concerti are always enjoyable with In A Summer Garden, A Song Of Summer, Late Swallows, Appalachia, The Walk to the Paradise Garden, North Country Sketches, Florida Suite, Song Of The High Hills, Hiawatha, and Paris: The Song Of A Great City being personal favorites of mine.

As for the music criticism, I think it's unfortunate that people can't listen to the music and be swept away by it. If they weren't so uptight and ego-driven, they might actually have enjoyed the music. Hell, even I have enjoyed some Mozart on occasion. >:D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2012, 04:24:30 PM
Truly incredible when you consider that he was born 28 years after he died.

(points to the caption for MI's current avatar)

 >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D >:D

:D Error corrected.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: springrite on September 28, 2012, 04:40:47 PM
:D Error corrected.

But the error was more interesting. A man came from the future thus his music was not understood. Someone should write a screenplay on this.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 28, 2012, 04:52:42 PM
But the error was more interesting. A man came from the future thus his music was not understood. Someone should write a screenplay on this.

 :P
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 30, 2012, 06:45:54 PM
A Village Romeo and Juliet seems to be Delius's masterpiece in the genre. 'Seems', because I can't personally vouch for it. The only thing I know from this work is the, admittedly sublime, Walk to the Paradise Garden...

I know this quote above was from three years ago, but I do hope you have heard A Village Romeo & Juliet since this post, Johan. I also hope you've heard Fennimore & Gerda and Koanga. The rest of Delius' operas are hard to find and in most cases less than satisfying performances.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 30, 2012, 06:52:09 PM
If I may offer my own answer - Hickox, in my view, doesn't cut it. Groves has the better soloists and his reading is more passionate. Same goes for Hickox' 'Requiem' - Meredith Davies is superior. There is an ecstasy in these works which a conductor must impart, so that you get a 'lift-off' at the end . For me Hickox fails to do that. But I like his 'Appalachia' a lot, though the soloist's voice at the end isn't to my liking.

I probably will agree with this once I've digged back into A Mass Of Life. I'm starting to favor Barbirolli, Davies, Handley, Mackerras, Del Mar, Sargent, and Groves over Hickox, although let me say, that I still think Hickox has one of the best Appalachia and Brigg Fair performances I've heard on record.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 30, 2012, 09:30:01 PM
A Village Romeo and Juliet is still on my list of things to listen to, alas. I am in a phase of my life, where listening to music for hours on end sits unhappily with all kinds of things that need doing. But I'll certainly listen to it once I can make time for it... I have the DVD, too. I may watch that soon-ish...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 01, 2012, 07:54:49 AM
A Village Romeo and Juliet is still on my list of things to listen to, alas. I am in a phase of my life, where listening to music for hours on end sits unhappily with all kinds of things that need doing. But I'll certainly listen to it once I can make time for it... I have the DVD, too. I may watch that soon-ish...

Have you heard any of Delius' operas, Johan?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on October 01, 2012, 08:12:48 AM
If you regard the ravishing Idyll as an operatic scene - yes.  ;)  Otherwise - no, apart from the immortal Walk to the Paradise Garden of course...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 01, 2012, 07:23:29 PM
Found a fascinating documentary about Delius which deals with an alleged affair he had with an African-American woman in which he fathered a child while living in Florida. In this documentary, we follow Tasmin Little around as she tries to gather as much information as she can as to why Delius returned to Florida many years later:

Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/v/0RocX8MvqcE

Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/v/w95C2Vwt-Dc

I watched Part 1 again and those members of the Delius Association of Florida remind me of why I'm not a member of one of these groups. What's with that woman blinking so much? I also didn't like her attitude when Little brought up the possiblity that Delius had a romance and fathered a child. Very dismissive. I believed it happened, but all of this reminded of the first thought I had of his music when I first heard it: it is deeply sad and it projects a yearning that never quite subsides.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on October 02, 2012, 01:32:07 PM
Just watched the documentary again. Yes, that reaction of some of those Delius fans in Florida is very telling.


As for the outcome of Tasmin Little's search - I don't know. I remember thinking when I watched this years ago: 'Why should Delius have fathered a love child, couldn't he just have experienced life in that poignant way without the obligatory love story?' But that's my unromantic side speaking. Yearning can spring just as much from the absence of love as from its loss. Like Wagner said about "Tristan und Isolde": Because I have never experienced true love, I'll build a monument for it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 13, 2013, 10:38:00 PM
Just watched the documentary again. Yes, that reaction of some of those Delius fans in Florida is very telling.


As for the outcome of Tasmin Little's search - I don't know. I remember thinking when I watched this years ago: 'Why should Delius have fathered a love child, couldn't he just have experienced life in that poignant way without the obligatory love story?' But that's my unromantic side speaking. Yearning can spring just as much from the absence of love as from its loss. Like Wagner said about "Tristan und Isolde": Because I have never experienced true love, I'll build a monument for it.

Sorry for the late response, Johan. :-[ I do think Little was onto something in her search. I'm thinking of going down to Jacksonville, FL. Here I hope to visit the Delius house located on the University of Jacksonville campus. I would also like to meet some Delius Society members, but I'm sure they'll be hard to track down. It would be nice to talk to someone with a sense of the history of Delius' year and half in Florida. I would love to go down to the St. Johns River and walk where Delius walked and take in the sights and sounds he experienced.

Getting back to Little and her theory, it's very, very possible. Again, there's so much sadness in his music. It's almost a constant. I believe even though he obviously loved Jelka, there was someone else he continued to think about and you can hear it in the works following his stay in Florida. I would love to pinpoint the time of this change in his music. Little mentions it briefly in her documentary. I would love to do a study of this at some point. Since February is the month of love (Valentine's Day), I'm going to try and commit myself to listening to his works during his stay in Florida and just after he met Jelka where he went back to Florida to tidy up some loose ends. Should be interesting.

On another topic, I've been digging these three sets immensely:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51kHw88H8gL._SL500_SS500_.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5099908417527.jpg)

(http://www.silverdisc.com/images/64/675754041496.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 20, 2013, 10:59:10 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51U6xLD3CjL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I'm really enjoying this CD, of which I'm hearing for the first time. The double concerto is really beautiful, gorgeous melodies and rich shades of instrumentation, I am entranced! This work really takes off! But always introverted in an intense, feverish way.


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 21, 2013, 08:01:11 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51U6xLD3CjL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I'm really enjoying this CD, of which I'm hearing for the first time. The double concerto is really beautiful, gorgeous melodies and rich shades of instrumentation, I am entranced! This work really takes off! But always introverted in an intense, feverish way.

Glad you've enjoyed these works, Leo. Is this your introduction to Delius' music?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on January 21, 2013, 08:24:02 PM
There's a new Naxos recording out with Appalachia & Sea Drift conducted by Stefan Sanderling.
American Record Guide's reviewer is unenthused by Sanderling's reading of Appalachia (its speedy
tempos and lack of expressive nuance) but thinks better of Sea Drift.

Anyone heard it yet?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 21, 2013, 08:33:10 PM
There's a new Naxos recording out with Appalachia & Sea Drift conducted by Stefan Sanderling.
American Record Guide's reviewer is unenthused by Sanderling's reading of Appalachia (its speedy
tempos and lack of expressive nuance) but thinks better of Sea Drift.

Anyone heard it yet?

Heard it and own it. I didn't think much of it. Hickox/Bournemouth and Mackerras/Welsh National Opera Orch. are my preferred performances. For Sea Drift, Hickox/Terfel/Bournemouth SO is my favorite performance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 22, 2013, 03:29:33 PM
Glad you've enjoyed these works, Leo. Is this your introduction to Delius' music?

It nearly is John, but the very first Delius I heard was two days before on Spotify. I found the The Delius Collection 7 CD set, and listened to the first few works on disk 1. Needless to say, I was hooked from the beginning. Deeply touched by what I was hearing. I am very enthusiastic over his music. I can already feel he will be one of my favorite composers as I keep listening. Elgar is becoming that too.



Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 22, 2013, 03:42:35 PM
It nearly is John, but the very first Delius I heard was two days before on Spotify. I found the The Delius Collection 7 CD set, and listened to the first few works on disk 1. Needless to say, I was hooked from the beginning. Deeply touched by what I was hearing. I am very enthusiastic over his music. I can already feel he will be one of my favorite composers as I keep listening. Elgar is becoming that too.

[Looks at disc numbers 1 & 7 from The Delius Collection set on Heritage]

Ah, yes. Definitely some fine compositions there. I'm thrilled that you're taking to Delius' music. There's a lot of depth I believe in his music. So much beauty, but there's also a sadness and sense of melancholy that permeates the music.

Please keep us posted on your Delian journey. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 22, 2013, 03:46:07 PM
I am glad, too, Delius has found another convert. As I must have remarked already in one of these pages, I can never understand how it is possible for people to dislike Delius's music, as it is so supremely beautiful.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 22, 2013, 04:31:20 PM
I am glad, too, Delius has found another convert. As I must have remarked already in one of these pages, I can never understand how it is possible for people to dislike Delius's music, as it is so supremely beautiful.

The usual remarks I read is that his music meanders, it's boring, and it all sounds the same. Blah, blah, blah...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 22, 2013, 04:35:45 PM
Delius's music seems to say, “Progress is not an issue for the artist, Being is.” Future, but without a promise of a better future or an afterlife, humans should have a hearty satisfaction in the now. The now is rather about accepting the next now. Delius' compositions tell me we can hope for a better NOW, and one of the most evocative aspects of Delius' music is this ability to create moments of Now; moments when music isn’t about progress (yet somehow there is progress in the music anyways).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on January 22, 2013, 04:42:54 PM
Well said, Leo! Yes, the poignancy of Delius's music comes exactly from the embracing of an ever-transient Now
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 22, 2013, 04:45:06 PM
We have a new Delian amongst us. I'm so happy! :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 22, 2013, 04:52:57 PM
Thanks gentleman! I'm happy to be here  8)


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 22, 2013, 04:54:42 PM
I found some older posts of mine from another forum that I made about Delius:

Quote
Delius' music has become very important to me these past few months. I have realized that the more I listen to him, the more I understand him a lot better. He was kind of an enigmatic person in some regards, because his style wasn't really rooted in the Western Classical tradition, but rather an amalgamation of a lot of different kinds of music such as music he heard while he was working on an orange plantation in Florida. It was there he heard Black church music and spirituals. It was also in Florida where he received composition training. When he returned to Europe, he settled in Paris and became a permanent resident. This is where some of his best writing came about: "In A Summer Garden," "North Country Sketches," etc.

It's interesting that his music is rarely talked about on this forum as he was an important part of classical music's rich history. Nobody sounded like Delius and his music is certainly an acquired taste, but once you close off any pre-conceived notions of his style of composition, which is very impressionistic, then you can understand him better. July 2009

Someone asked me on this other forum of how I came to find sadness in Delius' music:

Quote
You asked me where do I get the sadness and despair in Delius' pieces? I soon found this element in his music, which is quite prevalent in many of his compositions, to be beneath the surface of these works, especially in "In A Summer Garden," "North Country Sketches," and "Florida Suite." This feeling can also be found in his "Mass For Life" and his "Requiem." His concertos also have a certain degree of sadness.

Where I get this from is simple: reading about his life. The suffering he must have went through at many stages of life (he had syphilis as you probably know), which contributes to this feeling of emptiness. I also think there's something a lot deeper than this that happened to him perhaps while he lived in Florida. It's hard to tell really, but I can just feel that for Delius his music wasn't all "rose gardens and butterflies" if you know what I mean.

The more you read about the man, the more you come to the realization that composing was the only way he could keep his sanity as is the case with many composers. There's just something disturbing going on in Delius' music that warrants deeper listening.

Another quote of mine:

Quote
What's amazing about Delius is his music predates so much music and he's given very little credit, but he was a very innovative composer. It's like I have told you he was using jazz harmonies before jazz was even established as a musical form.

I think people are generally put off by his music, because of the unusual synthesis he created, which blended those desperate influences I mentioned in this thread. His music is without question an acquired taste music like Debussy or Janacek are acquired tastes, but I think there is so much to learn from what he composed.



Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 23, 2013, 08:51:57 AM
I found some older posts of mine from another forum that I made about Delius:

Someone asked me on this other forum of how I came to find sadness in Delius' music:

Another quote of mine:

That was very good reading John. Thanks for posting your quotes. The quality of sadness you mention is right on, and it's helping me to be aware of this deeper dimension as i Iisten.

Right now I'm listening to Brigg Fair as conducted by Boult on EMI. Wow, the beginning is such an evocative invitation  into Delius' sound world. I'm so glad that I'm hearing this music!

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 23, 2013, 09:24:28 AM
That was very good reading John. Thanks for posting your quotes. The quality of sadness you mention is right on, and it's helping me to be aware of this deeper dimension as I listen.

Right now I'm listening to Brigg Fair as conducted by Boult on EMI. Wow, the beginning is such an evocative invitation  into Delius' sound world. I'm so glad that I'm hearing this music!

Thanks, Leo. That feeling of longing or yearning is so prevalent in the music. Have you watched Tasmin Little's short documentary on Delius? I posted it on this thread a page back or so. Brigg Fair is a fine work. There many good performances of that work available. My favorite may just be Hickox/Bournemouth on EMI. A scintillating performance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 23, 2013, 02:20:16 PM
I think I'm going to revisit several of the EMI recordings I own outside of the 18-CD 150th Anniversary Edition set. I'm going to start with this one:



This Hickox recording contains a great performance of Paris: The Song of a Great City that's not included in the large EMI set.

Then:



I'm going to listen to Double Concerto with Tasmin Little and Raphael Wallfisch. Another great performance that wasn't included in the 150th set.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 23, 2013, 02:52:50 PM
Earlier today, I played The Walk to the Paradise Garden with Barbirolli/LSO through the stereo system and my Dad came in the room and said "Absolutely beautiful. You've just got to love Delius." This is coming from a hardcore Mahler fan. People who are close-minded to Delius' sound-world will forever be close-minded. This music is accessible, it's drenching in lush harmonies, the melodies are mesmerizing, and the music flows effortlessly. So where's the problem? Where's this horrible composer these naysayers speak of? This is just something that has always baffled me.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 23, 2013, 10:24:42 PM
It feels so good to be one of the rarer people who get Delius. :) I mean all I tend to read is one criticism after another of how his music so boring and goes nowhere. I'm tired of reading that junk. Thankfully, there is quite a large Delius listener community. I would join the Delius Society, but the membership is quite expensive.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2013, 09:08:26 AM

Right now I'm listening to Brigg Fair as conducted by Boult on EMI. Wow, the beginning is such an evocative invitation  into Delius' sound world. I'm so glad that I'm hearing this music!

Hey Leo, to my knowledge Boult never conducted Brigg Fair on EMI or any Delius for that matter. Could you possibly be talking about Beecham, Barbirolli or Hickox?
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 24, 2013, 02:55:39 PM
Hey Leo, to my knowledge Boult never conducted Brigg Fair on EMI or any Delius for that matter. Could you possibly be talking about Beecham, Barbirolli or Hickox?

I'm embarrassed! It was Beecham that I was listening to, I seem to always confuse Boult and Beecham in my mind :)

Been enjoying your comments above.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2013, 05:53:21 PM
I'm embarrassed! It was Beecham that I was listening to, I seem to always confuse Boult and Beecham in my mind :)

Been enjoying your comments above.

Thanks, Leo. You'll have to remind me again, what Delius recordings do you own?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2013, 07:12:52 PM
Since I've starting a bit of a Delius marathon and only a few people on GMG care anything about Delius' music, I'll keep my posts pertaining to his music on this thread. Here's a comment I made minutes ago on the listening thread:

Continuing with more performances on EMI that I own that are outside the Delius: 150th Anniversary Edition -

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dwhf27FAL._SL500_SS500_.jpg)

Listening to Late Swallows. Gorgeous work and performance. Barbirolli really an important conductor in Delius' music because he was very much the bridge between Beecham and later conductors like Groves, Handley, Hickox, A. Davis, etc. Barbirolli approached Delius in a much different way than Beecham did. One of the things he did was make the more atmospheric, textural aspects of the music more prominent, adding more subtle shadings that weren't quite heard in Beecham's recordings. Barbirolli also slowed things down a bit giving the listener more opportunities to hear the intertwining parts from each of the orchestral sections. In other words, he gave them more transparency.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 24, 2013, 07:32:18 PM
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/ga7yge5a.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/5aravy7e.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/me4ubusa.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/epe7y7eq.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/su4eqe5y.jpg)
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 24, 2013, 07:38:56 PM
I accidentally pushed send in the above post, I meant to include these too:

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/ume7y4u3.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/qygenune.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/ugude7eg.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/edygyjuv.jpg)

I have been on a marathon myself! Really enjoying this journey, I'll be posting more thoughts soon.

Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 24, 2013, 07:41:29 PM
Oh, and thanks for your thoughts on the Barbirolli set, I've really enjoyed what I heard so far, and will listen more closely for the differences between Barbirolli and Beecham.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2013, 07:42:05 PM
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/ga7yge5a.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/5aravy7e.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/me4ubusa.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/epe7y7eq.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/su4eqe5y.jpg)

The Lloyd-Jones' are good all-around recordings. The Beecham recording is essential. Interestingly enough, I own this recording and I even bought the Beecham set on EMI that came out last year (?) or so. I don't listen to Beecham's recordings very much but, for the Delius fan, they're as essential as Bruno Walter or Bernstein is for Mahler fans. Historically important rather. My favorite recording of the Violin Sonatas is with Little/Lane. I haven't heard, or own, this Naxos recording, but I never felt the need to buy any other performances of these works. If you haven't heard Tasmin Little's performance of Delius' Violin Concerto with Mackerras, then please, by all means, do so. You won't be sorry!

Have you considered any of the box sets from EMI, Decca, and Heritage? I own all three and they're all incredible.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2013, 07:44:35 PM
Oh, and thanks for your thoughts on the Barbirolli set, I've really enjoyed what I heard so far, and will listen more closely for the differences between Barbirolli and Beecham.

You're welcome. :) Baribirolli did for Delius what Boulez did for Debussy or Ravel. They conducted them in different, new, and exciting ways. The older order of conducting quickly subsided with these Barbirolli Delius recordings.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2013, 08:07:01 PM
I accidentally pushed send in the above post, I meant to include these too:

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/ume7y4u3.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/qygenune.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/ugude7eg.jpg)
(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/01/25/edygyjuv.jpg)

I have been on a marathon myself! Really enjoying this journey, I'll be posting more thoughts soon.

Good haul, there. :) I like the Requiem a good bit, I haven't completely warmed to Mass of Life. I think one of the problems is I'm trying to take on Mass of Life in one setting and I don't think this has given me the adequate amount of time to digest what I just heard. I'm going to try again with this work though. This time Charles Groves' performance.

That Piano Concerto recording is quite good. My favorite recording of the Delius PC is Piers Lane's earlier recording with Handley on EMI, but all of them have been really good. The performance with Jean-Rodolphe Kars and Mackerras on Decca is fantastic. Also, I like the Philip Fowke performance with Norman del Mar on the Heritage label (formally a Unicorn release).

I mentioned above about my preferred choice of the Little/Mackerras recording of the Violin Concerto. I like her new one as well. I need to listen to that one again. Another good performance is with Ralph Holmes and Handley on the Heritage label. The Double Concerto is another work where Little reigns supreme. Both of her performances are great: one with Raphael Wallfisch and the other with Watkins.

The orchestral set with Barbirolli I already commented on. It's really excellent despite some shaky orchestral playing from the trumpets towards the beginning of Brigg Fair.

I hope you enjoy these recordings, Leo!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2013, 10:10:05 PM
Hey Leo, when you have time please read this excerpt about the Florida Suite. It's quite interesting:

The Florida Suite is the stuff of legend. After a desultory school career and a rather wavering application to the family wool business, young Delius persuaded his father to stake him as master of a hundred-acre orange plantation along the St. Johns River, south of Jacksonville, Florida. Taking a Cunard liner from Liverpool, he arrived in late March 1884 and remained until September 1885. The impact of those months can hardly be overestimated, for it was here, in this lushly tropical setting, with its glowing spectrum of lurid natural splendors and preternatural quiet, that he recognized his vocation and took his first real steps toward it. When Delius took possession of Solano Grove, he had just turned 22. The critic, Cecil Gray, who knew the composer well in his later years, ascribed to this period "... that which is known to mystics as 'the state of illumination,' a kind of ecstatic revelation which may only last for a split second of time, but which he who has known it spends the rest of his life trying to recapture...I knew, too, the exact moment at which that experience must have occurred...and when I asked him if it were so and if I were right, he was surprised and admitted that I was. The occasion was one summer night, when he was sitting out on the verandah of his house in his orange grove...and the sound came to him from the near distance of the voices of the negroes in the plantation, singing in chorus. It is the rapture of this moment that Delius is perpetually seeking to communicate in all his most characteristic work."

[Excerpt taken from All Music Guide]

By the way, All Music Guide has some great write-ups about Delius' compositions. I've been reading these all night. :)
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 25, 2013, 11:06:44 AM
Thanks for sharing that John, what an interesting way to find his vocation! I wonder what books are out there of Delius, I thought there was one referenced earlier in this very thread, I will have to go back and see, as well as view that documentary you posted.

Listening now to North Country Sketches.
 
It sounds a future that is safe, gentle, and consoling. and loving. Delius’ music seeks to reach a promise of a union with some other time and place. Eternity, mountain tops, is not to be believed. Only the time on some other plane is worth attaining; only this distant time is honest or fate, but rather a random, and possibly bitter, give and take of life and death. Time here, as a Now, Delius’ relationship to time is one of mistrust; it’s slippery and fleeting. Time is not sensitive to Man’s ambitions.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 25, 2013, 06:28:23 PM
Thanks for sharing that John, what an interesting way to find his vocation! I wonder what books are out there of Delius, I thought there was one referenced earlier in this very thread, I will have to go back and see, as well as view that documentary you posted.

Listening now to North Country Sketches.
 
It sounds a future that is safe, gentle, and consoling. and loving. Delius’ music seeks to reach a promise of a union with some other time and place. Eternity, mountain tops, is not to be believed. Only the time on some other plane is worth attaining; only this distant time is honest or fate, but rather a random, and possibly bitter, give and take of life and death. Time here, as a Now, Delius’ relationship to time is one of mistrust; it’s slippery and fleeting. Time is not sensitive to Man’s ambitions.

There's a book written by Eric Fenby called Delius As I Knew Him and it's supposed to reveal a lot about the man in his final years. I haven't read it, but am really anxious to get ahold of a copy. There are some other books as well like the Routledge book that gives a biography, a bibliography, among other things. There's another book called Thomas Beecham and the Music of Frederick Delius that deals with this conductor's relationship with the music and his own experiences getting to know Delius. Thomas Beecham, himself, wrote a biography about Delius, but I'm not sure of it's availability.

Anyway, I like what you wrote about Delius. For me, I think Delius is always trying to grasp a moment in time he never could capture again, but there's always a whole wealth of psychological elements in his music that I think most people aren't aware of, care to acknowledge, or even care one way or another. I don't know if you watched that short documentary with Tasmin Little about the prospect of Delius fathering a child and the heartbreak he dealt with of leaving it behind. You'll just have to watch the documentary to get the full details. I think it was an idea well worth exploring again and even going in more deeper. I think when you have someone trying to prove that something in history happened, it helps if this person is more assertive and persistent in that endeavor. Not to slight Little's research, but I think so much more could have been done.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 25, 2013, 06:30:00 PM
I LOVE North Country Sketches! Here's nice write-up about the work:

Delius was a busy man through 1913. As the year began he was at work on a revision of Fennimore and Gerda, interrupted by trips to Munich in January and London in March, both times to hear performances of A Mass of Life. Championship of his work by Beecham over the previous six years established him in England, while Beecham and his mistress, Lady Cunard, introduced Delius to the cream of English high society. After years of struggle and uncertainty, he was fashionable. A tantalizing cul-de-sac, in a letter of May 27 Delius wrote to Stravinsky -- "I am afraid it is quite impossible for me to come to the final rehearsal tomorrow, but I shall certainly come on Thursday as I must insist on hearing your work: only as I haven't a ticket I shall call for you at your hotel and go in with you...." The occasion was the riotous premiere of Le Sacre du printemps -- Delius' opinion of the work is not extant. Stravinsky left this reminiscence -- "I met Frederick Delius. He had come to Covent Garden to attend a performance of our Ballet. Beecham introduced him to me, and he paid me compliments for Petroushka, but, as I spoke almost no English, and he but little French, the conversation did not develop. Thirty-seven years later, I visited his famous orange farm, D.H. Lawrence's would-have-been Utopia in Florida." There is no other mention of Delius and Stravinsky crossing paths. Delius had been approached by Phillip Heseltine to allow Lawrence to establish a commune at Solano Grove, a gambit of which nothing came. To Heseltine, on June 28 Delius wrote from Grez, "...I could not come to England as I was hard at work on something new & did not want to break off." Almost certainly this was North Country Sketches, for the score of which Beecham asked Delius in June of the following year, on the eve of the First World War. Completed between the Two Pieces for Orchestra (On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring and Summer Night on the River) and the gracious, charming Air and Dance, the first two movements, "Autumn" and "Winter Landscape," are surprisingly bleak, melding piquancy, and desolation in evocations of the moors surrounding Delius' Yorkshire birthplace. "Dance," the noisy third movement, protests too much, though the final "March of Spring" engagingly teeters between exuberance and ecstasy. Beecham premiered the set with the London Symphony Orchestra at Queen's Hall on May 10, 1915.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 26, 2013, 06:38:35 AM
I LOVE North Country Sketches! Here's nice write-up about the work:

Delius was a busy man through 1913. As the year began he was at work on a revision of Fennimore and Gerda, interrupted by trips to Munich in January and London in March, both times to hear performances of A Mass of Life. Championship of his work by Beecham over the previous six years established him in England, while Beecham and his mistress, Lady Cunard, introduced Delius to the cream of English high society. After years of struggle and uncertainty, he was fashionable. A tantalizing cul-de-sac, in a letter of May 27 Delius wrote to Stravinsky -- "I am afraid it is quite impossible for me to come to the final rehearsal tomorrow, but I shall certainly come on Thursday as I must insist on hearing your work: only as I haven't a ticket I shall call for you at your hotel and go in with you...." The occasion was the riotous premiere of Le Sacre du printemps -- Delius' opinion of the work is not extant. Stravinsky left this reminiscence -- "I met Frederick Delius. He had come to Covent Garden to attend a performance of our Ballet. Beecham introduced him to me, and he paid me compliments for Petroushka, but, as I spoke almost no English, and he but little French, the conversation did not develop. Thirty-seven years later, I visited his famous orange farm, D.H. Lawrence's would-have-been Utopia in Florida." There is no other mention of Delius and Stravinsky crossing paths. Delius had been approached by Phillip Heseltine to allow Lawrence to establish a commune at Solano Grove, a gambit of which nothing came. To Heseltine, on June 28 Delius wrote from Grez, "...I could not come to England as I was hard at work on something new & did not want to break off." Almost certainly this was North Country Sketches, for the score of which Beecham asked Delius in June of the following year, on the eve of the First World War. Completed between the Two Pieces for Orchestra (On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring and Summer Night on the River) and the gracious, charming Air and Dance, the first two movements, "Autumn" and "Winter Landscape," are surprisingly bleak, melding piquancy, and desolation in evocations of the moors surrounding Delius' Yorkshire birthplace. "Dance," the noisy third movement, protests too much, though the final "March of Spring" engagingly teeters between exuberance and ecstasy. Beecham premiered the set with the London Symphony Orchestra at Queen's Hall on May 10, 1915.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

That is a wonderful read, thanks a million for posting these!

By the way, I have my eye on the Heritage set, there is a great deal at the Amazon Mp3 store, 8.99 for the complete set.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51e48M6f04L._SL500_AA280_.jpg)



I forgot to include the following set regarding my recent aquisitions (in the above posts):

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31AymWEIo1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Delius is a revelation.

I really am surprised, as A Delius newbie, that this thread isn't over 100 pages! I'm surprised fans of Mahler (at least) aren't all over Delius! I'm a Mahler crazy-nut, with 100s of Mahler CDs in my collection, and I can safely say Mahler fans should give Delius a try, or anyone who loves the art of orchestration!


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 26, 2013, 06:48:12 AM
That is a wonderful read, thanks a million for posting these!

By the way, I have my eye on the Heritage set, there is a great deal at the Amazon Mp3 store, 8.99 for the complete set.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51e48M6f04L._SL500_AA280_.jpg)



I forgot to include the following set regarding my recent aquisitions (in the above posts):

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31AymWEIo1L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Delius is a revelation.

I really am surprised, as A Delius newbie, that this thread isn't over 100 pages! I'm surprised fans of Mahler (at least) aren't all over Delius! I'm a Mahler crazy-nut, with 100s of Mahler CDs in my collection, and I can safely say Mahler fans should give Delius a try, or anyone who loves the art of orchestration!

Thanks, I plan on posting more of these articles throughout the month of February. Do you like buying Mp3 or do like owning the CDs? I'm not a downloader at all, I prefer the physical discs. Anyway, that Delius Collection is worth owning just for the fact that Eric Fenby conducted so many of those performances. So, in this sense, like Beecham, we get as close to Delius as we can.

The reason a lot of people aren't into Delius is like I've been saying: they think he's boring and the music meanders too much. They never actually listen to the music, because if they did, they would find wonderful nuances and harmonic color that they've never heard before.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 26, 2013, 07:43:44 AM
I revisited Hassan the other night and what a magical work this is. It contains a cornucopia of Delian melodies, harmonies, rhythms with some sections of the work hinting at exotica. Here's a write-up on it:

When Hassan reached the stage of His Majesty's Theatre, London, on September 20, 1923, it arrived out of a web of destinies almost as quixotic as the spectacle itself. The play's author, James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915), had been dead eight years. Its champion, producer Basil Dean, had seen the work through a series of revisions and postponements from before the Great War and had considered a number of composers -- including Ravel -- for the copious amount of incidental music it would require. A chance hearing of A Village Romeo and Juliet in the spring of 1920 persuaded him that Delius was his man. Delius, in failing health, was ever more dependent on royalties from the sale of his scores. Once his enthusiasm had been sparked, work proceeded rapidly, with Philip Heseltine writing the composer's pencilled drafts into full score, and the original version of the music was completed before year's end. Despite Flecker's modest success while he lived, Hassan had generated a large posthumous interest, and further delays handed the premiere, in German translation and employing Delius' original score, to Darmstadt, at the Hessische Landes-Theater on June 1, 1923. Meanwhile, for the London production, more music was required, and Delius, now firmly in the grip of the syphilitic infection, working against time and unable to hold a pencil, dictated the new pieces to his wife. When Percy Grainger dropped by on a chance visit, he was pressed into service to compose, anonymously, a brief section of the Act II ballet. The London production of Hassan proved a considerable success, opening before a distinguished audience and running for a respectable 281 performances to glowing critical notices. Delius was able to attend the last rehearsals and the virtuosic first night, with Eugene Goosens conducting.

Hassan is a curiously distinguished item in that seemingly inexhaustible vogue for orientalia which includes, among hundreds of ephemeral oddments, Gilbert and Sullivan's surefire Mikado (1885), Edward Knoblock's wildly successful play, Kismet (1911), the phenomenally long-running Asche/Norton musical, Chu Chin Chow (l916), and Puccini's enduring Turandot (1926). Though minor, Flecker's vein of poetry was genuine. Said to have been inspired by a volume of farcical plays which he read in Turkish, Flecker's verse nevertheless owes everything to Edwardian notions of "elevated" language, while its "orientalism" harks back to Edward Fitzgerald's translation of The Rubaiyat. Thus, a banal tale of intrigue, betrayal, romance, and sudden shifts of fortune is given dignity by a languorous beauty and mild satire highlighting an inevitable disillusionment. And it was, no doubt, this eloquence born of deep disenchantment which led Delius to compose some of his most straightforwardly enchanting music.

The numbers range from fanfares, melodramas, choruses, interludes -- some of them snippets but a few bars long -- and brief atmospheric preludes to the celebrated, wordlessly vocalized, Serenade (heard thrice) and an elaborate ballet sequence (choreographed for the lavish London production by no less than Michel Fokine). Despite his discomfiture by the limitations of a 26-instrument theater orchestra, nearly everything he composed for Hassan is rife with Delian touches -- meltingly evocative choral apostrophes, some preludes so imbued with Delian nostalgia as to be abbreviated tone poems, and the final superbly moving chorus, "We take the golden road to Samarkand." The upshot was an aureate, slightly bittersweet, post-Romantic confection wholly out of touch with the Jazz Age antics which surrounded it.

parts / movements -

Prelude
No. 2, Interludes between Scenes 1 and 2
No. 3, Scene 2: Moonlight - The Street of Felicity
No. 4, Serenade (violin solo)
No. 5, Hassan falls under the sahdow of the fountain
No. 6, Chorus behind the scene
No. 7, Serenade (tenor solo)
No. 8, Prelude to Scene 1
No. 9a, Fanfare preceding the Ballet
No. 9b, Ballet - Dance of the Beggars
No. 10, Chorus of Women
No. 11, Divertissement
No. 12, General Dance
No. 13, Chorus of Beggars and Dancing Girls
No. 14, Scene 2: The Street of Felicity
No. 15, Music accompanying Ishak' poem
No. 16, Prelude to Scene 1
No. 17, Scene 1: Curtain
No. 18, Interludes between Scenes 1 and 2
No. 19, Scene 2: The War Song of the Saracens
No. 20, Fanfares - Entry of the Caliph
No. 21, Prelude to Scene 1
No. 22, Interlude between Scenes 1 and 2
No. 23a, Prelude
No. 23b, The Garden o the Caliph's palace
No. 23c, Sunset
No. 23d, The Song of the Muezzin at Sunset
No. 24, Procession of Protracted Death
No. 25, Prelude to the last scene
No. 26, Closing scene: We take the Golden Road to Samarkand

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 26, 2013, 09:34:12 AM
Thanks John for the article on Hassan, of which I've heard some of the pieces now, I must seek a full recording of it all.

As for collecting, I generally prefer MP3s, for reasons practical and monetary. If the mastering of the recording is good I find the digital files sound good too (and my hearing is not what it used to be, so I find the MP3 sounds good enough). I used to collect LPs (vinyl) and physical CDs but storage is now an issue :o  However, I will still buy CDs time to time.


Interesting thoughts from Dereck Cooke, excerpted from his article (I found on JSTOR): “Delius the Unknown.”

"I would like now to suggest the general lines along which the difficult task of understanding Delius might be approached. In the first place Delius, like Wagner, Debussy and Mahler, is one of those composers whom we first have to understand as men and artists, before we can appreciate the full significance of their art. And with Delius, as with Wagner, there is a curious contradiction between the man and the artist: if it is difficult to understand how the far from wise and genial Wagner could have created a character like Hans Sachs, it is even harder to comprehend how the tough-grained Delius could have composed music of such melting intangibility and fluidity of outline.

We have on the one hand a ruthlessly anti-mystical personality for, as Fenby's book makes clear, Delius was a ferocious, hard-headed materialist of the late nineteenth- century 'rationalist' type, and on the other hand a sensitive, poetic, mystical communer with nature. Again, we have on the one hand a proud atheist, who was utterly unafraid of the decay and death which he regarded as personal extinction, and on the other hand a single-minded explorer of the heart- ache induced by transience, and of the essentially religious experience of longing for absorption into the infinite.

What we sadly need is a close study of Delius's method of composing, and especially his way of beginning a composition by conceiving the overall harmonic scheme, as described by Eric Fenby in the most fascinating chapter of his book. When Delius dictated the second of the Songs of Farewell to Fenby, he had the poem read aloud, and then began by dictating the harmonic flow, indicating changes of chord at certain crucial words; only afterwards did he dictate the choral parts and the melismata for strings, wind and horns, to be superimposed on the harmonic stream. This utterly revolutionary method is so far removed from all current notions of composition as to appear like the crudest improvisation; yet it is in fact the essence of Delius's unique art. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: the Songs of Farewell, far from being one of Delius's weaker effusions, is one of his strongest works-as is shown by the fact that at the Bradford Festival it proved to be the one item which surprised nearly all the critics by its power, and received almost unanimous praise from them. Only when we study Delius's iconoclastic harmonic approach to composition, and its source in the highly significant experience he was intent on communicating, shall we begin to realize what a profoundly original genius he was.

We also lack a study of Delius's style, which I saw described recently as 'derivative'. Derivative it certainly is—what composer's is not ?—but it derives from so many different sources and fuses them in such an all-absorbing way, as to be one of the most personal styles ever created. The sources themselves have often been pointed out—Chopin, Grieg, Wagner, Debussy, American Negro music, English folk music—but the way in which they interact on one another to produce the characteristic Delian utterance has never been investigated. To take only a single example, the influence of the Negro slave song on which Appalachia is based is not confined to that composition; its cadence recurs throughout Delius's work, one surprising case being the Intermezzo in the Scandinavian opera Fennimore and Gerda, where it appears in conjunction with harmonies which clearly have their roots in Grieg.

Certain other points arise concerning Delius's style, which affect English music in general. For instance, we often hear that Delius drew on the idiom of the English folk song school. One of the main features of this style is the block movement of triads, creating a pseudo-modal effect, and this occurs at the beginning of In a Summer Garden. But the work was composed in 1908, and first performed in London in 1909, whereas the first notable achievement of the English folk song school—Vaughan Williams's Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis—did not appear until 1910. Could Delius, on one of his rare visits to London, have heard some of Vaughan Williams's earlier music, or did he create this English idiom himself? This question has an important bearing on the development of English music in the early years of this century, yet no attempt has been made to investigate it. To listen to the opening of In a Summer Garden is to receive the irresistible impression of hearing music touching on the style of Vaughan Williams before Vaughan Williams had actually found his own style."

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 26, 2013, 07:22:38 PM
I completely understand your situation, Leo. Not everyone wants/needs the actual CDs anymore. I'm just somebody who likes having the CDs, artwork, liner notes, etc. It feels more like a complete experience for me to have them, but, to each his own. :)

Thanks for that article written by Cooke. Very interesting read for sure. I think Cooke touched on what needed to be said about Delius' music for a long time that, in a nutshell, it's worth exploring and being heard. He is an important composer no question about it, but, as I mentioned, people tend to snub him for one reason or another. Delius created his own idiom, his own way of presenting and expressing himself through music, but what we so often get from the naysayers are comments that he wasn't an important figure in music when there is evidence that points directly to him giving the opposite impression. For example, who created the first all-Black opera? Delius did and it's called Koanga and it predates Gershwin's Porgy & Bess by 30 something years. Who was using jazz harmonic progressions in classical music before jazz was an accepted art form? None other than Delius. And with Cooke's article there, it points out that he had yet another innovation: the usage of English folk music in a classical context.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2013, 06:54:26 AM
I've been revisiting Appalachia and playing many different recordings I own each night. What a great work. Here's a little write-up about it:

Frederick Delius first composed Appalachia, subtitled "Variations on an Old Slave Song with final chorus," in 1896. He returned to the work six years later and recomposed, enlarged, and expanded it. The second version was premiered by Hans Haym at the 1904 Elberfeld Festival, and the work was published in this version. In his twenties, Delius had been sent to Florida by his father to manage an orange plantation. Although he failed as a farmer, Delius loved the folk songs of the blacks working with him. He later used these songs as the basis of some of the themes of his Florida Suite and elaborated them most fully and evocatively in Appalachia. With its long Molto moderato Tranquillo introduction, its languorous Misterioso and Lento variations, and its climatic closing Lento chorus, the work's tempos are slow and its mood is dreamy. Appalachia's colors are soft and warm and its textures are humid and turgid and the addition of the chorus only deepens the voluptuous sensuality of the work. As always in Delius' music, faster tempos are often clumsy and never sustained for very long. But also as always in Delius' music, when Appalachia is at its warmest and most humid, it is unequaled for creating a mood of overwhelming sexual nostalgia.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

The only part of this article I disagree with is the blurb about Delius' swifter rhythms being "clumsy." One listen to the Poco piu section towards the beginning of the work will reveal someone who could handle faster tempi with no problems. It's just that his style is much more rhapsodic.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 27, 2013, 07:58:36 AM
I've been revisiting Appalachia and playing many different recordings I own each night. What a great work. Here's a little write-up about it:

Frederick Delius first composed Appalachia, subtitled "Variations on an Old Slave Song with final chorus," in 1896. He returned to the work six years later and recomposed, enlarged, and expanded it. The second version was premiered by Hans Haym at the 1904 Elberfeld Festival, and the work was published in this version. In his twenties, Delius had been sent to Florida by his father to manage an orange plantation. Although he failed as a farmer, Delius loved the folk songs of the blacks working with him. He later used these songs as the basis of some of the themes of his Florida Suite and elaborated them most fully and evocatively in Appalachia. With its long Molto moderato Tranquillo introduction, its languorous Misterioso and Lento variations, and its climatic closing Lento chorus, the work's tempos are slow and its mood is dreamy. Appalachia's colors are soft and warm and its textures are humid and turgid and the addition of the chorus only deepens the voluptuous sensuality of the work. As always in Delius' music, faster tempos are often clumsy and never sustained for very long. But also as always in Delius' music, when Appalachia is at its warmest and most humid, it is unequaled for creating a mood of overwhelming sexual nostalgia.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

The only part of this article I disagree with is the blurb about Delius' swifter rhythms being "clumsy." One listen to the Poco piu section towards the beginning of the work will reveal someone who could handle faster tempi with no problems. It's just that his style is much more rhapsodic.

I haven't heard Appalachia or the Florida Suite, I will listen to the Florida Suite first, it's been on my mind to try it very soon, I hope I have Appalachia amidst my new recordings.

Thanks for posting the article above!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 27, 2013, 10:51:01 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rCoiVRULL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Delius' piano concerto was calling out to be heard today, and I'm listening to it now. I'm quite enchanted. It sounds very refined, constructed with care. I now wonder how the later revised version (with help from Szanto/Beecham) sounds. My purist self is glad to have the original version, with the original piano writing intact, as it appears to capture a special time in Delius' life, perhaps in memory of Florida.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2013, 07:03:44 PM
I haven't heard Appalachia or the Florida Suite, I will listen to the Florida Suite first, it's been on my mind to try it very soon, I hope I have Appalachia amidst my new recordings.

Thanks for posting the article above!

Appalachia is a wondrous piece of music. There's several beautiful moments. Two movements, in particular, I'm think are Variations 6 & 8. There are such tender moments in these variations. I think you will enjoy Appalachia. Barbirolli's account is solid, but I love Hickox's and Mackerras' both on Decca. I'm planning on revisiting Andrew Davis' recent performance on Chandos. I remember this one being quite good as well.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2013, 07:09:47 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rCoiVRULL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Delius' piano concerto was calling out to be heard today, and I'm listening to it now. I'm quite enchanted. It sounds very refined, constructed with care. I now wonder how the later revised version (with help from Szanto/Beecham) sounds. My purist self is glad to have the original version, with the original piano writing intact, as it appears to capture a special time in Delius' life, perhaps in memory of Florida.

I think it's great to have many performances available of the Piano Concerto. There are two of the original version that I know of: the one you own and Howard Shelley/A. Davis on Chandos. There are also several great performances of the revised version. For me, it doesn't get much better than Lane/Handley on EMI. This is the performance I continue to come back to, but I've really enjoyed them all. One of the key aspects of Delius' music is subtlety. It's these subdued moments which offer profundity and, for me, represent musical "tears" if you will or sighs.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 27, 2013, 09:18:32 PM
One of the first Delius works I heard that made a strong impression on me was In A Summer Garden. The opening of this work still lingers in my memory (in fact I'm hearing that entire introduction in my mind right now :)). Here's a nice write-up about it from Wikipedia:

In a Summer Garden is a fantasy for orchestra composed in 1908 by Frederick Delius; it was first performed in London under the composer's baton on December 11 of that year. The piece is built around several distinct themes. The first appears in the woodwinds and strings; the second is presented by the English horn, while the third is scored for violas against figures and chords in the woodwinds and lower strings. This is worked out vigorously before the piece is concluded by a new theme, first from the violins and repeated by the woodwinds.

The published score of the fantasy contains two quotations which provide some clue as to its emotional content. The first is a couplet by Dante Gabriel Rossetti:

All are my blooms; and all sweet blooms of love.
To thee I gave while Spring and Summer sang.

The origin of the second quote is unknown. It reads:

Roses, lilies, and a thousand scented flowers. Bright butterflies, flitting from petal to petal. Beneath the shade of ancient trees, a quiet river with water lilies. In a boat, almost hidden, two people. A thrush is singing in the distance.

Philip Heseltine has made a piano solo transcription in 1921, published only in 1982.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2013, 04:04:09 PM
I've been revisiting Lloyd-Jones' recordings on Naxos:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TMDc3fOML._SL500_AA300_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51mjS-iBCOL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Two very fine recordings. It just makes me thirst for more Lloyd-Jones Delius recordings. He has recorded some Delius on the Dutton label where he premiered the lovely tone poem Hiawatha. In these Naxos recordings, the playing is so fantastic. Lloyd-Jones handles each nuance and textural detail with authority. I'd love to hear him tackle some of the larger works like A Mass of Life, Appalachia, the concerti, and even the operas like A Village Romeo & Juliet and Koanga.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2013, 05:32:16 PM
Now I'm giving this disc a spin:

(http://ecstatic.textalk.se/shop/17115/art15/h6134/4466134-origpic-1225a3.jpg)

Absolutely stunning recording! Leo, Johan, cligwyn, et al check out this recording as soon as you can.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 28, 2013, 05:39:43 PM
John, great posts and writings! Thank you! I am going to grab those other accounts of Delius' piano concerto, this work is haunting, and although Grieg is an influence, Delius comes up with such a unique piano concerto, where the piano is in delicate conversation with the orchestra, it is really fascinating.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2013, 05:49:22 PM
John, great posts and writings! Thank you! I am going to grab those other accounts of Delius' piano concerto, this work is haunting, and although Grieg is an influence, Delius comes up with such a unique piano concerto, where the piano is in delicate conversation with the orchestra, it is really fascinating.

You're welcome, Leo! I think one of the more interesting aspects of Delius' concerti is the fact that the solo instrument part isn't used as a tool for virtuosity, although there are moments that, technically speaking, had my head spinning, but, rather, it's about an ongoing musical narrative between the solo instrument and the orchestra. The Piano Concerto is certainly a great work. I think I'll listen to it once again tonight.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2013, 09:36:22 PM
A little write-up about the Piano Concerto from AMG:

This inspired but seldom performed work was originally written in 1897-1904, in a conventional piano concerto format, but when it was revised in 1907 Delius dropped the third movement in favor of a new movement which is in fact a re-statement of the themes of the first two movements. The first movement, greatly influenced by Grieg, is filled with typical gestures - crashing chords, scale runs, broken octaves, etc. - but introduces some strong thematic material - a peculiar forte theme built of descending chromatic phrases, and an interesting secondary theme in running triplets. However, when we get to the second movement, the sound of the Delius of the later years starts to shine forth (after an almost sentimental start), and beautiful transcendent textures built on simple melodies start to appear, together with breathtaking, sweeping orchestral passages filled with high strings and rich brass colors like Richard Strauss. Delius' particular sense of modal harmony, akin to but different from Grieg's, provides many surprises. At the end, we realize that the "concerto" has instead been in the form of an English "fantasy" - for example, passages that seem to be concluding lead to soft solos in another key, the piano is suddenly accompaniment to solo violin or to a group of unison cellos, the strings descend in soft shimmers in the middle of a piano solo - the "form" is a poetic wandering.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 28, 2013, 09:44:48 PM
Another write-up on another Delius masterwork, A Song of the High Hills:

Young Delius was his father's despair: dreamer, dilettante, school washout. In an attempt to inure him to the family wool business, he sent the 20 year old as a commercial traveler to Scandinavia in 1882, where Fritz effortlessly absorbed its languages while imbibing northern culture. Norway, in particular, awakened him, drawing from him a deep desire to compose. Mountain climbing in Norway exerted an appeal akin to religious experience, expressed in the term frilustsliv, whose literal translation as "open air life" scarcely registers the ecstatic oneness with nature that it came to represent after its first use in Ibsen's poem "Paa Vidderne" (On the Heights) in 1859. In 1888 Delius set it for reciter and orchestra -- "Well, then, come! In wind and rain across the highlands' rolling heather..." -- transformed over 1890-1892 into an ambitious tone poem of the same title. The Scandinavian experience gave birth to one vital pole of Delius' creativity. The other came in 1884 when, as master of an orange plantation in Florida, the singing of African Americans came as a revelation from which he extrapolated such works as the Florida Suite and Appalachia. Composed in 1911, A Song of the High Hills joins his final opera Fennimore and Gerda (1909-1910), An Arabesk (1911), and Eventyr (1917) in essaying an astringently bracing manner, complemented by a new concern with large-scale form, in which Scandinavian inspiration purges and invigorates the sprawling, rhapsodic lushness of his most opulent period in such works as Paris (1899) and Brigg Fair (1907). Delius marks the opening of A Song of the High Hills "With quiet easy movement" as the climber's exhilaration waxes. Attainment of the summit is marked by a much slower gait and the hushed, rapt entry of the wordless, eerily serene chorus, an extended passage marked "The wide, far distance -- the great solitude...." swelling in unearthly radiance to sustain an hypnotic glow to the end. Albert Coates led the Queen's Hall, London, premiere on February 26, 1920. At the home of John Singer Sargent in April 1907, Delius met Australian composer and pianist Percy Grainger, 20 years his junior, a kindred spirit also preternaturally enamored of Norwegian mountains, both close friends of the Griegs. In July 1923, Grainger and a friend helped the partially blind and paralyzed Delius to relive his Song of the High Hills by carrying him (with poles strapped to a chair) to the top of Hovdalien, where Delius witnessed his final Norwegian sunset of the "far wide distance."
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2013, 07:08:47 AM
A write-up about Over the Hills and Far Away from All Music Guide:

Delius' fantasy overture Over the Hills and Far Away may have been begun as early as 1893 and was certainly completed by 1897, if not earlier, but documentation for those years -- among the most fascinating and formative of Delius' life -- is sparse. Enabled by an allowance from his father, a well-to-do wool merchant, Delius entered the fabled decade of the 1890s embracing the life of a bohemian artist, living on the outskirts of Paris and consorting with a fantastic array of artists and eccentrics. By the opening of the 1890s Satie was already ensconced at the legendary Chat Noir cabaret -- there is no evidence that his path crossed Delius', though it easily could have. But Gauguin, Mucha, Munch, Strindberg, Florent Schmitt (whom Delius engaged to make piano transcriptions of his operas), Jean Richepin (demimonde poet and Chabrier's sometime librettist), Richard Le Gallienne, and Gérard Encausse were boon companions. Under the pseudonym Papus, the latter was an intrepid negotiator of the occult crosscurrents rife through the 1890s and into the twentieth century. Satie wrote music for Papus' Kabbalistic Order of the Rose-Croix and in 1894 Encausse published Anatomie et physiologie de l'orchestra, co-authored with Delius. Always industrious, by 1893 Delius had all but abandoned composition to throw himself wholeheartedly into the study of astrology and was soon casting horoscopes for friends. Strindberg was a student of alchemy and claimed to have performed alchemical transmutations, though it is also known that (like Gustav Meyrink) he took literally the alchemists' enigmatic direction that the Philosopher's Stone -- the agent of transmutation -- is "found in filth" and delved in ancient water closets. Delius opera The Magic Fountain, which occupied him over 1893-1895, is, not coincidentally, concerned with a quest for the Fountain of Youth. In his Recollections of Strindberg, Delius described an after-dinner séance -- "The lights were turned down and we joined hands around a small table. After ten minutes' ominous silence the table began to rap and Leclercq asked it what message the spirits had for us. The first letter rapped out was 'M', and with each letter Strinberg's interest and excitement seemed to increase, and slowly came the momentous letters 'M E R D E'. I do not think he ever quite forgave us." Summer excursions in the Norwegian mountains provided bracing relief from this decadent hothouse, reflected in the sense of vast distance, Nature's mysterious quietude, and heroic derring-do beneath clear sunlit skies palpable in Over the Hills and Far Away.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2013, 07:20:39 AM
Happy Birthday to Delius!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 29, 2013, 03:59:31 PM
Happy Birthday to Delius!

Indeed! Happy B-day Frederick!

Wow, those write-ups on all Music guide, wonderful writings, someone really loves Delius on that site. Great information and rather peotic reviews!

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 29, 2013, 04:04:31 PM
Indeed! Happy B-day Frederick!

Wow, those write-ups on all Music guide, wonderful writings, someone really loves Delius on that site. Great information and rather peotic reviews!

I thought they were well written as well. :) I'm heading into a Bruckner phase now.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 30, 2013, 02:41:22 PM
Bruckner phase subsided. :) Back to Delius...

Listening to the opera Fennimore and Gerda right now. How incredibly enchanting. Listening to this recording:

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 30, 2013, 10:24:31 PM
Not sure if this documentary has been posted before, but I remember watching this a couple of months ago and enjoying it:

http://www.youtube.com/v/HMjNcFEQOfo
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 31, 2013, 12:02:17 PM
Thanks for posting the documentary John. I'll catch that soon. This morning listening to Delius' Piano Concerto again, so addicting.

 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 31, 2013, 12:03:44 PM
Bruckner phase subsided. :) Back to Delius...

Listening to the opera Fennimore and Gerda right now. How incredibly enchanting. Listening to this recording:



Also, as a big fan of opera, I'm real curious about Delius' operas!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2013, 12:07:20 PM
Thanks for posting the documentary John. I'll catch that soon. This morning listening to Delius' Piano Concerto again, so addicting.

 8)

It's not a bad documentary at all, although I heard there's a new one that was recently aired on BBC, so I'm anxious to watch that one. Hopefully, someone on YouTube will upload it because I highly doubt it will be made available as a DVD. :-\

Yes, the Piano Concerto is magical. I've been listen to the new Howard Shelley/A. Davis performance. Absolutely fantastic.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2013, 12:11:34 PM
Also, as a big fan of opera, I'm real curious about Delius' operas!

I don't like opera much at all, but I've loved all of the Delius operas I've heard, which would be A Village Romeo & Juliet, Koanga, and Fennimore and Gerda. I wish The Magic Fountain and Irmelin would get recorded again. Perhaps Lloyd-Jones or A. Davis could conduct these? One can only hope. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: The new erato on January 31, 2013, 02:11:57 PM
I don't like opera much at all, but I've loved all of the Delius operas I've heard,
Perhaps because they're essentially not very operatic. At least a village Romeo&Juliet isn't, but I like it as well. The element of a story with text brings some much needed drama to Delius.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2013, 02:57:45 PM
Perhaps because they're essentially not very operatic. At least a village Romeo&Juliet isn't, but I like it as well. The element of a story with text brings some much needed drama to Delius.

Delius' 'operas' are actually described as 'lyric dramas,' which is a term I like better since, like you said, these works aren't really operas or at least in the traditional standpoint we associate with the genre.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2013, 08:53:15 PM
My last listening of the night will be the extremely gorgeous Koanga from this box set:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5099908417527.jpg)

I don't plan on listening to the entire opera...err...lyric drama ;), but at least Act I.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 31, 2013, 11:19:11 PM
Figured I would post this here:

Some late night listening:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B0000VV4T0.01.L.jpg)

I was looking through my Delius collection earlier tonight and ran across this curiosity. Listening to In A Summer Garden. Absolutely beautiful. Nice hearing how these works sound arranged for two pianos. I'm quite impressed with Ogawa's Debussy set of solo piano music, so it's nice to hear her in Delius. Kathryn Stott I'm familiar with through her recordings on Chandos.

This is fascinating recording. I believe there is another one of these two piano arrangement recordings on another label. Anyone else heard this BIS recording? It sounds great to my ears.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2013, 08:14:46 AM
Finishing up Koanga from last night, this is simply an incredible piece of music. There was one movement called Dance furioso and this short movement is absolutely thrilling. This movement must be quite taxing on the orchestra musicians. :) It reveals yet another facet of Delius' art: he could write fast, virtuosic musical passages with the best of them. Such a phenomenal composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: John Copeland on February 01, 2013, 10:43:32 AM
For anyone who can access BBC Channels, in this case BBC4, there is an hour and a half length feature On Delius which begins at 19:30hrs GMT, called    Delius:  Composer, Lover, Enigma
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 01, 2013, 11:07:08 AM
My quest is now to get to know the final revised version of Delius’ piano concerto. I found two historical accounts on the Amazon Mp3 store for pennies, one by Beecham with his wife at the piano, and the beautiful performance by one of England's other celebrated pianists, Benno Moiseiwitsch (originally born in the Ukraine) with the BBC Orchestra at the Proms in 1955.These accounts blow me away, what a piece of music, one of my favorite piano concertos now!

I also think that, while listening to this concerto, under the surface, there was quite alot of darkness there. It would be quite easy to dismiss this work as simply a light one, but I think that would just show that one is listening superficially. its prinicipal qualities. I can hear the influence of Wagner, Debussy & Ravel, but Delius obviously had his own individual style. He was a good orchestrator, & I especially like his use of woodwinds when they are playing with the strings. There's plenty of lyricism in this work, & I like how he lets the melodies just flow freely. It doesn't sound like fortissimo playing, clear-cut rhythms and blaring fanfares. I think that's what many people consider soft or boring in his music, the absence of pomp and overt drama. Some say it lacks strength, because it's more flowing and blooming than pounding and sharp. I couldn't disagree more that those are weaknesses, and I think it's the originality, colour, rafinement and profound impact that are personally feel that nobody should live by another person's philosophies. If an idea sounds good and you're inspired by it, then great adopt that into your way of thinking, but I don't think a "system" of philosophy is worthy enough to live by. People have to develop their own thoughts independently. What's also important with Delius is not to expect a lot of What's so great about Delius is on the surface it's really beautiful music, but with a deeper listening will reveal his vulnerability, a deep despair, and even sadness. What is sad is when we think of his life and the circumstances he composed music under. All of the suffering he endured, but the music somehow prevails over that pain. It's unbelievable really.
 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 01, 2013, 11:24:29 AM
Delius is the Master of Colour, even. I always have a feeling while listening to his music that every single note and chord is a differently coloured ray of light, or a flower - and that these also exude different fragrances. Getting synesthetico-poetic here... but that's what I mean.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2013, 11:54:23 AM
For anyone who can access BBC Channels, in this case BBC4, there is an hour and a half length feature On Delius which begins at 19:30hrs GMT, called    Delius:  Composer, Lover, Enigma

Thanks, John. I heard about this documentary through the Delius Society. I wish I could watch it! Maybe someone will be gracious enough to upload it on YouTube. Looks like an interesting program.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2013, 12:04:10 PM
My quest is now to get to know the final revised version of Delius’ piano concerto. I found two historical accounts on the Amazon Mp3 store for pennies, one by Beecham with his wife at the piano, and the beautiful performance by one of England's other celebrated pianists, Benno Moiseiwitsch (originally born in the Ukraine) with the BBC Orchestra at the Proms in 1955.These accounts blow me away, what a piece of music, one of my favorite piano concertos now!

I also think that, while listening to this concerto, under the surface, there was quite alot of darkness there. It would be quite easy to dismiss this work as simply a light one, but I think that would just show that one is listening superficially. its prinicipal qualities. I can hear the influence of Wagner, Debussy & Ravel, but Delius obviously had his own individual style. He was a good orchestrator, & I especially like his use of woodwinds when they are playing with the strings. There's plenty of lyricism in this work, & I like how he lets the melodies just flow freely. It doesn't sound like fortissimo playing, clear-cut rhythms and blaring fanfares. I think that's what many people consider soft or boring in his music, the absence of pomp and overt drama. Some say it lacks strength, because it's more flowing and blooming than pounding and sharp. I couldn't disagree more that those are weaknesses, and I think it's the originality, colour, rafinement and profound impact that are personally feel that nobody should live by another person's philosophies. If an idea sounds good and you're inspired by it, then great adopt that into your way of thinking, but I don't think a "system" of philosophy is worthy enough to live by. People have to develop their own thoughts independently. What's also important with Delius is not to expect a lot of What's so great about Delius is on the surface it's really beautiful music, but with a deeper listening will reveal his vulnerability, a deep despair, and even sadness. What is sad is when we think of his life and the circumstances he composed music under. All of the suffering he endured, but the music somehow prevails over that pain. It's unbelievable really.

Beautifully said, Leo! I couldn't agree more and is pretty much what I've been saying all along. People who don't particularly like Delius' music more often than not listen superficially instead of trying to get to meaning and the emotion of the music. They, like you said, only hear what's on the surface without getting to the bottom. There is a feeling of isolation, loneliness, and vulnerability in his music. He simply has chosen a different kind of 'surface,' if you will, to mask the true nature of the music. Some composers feel the need for huge barrages of percussion and so forth to somehow cover up this vulnerability --- not that this isn't a viable way to express an emotion, but, rather, Delius has no need for such pyrotechnics. His music is exposed as a flower is exposed to the light. People can scowl all they want to about Delius' music, this just makes my passion for his music stronger. Spread the word, Leo! Spread the word! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2013, 12:36:28 PM
My quest is now to get to know the final revised version of Delius’ piano concerto. I found two historical accounts on the Amazon Mp3 store for pennies, one by Beecham with his wife at the piano, and the beautiful performance by one of England's other celebrated pianists, Benno Moiseiwitsch (originally born in the Ukraine) with the BBC Orchestra at the Proms in 1955.These accounts blow me away, what a piece of music, one of my favorite piano concertos now!

You should definitely check out the Philip Fowke (Unicorn, Heritage) and Piers Lane (EMI) performances, Leo. I prefer the one-movement concerto (revised) to the original, although it's certainly nice to have the original version because Delius did away with the final movement and composed a new movement in the revised version.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2013, 03:21:23 PM
Hey Leo, did you every buy one of these or are you thinking of buying them:

(http://www.silverdisc.com/images/64/675754041496.jpg)

(http://www.silverdisc.com/images/5/5099908417527.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51kHw88H8gL._SL500_SS500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2013, 04:25:26 PM
Delius wrote some beautiful solo piano music like the Three Preludes. This work only lasts around three minutes. Here's a write-up from All Music Guide:

As the tertiary phase of his syphilitic affliction began to close in, 1923 was a hectic year for Delius. Visits to spas to ward off blindness and paralysis, offset by occasional remissions, a summer vaction at his Norwegian cottage at Lesjaskog, marred by ill-health, and further work on Hassan, planned for production in September but in need of additional music. The quite extensive incidental music to James Elroy Flecker's play makes up an exquisite series of small, highly evocative, poignant tone poems/delectable miniatures. Where a more extensive number, the General Dance, was needed a visit by Percy Grainger saved the day. He not only composed the number anonymously, but proved invaluable in getting the score, largely dictated to Delius' wife, in order. After delays, Hassan was produced, enjoying a long and successful run affording Delius royalties of 25 pounds a week. The knack of conjuring an aura of blithesome dreaminess in tiny works of sketch-like arabesque -- an apt description of many moments in the Hassan music -- carried over into several atypical piano pieces. Probably owing to the interest of English pianist Evelyn Howard-Jones, who often visited Delius and played for him, is the collection of Five Piano Pieces, in 1923, and dedicated to Howard-Jones, followed by the Three Preludes, a more homogeneous group, the first of which is also dedicated to Howard-Jones, who recorded all three in 1929. Delius thought Howard-Jones' performance of the Piano Concerto the best he'd heard, a surprising assessment given that, during the first half of the century, it was essayed by leading pianists, including Benno Moiseiwitsch. Marked Scherzando, the first piece establishes the tone of the set with disarming simplicity -- ascending arpeggios over which insouciant flecks of melody are flicked off, rising to a five-bar climax of Maestoso chords and octaves, to conclude with a reprise of the opening. A mere two pages, the second Prelude features a ripple of sixteenths in the right hand against which a leaping, cavorting -- yet serene -- tendril of melody rises. It is dedicated to Adine O'Neill, wife of Delius' close friend, composer Norman O'Neill. The final Prelude washes arpeggios again over the keyboard's rich middle register With lively undulating movement as ever more effusive melodic bursts suggest an unspeakable world of delight just out of reach. Howard-Jones premiered the Three Preludes at a Wigmore Hall concert of Delius' chamber music -- the Second Violin Sonata, Cello Sonata, several songs, and the Five Piano Pieces -- on November 8, 1924.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 01, 2013, 04:44:42 PM
Hey Leo, did you every buy one of these or are you thinking of buying them:

(http://www.silverdisc.com/images/64/675754041496.jpg)

(http://www.silverdisc.com/images/5/5099908417527.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51kHw88H8gL._SL500_SS500_.jpg)

Thanks John!

I have my eye on all of the above, and will probably get the "Delius Collection" first since it can be had at a good price on Amazon.

Regarding the piano concerto, I prefer the revised version too, yet also love the original version (for the same reasons, nice to have both). Thanks for the recommends on the piano concerto, I can't get enough of this work  8)

 8)

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2013, 04:51:50 PM
Thanks John!

I have my eye on all of the above, and will probably get the "Delius Collection" first since it can be had at a good price on Amazon.

Regarding the piano concerto, I prefer the revised version too, yet also love the original version (for the same reasons, nice to have both). Thanks for the recommends on the piano concerto, I can't get enough of this work  8)

 8)

My pleasure, Leo. Yes, buy them all! ;) :D I'm really impressed with each of the sets. The Piano Concerto is an amazing work. Wait until you hear his other concerti. Right now, I'm listening to his orchestral songs. Absolutely magical. 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 01, 2013, 06:41:32 PM
Leo, if you ever get a chance to buy this recording, then don't hesitate:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513v4BAA1vL.jpg)

As with all the composers in my top 5, I like to explore a large variety of their music. These sonatas are absolutely sublime. Again, that sadness we speak of that's so prominent in Delius' music is brought to the fore here. There's nothing to hide behind or mask this sadness here. Just one heartbreaking note after another. The accompaniment from Piers Lane is completely in-tune with the music. Little, as usual, plays remarkably well. Of course, Little and Lane aren't strangers to Delius and they're some of the top performers around in this music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 02, 2013, 07:39:45 AM
Leo, you've got to hear the Violin Sonatas! You will love them.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 02, 2013, 07:42:45 AM
Thanks for the heads up John, I managed to grab a copy of Tasmin Little's/Piers Lane's account of the Violin Sonatas this morning, hopefully will get a good listen tonight after work  8)



Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 02, 2013, 07:46:45 AM
Thanks for the heads up John, I managed to grab a copy of Tasmin Little's/Piers Lane's account of the Violin Sonatas this morning, hopefully will get a good listen tonight after work  8)

Great news, Leo! Look forward to your report. I'm going to go back and listen to these tonight as well. Such beautiful music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: John Copeland on February 02, 2013, 05:52:03 PM
With Delius making a dramatic entry into the GMG charts (!), I 'somehow' recorded a programme from BBC4 last night with help from 'an unusual source' about the composer Delius.  It's 90 mins long, and is called "Delius- Composer, Lover, Enigma.  I have placed it on my Dropbox account for a few days, so anyone outside BBC coverage can also see it.  But I will remove it in 3 or 4 days as it is in my Dropbox and is taking up 600mb of space in my free account!
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/96826210/Delius_-_Delius_Composer_Lover_Enigma_b01j0yys_default.mp4 (https://dl.dropbox.com/u/96826210/Delius_-_Delius_Composer_Lover_Enigma_b01j0yys_default.mp4)
Get it while you can.  And if you want.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 02, 2013, 08:34:53 PM
Thanks again for uploading this documentary, John. 8)

My impressions of the film are quite favorable. This is, no doubt, the best documentary I've seen of Delius. What was fascinating, and only reaffirmed my own suspicions, the director touched on Delius fathering a child while in Florida and him going back to Florida to find the child. Grainger's own comments about Delius' "Negro mistress" were quite eye-opening. This film also reaffirmed the fact that I knew he was quite the ladies man. Going off to Paris and having affairs with prostitutes and so on. But what I think was one of the greatest things about the film was the fact that Delius' music was discussed in an intelligent, level-headed way. I particularly loved the interview segments with Thomas Beecham. Those were hilarious, especially when he was making fun of Delius' conducting and that he never discussed Delius' music with him because he didn't know anything about it. That put a smile on my face. Of course the reason he made that joke is because Delius was notorious for not putting accent marks in his scores and that he had to make some interpretative choices and when Delius heard Beecham's interpretations he loved them and said "That's what I meant! That's gold!" Anyway, to those that haven't watched yet, please do so.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 02, 2013, 11:24:46 PM
I think this documentary, Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma, could very well convert some new listeners. I'm certainly not saying that people who have disliked Delius' music for a long time will see the 'light at the end of the tunnel,' but I do feel that newer listeners and perhaps listeners that have only heard a few works and enjoyed them will, hopefully, have been given a little push to buy some recordings and evaluate the music for themselves. Delius' music certainly isn't 'easy' music to grasp. It requires concentration and an ear for the subtleties in music, not that all of Delius' music is like this, but, like with any composer, one either connects with them while others try to make a connection only to come away even more confused. Like me and Schnittke. :) Anyway, this was an entertaining, and informative, documentary and I hope our resident Delians have a chance to watch it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 03, 2013, 06:47:45 AM
Thanks Scots John! I hope to grab this later this afternoon after work. I can't to view this, what a weekend!

John, a wonderful review of the film to read this morning, thanks for sharing.

Also, I bought the Delius Collection.  8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2013, 07:42:49 AM
Thanks Scots John! I hope to grab this later this afternoon after work. I can't to view this, what a weekend!

John, a wonderful review of the film to read this morning, thanks for sharing.

Also, I bought the Delius Collection.  8) 8) 8)

You're welcome, Leo! By the way, kudos on the Delius Collection. An amazing set of music with many outstanding performances and rarities.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2013, 09:03:21 PM
Has any of our resident Delians heard Bo Holten's Delius series on Danacord? This is a great series! I think I'm missing one disc forget which one. Anyway, just thought I would give a heads up about these recordings as watching many of the interview segments with Holten in that BBC documentary reminded me how great a Delian he is.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2013, 09:09:05 PM
I've got to say this Delius/Barbirolli cover kind of creeps me out:

(http://www.lpcorner.com/12888-thickbox/delius-appalachia-brigg-fair.jpg)

I've already got a scenario worked out here -

Delius taps on the window glass

Woman in kitchen: Frederick?!?!? You scared the life out of me! Stop doing that!
Delius: I'm sorry my dear, so are you going to let me in or not?
Woman: Fine, fine...
Delius: Is your husband home?
Woman: No, thankfully...
Delius: Good. Don't worry this won't take long.

 :P
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: aukhawk on February 04, 2013, 01:25:02 AM
Brigg Fair (and specifically that version) would be my recommendation for a 'first dip' into Delius. 
My favourite piece of all though is Sea Drift, but that is rather dependent on a good performance from the right singer.  I grew up with the Beecham/Boyce recording and nothing else quite does it for me in the same way.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: dayveedh on February 04, 2013, 06:50:01 AM
My favourite work by Delius is Sea Drift...I think it encapsultes everything about Delius's style..there's drama, sensitivity, word painting, plus solo voice full choir and orchestra...I was particularly captivated by Bryn Terfel's performance at last years proms....-:)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 09:50:44 AM
Brigg Fair (and specifically that version) would be my recommendation for a 'first dip' into Delius. 
My favourite piece of all though is Sea Drift, but that is rather dependent on a good performance from the right singer.  I grew up with the Beecham/Boyce recording and nothing else quite does it for me in the same way.

Aside from intonation problems in the trumpets in Barbirolli's performance, it's very good. Sea Drift is a work I don't return very often. I prefer Requiem, Songs of Farewell, Idyll, Orchestral Songs, and recently I've become more enamored with A Mass of Life. Not to say I don't enjoy Sea Drift, but there's so many other hidden gems in his oeuvre that have been keeping me busy.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: The new erato on February 04, 2013, 10:03:34 AM
Aside from intonation problems in the trumpets in Barbirolli's performance, it's very good. Sea Drift is a work I don't return very often. I prefer Requiem, Songs of Farewell, Idyll, Orchestral Songs, and recently I've become more enamored with A Mass of Life. Not to say I don't enjoy Sea Drift, but there's so many other hidden gems in his oeuvre that have been keeping me busy.
Interesting. Sea Drift was the one work in my 4 CD Delius odyssey that really caught my interest.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 10:20:38 AM
Interesting. Sea Drift was the one work in my 4 CD Delius odyssey that really caught my interest.

To be even more honest, I enjoy A Village Romeo & Juliet and Koanga more than I do Sea Drift.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 04, 2013, 11:21:23 AM
I think I'm going to check out Sea Drift very soon, Beecham's version can be had for pennies on Amazon.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: John Copeland on February 04, 2013, 12:09:39 PM
Mail from Dropbox:

Quote
Hi John,
This email is an automated notification from Dropbox that your Public links have been temporarily suspended for generating excessive traffic. Your Dropbox will continue to function normally with the exception of Public links.
This suspension is temporary (3 days for the first time).
Please visit Dropbox support if you have any questions.
- The Dropbox Team

LOL.  Looks like Delius is more popular than we thought.  I will remove the file now.  Did you get it or see it Leo?  If not, PM and I'll put it somewhere else for you to download.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 04, 2013, 02:09:24 PM
Mail from Dropbox:

LOL.  Looks like Delius is more popular than we thought.  I will remove the file now.  Did you get it or see it Leo?  If not, PM and I'll put it somewhere else for you to download.

Unfortunately I didn't get the chance yet!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 02:13:35 PM
Mail from Dropbox:

LOL.  Looks like Delius is more popular than we thought.  I will remove the file now.  Did you get it or see it Leo?  If not, PM and I'll put it somewhere else for you to download.

:D This could very well be from the fact that I let the Delius Society members know of this upload. :) Of course, I thanked a mysterious classical forum member for sharing the film.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 02:55:11 PM
I think I'm going to check out Sea Drift very soon, Beecham's version can be had for pennies on Amazon.

For me, it's hard to beat this one:

(http://img3.douban.com/lpic/s3782485.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 04:08:52 PM
John, if you could find another place to store this documentary it would be much appreciated. I would like to watch it again. Thanks again for taking the time to make this available to people who don't live in the UK. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: John Copeland on February 04, 2013, 04:15:15 PM
John, if you could find another place to store this documentary it would be much appreciated. I would like to watch it again. Thanks again for taking the time to make this available to people who don't live in the UK. :)

I am working on that even as we speak, John.   ;D

Try this:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_zDCvwQhkmxYVVpOGJnVjZrZ3c/edit?usp=sharing (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_zDCvwQhkmxYVVpOGJnVjZrZ3c/edit?usp=sharing)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 04:16:14 PM
I am working on that even as we speak, John.   ;D

Gracie!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 04:40:41 PM
To our resident Delians, does anyone else own Bo Holten's series on Danacord? It's a fantastic series:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5709499732007.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5709499728000.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71qqkNfaToL._SL500_SS500_.jpg) (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B007HNTKH2.01.L.jpg)

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005ABP0.01.L.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 05:12:54 PM
Re: Delius' String Concerti

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/tomserviceblog/2011/dec/05/delius-string-concertos-recording
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 05:51:14 PM
Beecham recalls Delius:

http://www.youtube.com/v/HUjuF773zsI

Most of this interview can be seen in the BBC documentary Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: John Copeland on February 04, 2013, 06:24:44 PM
Beecham recalls Delius:

http://www.youtube.com/v/HUjuF773zsI

Most of this interview can be seen in the BBC documentary Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma.

Beecham was such an great old raconteur! 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 06:38:29 PM
Beecham was such an great old raconteur!

Indeed!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 08:19:20 PM
I miss reading Sara's (Lethe) commentary on Delius. It's always nice to have another iron in the fire on this thread. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2013, 08:55:42 PM
One reason why Delius' music has so much resonance with me, besides just being gorgeous music, is it's attention towards nature. As a kid, I used to go run and play outside in the woods all the time. There was a creek that ran near my childhood home and I was always down near it. I've always been attracted to water and nature. I'd love to get back into it at some point. Drive up near the Appalachian Mountains and take a stroll around the trails. It gives me a sense of renewal to be near a river in the forest. Waterfalls also really have intrigued me for a long time. Again, all of this I relate to Delius' music in some way or another.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2013, 10:57:13 AM
Anyone else care to comment on the documentary on BBC Composer, Lover, Enigma? Such a fascinating film.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 05, 2013, 11:03:35 AM
I haven't got to the film yet, I'm hoping to see it on the weekend, I can't wait! In the early morning I heard Beecham's account of Sea Drift and I was in heaven. What a mood that music creates!

Great thoughts above John, it's great to be inspired!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2013, 11:09:46 AM
I haven't got to the film yet, I'm hoping to see it on the weekend, I can't wait! In the early morning I heard Beecham's account of Sea Drift and I was in heaven. What a mood that music creates!

Great thoughts above John, it's great to be inspired!

Definitely would like to your thoughts on the film once you have watched it. Johan also mentioned he watched it so I would be curious to know his opinion of the film as well.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: North Star on February 05, 2013, 01:59:33 PM
I will probably watch it over the weekend, too. Perhaps I'll also listen to some Delius then...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2013, 02:02:23 PM
I will probably watch it over the weekend, too. Perhaps I'll also listen to some Delius then...

For the newcomer, it's a good documentary, but I already knew most of the factual information that was covered, but it contained a few surprises and some rather humorous ones. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2013, 05:38:43 PM
-The Violin Sonatas-

Violin Sonata No. 1, RT viii/6:

"I cannot remember the first time when I began to play the piano: it must have been very early in my life," Delius recalled. "I played by ear, I used to be brought down in a little velvet suit after dinner to play for the company. My mother would say: 'Now make up something', and then I would improvise. When I was six or seven, I began taking violin lessons from Mr. Bauerkeller, of the Hallé Orchestra, who came over from Manchester especially to teach me." As an 18-year-old newly conscripted into the family wool business, Delius was sent to Germany, where commercial considerations took distant second place to concert attendance and violin lessons with prominent pedagogue Hans Sitt. Thereafter, his violin accompanied him through the vicissitudes of self-discovery and more failed tours as a commercial traveler. After the debacle of his venture as an orange grower in Florida, in the fall of 1885 the 23-year-old vagabond turned up in Danville, VA, in answer to a newspaper advertisement for a music teacher, and by October had established himself as "Professor" Delius. "I am sure it was charm, not teaching ability," Eric Fenby remarked, "that paid for his passage back to Europe in 1886, earned from giving violin lessons to the daughters of wealthy tobacco planters...." The consensus of his biographers is that, though talented, he would never have been more than third-rate and could not have made the cut as an orchestral player. Nevertheless, Delius confided his earliest articulate dreams and ambitions to the piano and violin, and it would have been surprising had he not left works for this combination. The pattern sketched in his recollections would follow him into his mature compositions, as in the violin sonatas, where a cavalier disregard for textbook form was compensated by a tendency to "wing it" in seemingly improvised flights. Delius is more cunning than that and his pieces are seldom shapeless, though their compelling trajectory is never amenable to conventional analysis. His imagination was rich enough that he could rely upon it, as in the First Violin Sonata. Sketched in 1905, the sonata was completed only in 1914. The meander of its rhapsodically dreaming first movement, playing nearly 12 minutes, can seem ramshackle, though its lyric flow is never less than ingratiating, while the animated second movement concludes the work in radiant winsomeness. It was premiered by Arthur Catterall and Robert Jeffrey Forbes in Manchester on February 24, 1915.

Violin Sonata No. 2, RT viii/9:

For Delius, the decade of the 1920s was a chronicle of wavering health and general decline, as the syphilitic infection he contracted in the 1890s began to tighten its grip. In 1920 he was still ambulatory, though his hands had become so shaky that he composed with difficulty and by dictation. In the spring, as a bout of illness made composition impossible, he accepted a commission from London impresario Basil Deane to furnish incidental music for a production of James Elroy Flecker's play Hassan. Delius worked quickly, but his penciled drafts had to be sent to Philip Heseltine (known to all lovers of English song as Peter Warlock) to be made into fair copies. Through 1921 his disease was largely in remission. He visited Frankfurt, London, Bradford, and spent the summer in Norway, where he had a chalet built overlooking the valley of Gudbrandsdal, near the village of Lesjaskog. But with the new year, as he turned 60, he grew very weak in his limbs and retired to a spa in Wiesbaden for an extended stay, during which he was forbidden to walk and forced to put Heseltine under contribution again for correction of proofs of his Cello Concerto. Another remission allowed him to take his summer holiday in Norway, in his new chalet, though he was now obliged to walk with the aid of canes. At Lesjaskog, he began his Violin Sonata No. 2. For Delius, the gregarious bon vivant, 1923 opened with a giddy social round in Frankfurt -- with visits by Percy Grainger and Hermann Scherchen -- made more enjoyable by concerts devoted to his works, though as summer came on he was again interrupted by disease, obliging him to make a two-and-a-half month stay at Bad Oeynhausen, a spa near Hannover. After a number of delays, Hassan was scheduled for fall production in London, though, as Deane informed Delius, more music would be required. During his Norwegian summer holiday he attempted to supply the want, though by now he composed by dictation to his wife. A visit by Grainger, who anonymously composed a missing dance number and put the manuscript additions in order, saved the day. Back in Grez in October, Delius completed the Second Violin Sonata begun the year before, though from the concentration and melodic generosity of its single-movement fast-slow-fast arch one could hardly guess the trying circumstances of its composition. The Wigmore Hall premiere was given by Albert Sammons, with Evleyn Howard Jones on October 7, 1924.

Violin Sonata No. 3, RT viii/10:

With the onset of the First World War, Delius embarked upon a more tightly integrated manner, loosely referent to textbook musical processes, with the First Violin Sonata (1914) and pursued with varying success in the Double Concerto for violin and cello, the Violin Concerto, the String Quartet, and the Cello Sonata -- all completed in 1916 -- the Cello Concerto (1921), and the Second and Third violin sonatas (1923 and 1930, respectively). But the designation sonata or concerto should lead no one to believe that they partake of the sonata form preoccupation of the great German tradition. The conception of the violin sonatas -- arguably, with the Violin Concerto and the Cello Sonata, the most successful of these works -- is soaringly lyrical, unfolding in seemingly improvised lines wholly unsuited (as Berlioz's long-limbed melodies are unsuited) to alla tedesca "working out" or development. Instead, Delius proceeds by repetition in other registers and new contexts, shifts of melodic inflection, the expansiveness with which a newly heard melodic flight may cascade into exquisite arabesques, or the sudden generous introduction of new material. While there are occasional moments of dialogue, the violin -- the singing instrument -- is clearly the primus inter pares, leaving the piano to sketch a rapidly shifting chromatic texture, often in the "exquisitely placed melody of chords" that Eric Fenby noted, resourcefully varied broken chord figurations, or melodic fragments that the violin seizes upon and carries aloft. For all their genial dreamery, joyousness, and radiance, the violin sonatas mark the increasing grip of Delius' syphilitic paralysis. Through the period of the First Sonata, Delius was experiencing more frequent and severe periods of illness, entailing increasing stretches of convalescence. The Second Sonata was dictated to his wife while he could still see. By 1930, Delius was blind, paralyzed -- a total invalid in almost constant pain -- and the Third Sonata was dictated to Fenby. In fact, the beguiling tune in 12/8 that opens the second movement was the first music Delius attempted with Fenby. Despite the composer's physical travails and the initial miscommunication between the composer and his young amanuensis, the Third Sonata is the blithest of the three -- "a younger, fresher work than either of the other two," according to its composer, after hearing his favorite interpreter, May Harrison, perform it, accompanied by Fenby on an Easter visit just after its completion. The work is dedicated to her. Harrison, with Arnold Bax, gave the sonata's Wigmore Hall premiere on November 6, 1930, and in 1937 privately recorded it.

[All articles taken from All Music Guide]

I couldn't find any information on the Violin Sonata in B (Op. Posth.). This particular sonata was composed in 1892 and is the longest of the four sonatas. It's still characteristically Delian, but with a brighter and perhaps even more of a Romantic influence than the others.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2013, 09:33:11 PM
Two Pieces for small orchestra:

The Two Pieces for small orchestra are exquisite tone poems depicting two adjacent seasons. They were written after Delius completed his last opera, Fennimore and Gerda, which demonstrated the shift to his later style of composition. These two works, however, also look back to his earlier, very personal style. Both are scored for a reduced orchestra of flute, oboe, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, and strings.

"On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring" (1912) opens on a beautiful sustained major seventh chord followed by the oboe introducing a pastoral bird-like pattern. Then "with easy flowing movement," a song in triple meter is introduced in the strings with drones in the cellos and basses. The simple, sweet, pastoral, modal melody is harmonized by Delius with chromatic passing tones that at times give the impression of bitonality when set against the lower harmonic roots. The melody is built in cumulative phrases, until the oboe has learned the whole tune and now steps forward as a solo underscored by lovely strings. The clarinet then comes forward with an authentic "cuckoo" call. The middle section of the tune is developed as the "cuckoo" clarinet enters at several points. The strings create a small looping pattern just before the ending, and manifest some simple yet rich new harmonies. A major chord dies away to silence. The piece is based on the Norwegian folk song "In Ola Valley, in Ola Dale," and is, to some extent, a transcription of Edvard Grieg's own treatment of the piece in his Norwegian Folksongs for piano, Op. 66.

"Summer-night on the river" (1911), one of the few thoroughly impressionist pieces by this composer, opens with gently sighing winds, over a droning pedal point in the muted double basses, and sustained horn notes. The string section enters, their muted sound creating a rich yet somber timbre. There is the beginning of a sea-faring melody but it quickly transforms into undulating figures and trills that perfectly describe a flowing river. A solo cello sings out with a lyrical theme, which is taken over by a solo violin, soon joined by a solo viola, all surrounded by the flowing patterns. The solo violin melody becomes "softer and softer as if dying away in the distance." There is a mystical and atmospheric coda with trilling chromatics in the solo violin, supported by sustained and pizzicato strings. The river in question is the Loing, upon which the wildly blossoming garden of Delius' villa, in the French village of Grez, near Fontainebleau, faced; this distilled tone poem -- playing between six and seven minutes -- is the upshot of many meditative hours spent there.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 05, 2013, 10:22:19 PM
For those that can track it down, the February 2012 issue of Gramophone featured a great article on Delius:

(http://www.ahmeddickinson.com/storage/Gramophone%20Magazine%20cover%202012.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1327321252356)

It covers his early life and his travels from the U.S., England, Norway, Germany, and France. For a Gramophone article, it was pretty well-written unlike their Bartok article which was featured on the next issue.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2013, 08:49:11 AM
Eventyr (Once Upon A Time):

With the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Delius and his wife dithered over abandoning their home in the village of Grez, near Paris, before finally accepting Beecham's invitation to stay at either of his houses; Delius eschewed the London establishment for Watford. After an initial period of anxiety, he could confide in his publisher, Emil Hertzka (January 9, 1915) "...all goes well & I am working very much here as we are living in the country. In the next few months a good number of my works are to be performed here. I hope this terrible war will not last too long." In late February he was with Beecham at Manchester to hear Sea Drift, and on the 24th, the premiere of his Violin Sonata No. 1. The Piano Concerto and excerpts from A Village Romeo and Juliet figured on the program of the Hallé concerts in mid-March. Meanwhile, Delius settled down to work on his Requiem and An Arabesk, and made sketches for Eventyr. After a summer and fall sojourn in Norway, the Deliuses returned to Grez, though nothing more is heard of Eventyr until December 31, 1917, in a letter to his friend, conductor and composer Norman O'Neill, "For the last 16 days we have had arctic cold & cannot keep our house warm... -- I have just finished a new work 'Eventyr' after Asbørnsens [sic] fairy tales for Orchestra & have rather tired my eyes...." In fact, Delius was already in the grip of a syphilitic infection, contracted before the turn of the century, which by 1923 would leave him paralyzed and blind. There is no hint in Eventyr of the vicissitudes surrounding its composition, though -- as in those other works of Scandinavian inspiration, A Song of the High Hills and An Arabesk (both 1911) -- Delius' utterance has taken an astringently muscular turn. Peter Christen Asbjørnsen's collection of Norwegian folk tales and legends, published between 1842 and 1871, is the undisputed source for Eventyr (Once upon a time), but, as Felix Aprahamian noted, "It has been said that...Eventyr is not based on any particular story, but an attempt to convey in music something of the atmosphere of [the] tales. The music itself seems to disprove this, for, so vivid are its colours and contrasts, it hints at a programme as detailed as that of Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel." Eventyr is dedicated to Henry Wood, who conducted its premiere at Queen's Hall on January 11, 1919.

[Taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2013, 10:08:43 AM
A Mass of Life:

Delius was an ardent Nietzschean; the text of this large work for chorus, soloists, and orchestra comes from that philosopher's Also sprach Zarathustra. Zarathustra embodies the concept of the superior man of the future, possessing the Will to say "Yes" to Life at its highest. This work is in no sense a Christian mass, for it uses none of the liturgical words of the mass. Rather, it uses Nietzsche's words to celebrate Life, and in its selection of words from various parts of the poem, gives an overview of the entire life of Zarathustra beginning with his address to the Will. It is powerful and sensual music, depicting many of the same images found in Richard Strauss' famous tone poem inspired by the same source. Dances, inner meditations, and pastorale scenes coexist with scenes of great mystery and of grandeur in this 100-minute piece. There is one textual issue concerning the words. Delius originally set the English translation of John Bernhoff. Even before the first full performance of the work conductor Thomas Beecham recognized that this translation was hopeless, and commissioned a new translation which he fit to Delius' music (presumably with the latter's consent). Since then it has become more fashionable to use Nietzsche's original German.

[Taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2013, 04:31:27 PM
Florida Suite:

The Florida Suite is the stuff of legend. After a desultory school career and a rather wavering application to the family wool business, young Delius persuaded his father to stake him as master of a hundred-acre orange plantation along the St. Johns River, south of Jacksonville, Florida. Taking a Cunard liner from Liverpool, he arrived in late March 1884 and remained until September 1885. The impact of those months can hardly be overestimated, for it was here, in this lushly tropical setting, with its glowing spectrum of lurid natural splendors and preternatural quiet, that he recognized his vocation and took his first real steps toward it. When Delius took possession of Solano Grove, he had just turned 22. The critic, Cecil Gray, who knew the composer well in his later years, ascribed to this period "... that which is known to mystics as 'the state of illumination,' a kind of ecstatic revelation which may only last for a split second of time, but which he who has known it spends the rest of his life trying to recapture...I knew, too, the exact moment at which that experience must have occurred...and when I asked him if it were so and if I were right, he was surprised and admitted that I was. The occasion was one summer night, when he was sitting out on the verandah of his house in his orange grove...and the sound came to him from the near distance of the voices of the negroes in the plantation, singing in chorus. It is the rapture of this moment that Delius is perpetually seeking to communicate in all his most characteristic work."

It is highly unlikely that Delius ever turned a dime (or a shilling) cultivating oranges, and his father eventually capitulated to force majeure by allowing him a period of study at the Leipzig Conservatory (beginning in the fall of 1886). While his actual studies at the conservatory proved relatively uninspiring, they did bring him into contact with Edvard Grieg, whose music and friendship would serve to cement his desire to become a composer. Grieg's lyrical suites also offered a convenient, if temporary, model that allowed the young Delius to give expression to the richness of his Florida experience. The resulting Florida Suite, was composed over 1886-1887.

The work is in four broadly expansive movements. The first, "Daybreak-Dance," opens with a lyrically rippling, ever more animated, evocation which gives way to a dance, "La Calinda"; this dance is one of the most ravishing moments in Delius' oeuvre, and he would make use of it again in his opera, Koanga. The second, "By the River," is a melodically effusive, fluently ingratiating elegy with two strains, laid out in a simple ABA design. In "Sunset-Near the Plantation," another spate of rhapsodic tone-painting again gives way to a spirited dance. The fourth movement, "At Night," opens with a horn quartet suggesting at once muted fanfares and plantation slaves singing a spiritual from across the water; this eventually yields to an alternately blithe and impassioned love song.

Delius must at some time have been assiduous in his studies, for he has the orchestra well in hand in this, his first large work. For the price of a barrel of beer, he heard the Florida Suite once in early 1888, in the company of Grieg and Christian Sinding, given by a restaurant orchestra in Leipzig; after this performance, he revised two movements and laid the work aside. It remained for Sir Thomas Beecham to discover and give it a proper premiere in 1937, three years after Delius' death.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2013, 08:34:52 PM
A Village Romeo & Juliet:

Throughout his career, Delius was compelled by Wagnerian ambition to works on a large scale, while his peculiar gift lay in a concentrated utterance of musical stream-of-consciousness, moments of ineffable poetry in which form dissolves into a collage of sensuous orchestral oddments held together by sheer feeling. Such moments are strewn liberally throughout his works from beginning to end, though they become the work itself only after 1900. Delian magic attends, for instance, the opera Koanga (1895-97), Appalachia (1896), in which the variation form is more congenial to it than attempts to bend it to the demands of a Piano Concerto (1897) or the tendentious program of Life's Dance (1899). Paris -- The Song of a Great City (1899) is almost pure evocation, though its effectiveness is diffused by its length. All are on a large scale, as is A Village Romeo and Juliet (1900 -1901), though the latter is a pivotal work in which Delius achieves a harbinger of his sui generis manner.

As in the works of the 1890s, A Village Romeo and Juliet, based on a work by Gottfried Keller, evinces large stretches of dutifully adequate, sometimes abjectly formulaic, music which, although not lacking charm or personality, do not seem not quite all-of-a-piece, or wholly realized, as are those scenes -- or the orchestral meditations upon them -- which gripped the composer and for the sake of which the opera exists. That they succeed despite the stilted diction of Delius' libretto -- "...and then to die -- would not that be a wondrous fate?" -- is a telling confirmation of their power. The archetypal "black fiddler" of Keller's popular novella obviously held a deep fascination for Delius, as did the free-living, free-loving bohemians who attempt to entice the young lovers to join them. It must be said that the opera contains some of Delius' most mawkish music, too: the lovers' wedding dream, for example. Their eventual suicide by drowning, as they make love for the first and last time on a sinking barge, afforded Delius the opportunity to compose an urbane, poetic answer to the Liebestod -- perhaps the archetypal moment in operatic experience. But for all their attractiveness, these morceaux -- whether vignettes or, like the finale, rhapsodically extensive -- are marked by a certain broadness of conception which looks back to the manner of the 1890s. Delius' love-death, for instance, belongs to the world of Appalachia. In the frequently excerpted orchestral interlude known as Walk to the Paradise Garden, on the other hand, he distills the poetry of the drama in a spellbinding, incandescent span which stands out as pure Delius, prophetic of such sounding miracles as Summer Night on the River, Brigg Fair, Songs of Sunset, or the late Irmelin Prelude. If A Village Romeo looms as something of a mixed bag, Delius' mixture of the exquisite and the visionary justifies its periodic revival.

Delius composed A Village Romeo to his own English text which, with the help of his wife, he translated (with occasional gaffes) into German for its first performance at Berlin's Komische Oper, February 21, 1907, led by Fritz Cassirer.

[Taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2013, 08:55:44 PM
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Frederick Delius is my favorite composer of all-time. He has knocked Shostakovich down to second place. Delius is my musical soulmate. It took me four years to realize this, but no other composer has had this long-term hold on me. I go through different phases sure, no doubt, but I always return to Delius. For me, there's Delius and then there's the rest.

(http://www.nhick.com/images/stories/blog-photos/2011/111216-delius/delius-1907-800.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2013, 09:01:35 PM
What Delius does for me no other composer has ever done before: induce tears of sadness and of joy all in the same work. I'm comfortable in my manhood to admit this and I'm not ashamed at all. Why should I be? From this moment forward, I will be this board's Delius advocate or do I already share this privilege? :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2013, 09:27:30 PM
Paris: The Song of a Great City -

Delius lived in Paris from 1880 almost up to the end of the century, and was an active member of the community of artists, musicians and writers living on the West Bank of the Seine. The work, described by his friend Philip Hestletine as "a corner of his own soul, a chapter of memories", was written at the composer's house in the French countryside. To remind himself of the moods the city Delius made rough notes on his first sketches -- "mysterious city ... city of pleasures ... of music and dancing". "Paris" is scored for large orchesta, used to opulent effect. The slow opening depicting dusk enfolding the city is followed by more urban sounds -- street cries and (perhaps to the puzzlement of todays Parisians!) the piping of a goat-herd. After dark the scene livens as night-life starts, quieter passages suggesting the whispered conversations of lovers. The music of cafes and music-halls is heard. As dawn breaks the voice of the city is gradually stilled. Much of Delius's music is pastoral in inspiration. Here he shows a more panoramic and representational approach to his subject. The first British performance was conducted in 1908 by Sir Thomas Beecham, who consistently championed Delius's music.

[Taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 07, 2013, 04:07:44 PM
Thanks for sharing those excellent articles John! And great to hear your continued thoughts on Delius, it's so awesome to hear how a composer's work can become connected to us personally.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 07, 2013, 06:49:21 PM
Thanks for sharing those excellent articles John! And great to hear your continued thoughts on Delius, it's so awesome to hear how a composer's work can become connected to us personally.

Yeah, I think Delius was a serious innovator and really pushed the envelope, but in a completely different way than a composer like Stravinsky for example. Like Debussy, Delius was a quiet revolutionary. His music defies categorization and the tag he's usually associated with "Impressionism" really doesn't do his music justice.

I look forward to your comments regarding that documentary. It's excellent. I watched it twice. 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Szykneij on February 08, 2013, 12:22:44 PM
I decided to give an old Delius LP I bought used and never heard a spin, and discovered this magazine page inside. There's no date on the article, but the album is a 1971 recording. It may be of interest to the Delius fans here.

(http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i340/Szyk/Delius.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2013, 06:13:35 PM
I decided to give an old Delius LP I bought used and never heard a spin, and discovered this magazine page inside. There's no date on the article, but the album is a 1971 recording. It may be of interest to the Delius fans here.

(http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i340/Szyk/Delius.jpg)

Thanks for this, Szkneij. I'm hoping to make a trip to Jacksonville, FL. very soon and visit the Delius House. I'd also like take a stroll along the St. Johns River and just try to get a feeling of the sights and sounds Delius must have experienced there.

What recording is this LP of yours?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Szykneij on February 08, 2013, 06:58:08 PM
Thanks for this, Szkneij. I'm hoping to make a trip to Jacksonville, FL. very soon and visit the Delius House. I'd also like take a stroll along the St. Johns River and just try to get a feeling of the sights and sounds Delius must have experienced there.

What recording is this LP of yours?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qD65l5o2L._SL500_SS500_.jpg)

Sir Thomas Beecham - Royal Philahrmonic - Music of Delius
Brigg Fair/ A Song Before Sunrise/ Marche-Caprice/ On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring/ Summer Night on the River/ Sleigh Ride (Winter Nacht)/ Intermezzo from "Fennimore and Gerda".

(My blizzard listening choice I mentioned in the Diner.)

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2013, 07:00:39 PM
An interesting article that dismisses Delius with the usual tired rhetoric: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9383360/The-chromatic-slithering-of-Delius-leaves-me-cold.html
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2013, 07:06:15 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qD65l5o2L._SL500_SS500_.jpg)

Sir Thomas Beecham - Royal Philahrmonic - Music of Delius
Brigg Fair/ A Song Before Sunrise/ Marche-Caprice/ On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring/ Summer Night on the River/ Sleigh Ride (Winter Nacht)/ Intermezzo from "Fennimore and Gerda".

(My blizzard listening choice I mentioned in the Diner.)

Ah, excellent. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2013, 08:15:26 AM
-The Dance Rhapsodies-

A Dance Rhapsody (No. 1), for orchestra, RT vi/18:

Compositional maturity came for Delius at the turn of the century, and with it the ambition for large-scale utterance hand-in-hand with a pressing need to find formal designs capable of sustaining grandiose proportions. The operatic framework of A Village Romeo and Juliet -- composed over 1900-1901, his first fully characteristic work -- offered one solution. The quasi-dramatic Nietzsche settings of A Mass of Life offered another. Such orchestral works as the piano concerto or the tone poem Paris, are far less satisfactory due to the conflict of an unconventional imagination at war with conventional formal procedures. The adoption of a loose scheme of variations provides the scaffolding of his most successfully extensive works, beginning with the revised version of Appalachia (1898-1903), "variations on an old slave song," and, preeminently Brigg Fair. As Peter Warlock noted in his pioneering Frederick Delius, published in 1923, "The first Dance Rhapsody which dates from the same period as Brigg Fair is almost exactly similar in form. After a quiet prelude, the chief dance theme is announced by the oboe, and save for a middle section, which is yet pervaded by echoes of the main theme, the whole work consists of repetitions of this one melody with harmonic variations that are kaleidoscopic in their in their ever-changing tones and colours." Composed in 1908, for those colors Delius required a profligately large orchestra supplemented by unusual instruments. Thomas Beecham left a flamboyant account of the First Dance Rhapsody's premiere, conducted by the composer in the Hereford Shire Hall on September 8, 1909, as part of the Three Choirs Festival. Delius delegated a prominent part to the rarely encountered bass oboe, and for the occasion only a lady amateur could be found to play it. "Now the bass oboe...is to be endured only if manipulated with supreme cunning and control...a perfect breath control is the essential requisite for keeping it well in order, and this alone can obviate the eruption of sounds that would arouse attention even in a circus. As none of these safety-first precautions had been taken, the public...was confounded by the frequent audition of noises that resembled nothing so much as the painful endeavour of an anguished mother-duck to effect the speedy evacuation of an abnormally large-sized egg...." Pratfalls aside, Warlock put his finger on one source of Delian magic -- "...though the outward form of the work is of the crudest and simplest character, its spiritual curve, so to speak, is wholly satisfactory."

[Taken from All Music Guide]

I couldn't find any information on A Dance Rhapsody (No. 2), for orchestra, RT vi/22.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 09, 2013, 08:15:00 PM
Leo K., how is your Delius listening going? Have you listened to any of that outstanding Delius Collection yet? I've been digging out some of Handley's older recordings both on EMI (Classics for Pleasure releases) and Chandos and I've been enjoyed them thoroughly. His Florida Suite and North Country Sketches are some of the best on record I've heard. I think Handley was a good Delian in the respect that he had an ear for the form and shape of the music which give many conductors problems. It's trying to find the ongoing 'musical narrative' in Delius that remains a challenge.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 10, 2013, 06:43:05 AM
Leo K., how is your Delius listening going? Have you listened to any of that outstanding Delius Collection yet? I've been digging out some of Handley's older recordings both on EMI (Classics for Pleasure releases) and Chandos and I've been enjoyed them thoroughly. His Florida Suite and North Country Sketches are some of the best on record I've heard. I think Handley was a good Delian in the respect that he had an ear for the form and shape of the music which give many conductors problems. It's trying to find the ongoing 'musical narrative' in Delius that remains a challenge.

I am enjoying the Delius Collection immensely, there is so much new music to listen and ponder, loving every minute of it! Song of the High Hills is one of the best experiences on earth.

My newest Delius acquisitions are more of Beecham's Delius...bought Appalachia and Sea Drift. So far I've been into Sea Drift but will get to Appalachia very soon. Sea Drift has such amazing choral writing, if one of the great vocal pages in the XX century. Interesting, another Whitman text setting! At times, I hear a 'transcendentalism' tone like I hear in Charles Ives, it's fascinating. I love this work. The poem of Walt Whitman is beautiful. And Delius knows how to create the ambiance of desolation, the desperate solitude of the bird, the indifferent movement of the sea. The last part, "o past, o happy life", in spite of the tonality of E major has such a quiet sadness that when I listened to it,  I stay long minutes under that powerful emotion, even after the end of the work (the end of Mahler's Das Lied von Der Erde always creates the same effect on me). 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 10, 2013, 07:42:05 AM
I am enjoying the Delius Collection immensely, there is so much new music to listen and ponder, loving every minute of it! Song of the High Hills is one of the best experiences on earth.

My newest Delius acquisitions are more of Beecham's Delius...bought Appalachia and Sea Drift. So far I've been into Sea Drift but will get to Appalachia very soon. Sea Drift has such amazing choral writing, if one of the great vocal pages in the XX century. Interesting, another Whitman text setting! At times, I hear a 'transcendentalism' tone like I hear in Charles Ives, it's fascinating. I love this work. The poem of Walt Whitman is beautiful. And Delius knows how to create the ambiance of desolation, the desperate solitude of the bird, the indifferent movement of the sea. The last part, "o past, o happy life", in spite of the tonality of E major has such a quiet sadness that when I listened to it,  I stay long minutes under that powerful emotion, even after the end of the work (the end of Mahler's Das Lied von Der Erde always creates the same effect on me).

I'm glad to hear you're enjoying that set. It's really fantastic. The Song of the Hills is still trying to weave it's magic on me. I haven't completely warmed up to it, but, like Johan said earlier in the thread, it has some gorgeous sections. Sea Drift is a work I enjoy, but don't listen to very often. I really like his vocal/choral music though like Idyll, Requiem, Songs of Farewell, Songs of Sunset, Mass of Life, An Arabesque, and Cynara (although Delius didn't finish this work and it was completed by Eric Fenby).

Appalachia is great. What performance(s) do you own of this work? It's a huge set of variations on an old slave song. The orchestration is truly wonderful here (but isn't this always the case with Delius :)). There are some beautiful lyrical sections scattered throughout the work and I'm thinking especially of a Lento movement where it's almost as if an aural slice of heaven has entered into your ears.

Have you heard any of the string concerti yet, Leo? Please do give these a listen.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 10, 2013, 09:00:00 AM
'The Song of the High Hills' is a bit controversial,even amongst Delians. I gather,Beecham didn't like it much. It's not my favourite work by Delius,but I like it & there really isn't anything else like it in English music. It certainly doesn't sound Elgarian,Baxian,or anything like Vaughan Williams. In some ways it seems closer to a French composer like,the underrated,imho, D'indy (at his VERY best) who also composed music inspired by nature and........ mountains!! It certainly doesn't sound like Debussy or Ravel. In fact,come to think of it,it just sounds like Delius! ;D But not the 'On hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring Delius! This is more rarified,even pantheistic. It has some loud,surging climaxes,a bit like 'Life's Dance',which is one of my favourite Delius compositions (not a 'fan' favourite,I know,but I like it! :)) but less strenuous!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 10, 2013, 09:58:34 AM
'The Song of the High Hills' is a bit controversial,even amongst Delians. I gather,Beecham didn't like it much. It's not my favourite work by Delius,but I like it & there really isn't anything else like it in English music. It certainly doesn't sound Elgarian,Baxian,or anything like Vaughan Williams. In some ways it seems closer to a French composer like,the underrated,imho, D'indy (at his VERY best) who also composed music inspired by nature and........ mountains!! It certainly doesn't sound like Debussy or Ravel. In fact,come to think of it,it just sounds like Delius! ;D But not the 'On hearing the First Cuckoo of Spring Delius! This is more rarified,even pantheistic. It has some loud,surging climaxes,a bit like 'Life's Dance',which is one of my favourite Delius compositions (not a 'fan' favourite,I know,but I like it! :)) but less strenuous!

I've heard The Song of the High Hills many times. I plan on listening to it again tonight. By the way, good to have you back, cilgwyn. :) I could always use more support for Delius on GMG. I like Life's Dance that's got to be a pretty difficult work to play well with all those high-energy string syncopations. What are some of your favorite works by Delius?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: North Star on February 10, 2013, 01:21:50 PM
Watched the document tonight, good stuff - made me reach for some Delius from YT:
I can see more Delius in my future...
https://www.youtube.com/v/pSGdns9tlyw
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 10, 2013, 03:12:41 PM
I've heard The Song of the High Hills many times. I plan on listening to it again tonight. By the way, good to have you back, cilgwyn. :) I could always use more support for Delius on GMG. I like Life's Dance that's got to be a pretty difficult work to play well with all those high-energy string syncopations. What are some of your favorite works by Delius?
I recently acquired 'Koanga' & Groves recording of 'The Mass of Life'. These have been hard to get for a while. Anyway,to cut a long story short ;D (I told it a few pages ago) I was stunned at how glorious these works are.
Favourites include Eventyr,Brigg Fair,the Dance Rhapsodies,North Country Sketches,Appalachia......almost everything really,excerpt the Concerto's,which I must have another shot at. (I'll use the program button next time,maybe they'll 'click' with me?!) I feel that Delius was at his weakest when he was writing in this form. Having said that,I really do need another more attentive listen. Also,I'm afraid I'm not so keen on 'Sea Drift',partly because I don't like unhappy endings! :(  Of course,that would apply to 'A Village Romeo & Juliet';but that one only gets gloomy right at the end! And what an ending!!! I think it's probably the greatest English opera before Peter Grimes;although Savitri,Brian's 'The Tigers' & VW's underrated operas are all pretty wonderful,unless you're a fussy newspaper critic!!
By the way,have you heard the old emi recording? It's recently been reissued. I have the Mackerras recording. Also,what do you think of Ralph Holmes in the Violin Concerto? I know him of course via his performance of Brian's Violin Concerto;still the finest version ever. He really understood the piece;although the one on the recent Dutton cd is very good!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 10, 2013, 06:05:22 PM
Watched the document tonight, good stuff - made me reach for some Delius from YT:
I can see more Delius in my future...
https://www.youtube.com/v/pSGdns9tlyw

Excellent news, Karlo! Keep on listening and don't hesitate to come back and tell us of your findings.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 10, 2013, 06:16:57 PM
I recently acquired 'Koanga' & Groves recording of 'The Mass of Life'. These have been hard to get for a while. Anyway,to cut a long story short ;D (I told it a few pages ago) I was stunned at how glorious these works are.
Favourites include Eventyr,Brigg Fair,the Dance Rhapsodies,North Country Sketches,Appalachia......almost everything really,excerpt the Concerto's,which I must have another shot at. (I'll use the program button next time,maybe they'll 'click' with me?!) I feel that Delius was at his weakest when he was writing in this form. Having said that,I really do need another more attentive listen. Also,I'm afraid I'm not so keen on 'Sea Drift',partly because I don't like unhappy endings! :(  Of course,that would apply to 'A Village Romeo & Juliet';but that one only gets gloomy right at the end! And what an ending!!! I think it's probably the greatest English opera before Peter Grimes;although Savitri,Brian's 'The Tigers' & VW's underrated operas are all pretty wonderful,unless you're a fussy newspaper critic!!
By the way,have you heard the old emi recording? It's recently been reissued. I have the Mackerras recording. Also,what do you think of Ralph Holmes in the Violin Concerto? I know him of course via his performance of Brian's Violin Concerto;still the finest version ever. He really understood the piece;although the one on the recent Dutton cd is very good!

Koanga and Mass of Life (a work that finally has clicked for me) are both outstanding as is A Village Romeo & Juliet. Outstanding writing fro vocals, chorus, and orchestra. The concerti have never given me a hard time because I experience similar emotions when listening to the Violin Sonatas. The thing with Delius is form of the work is irrelevant because his music is more like, to use a cliched analogy, like a painting. You have the main idea of the work and then everything else are little byways and add decoration to that main idea.

I own four Delius box sets: the one on EMI (18-CDs), Decca (8-CDs), the Beecham EMI (6-CDs) and the Heritage (7-CDs), but before these sets were released I had a pretty substantial collection of individual recordings, but these box sets make up the bulk of the collection now. I do like Holmes' performance of the VC, but I like Tasmin Little's first recording with Mackerras much better, but both are different in feel and interpretation. The Piano Concerto I have always preferred Piers Lane/Mackerras on EMI. The Double Concerto with Little/Wallfisch/Mackerras is also the best I've heard in this work.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 10, 2013, 07:20:24 PM
cilgwyn, do give the Violin Concerto another listen and please listen more attentively. The work is full of haunting lyricism. In fact, on this Tasmin Little documentary watch the short clip of the VC starting at 8:17 and ending at 8:40 -

http://www.youtube.com/v/0RocX8MvqcE

For me, this is the part of the concerto that holds it altogether and finally reveals Delius' broken heart and this longing for a time, a place, or possibly someone he knows will never be there with him again.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 11, 2013, 11:54:33 AM
To our resident Delians, does anyone else own Bo Holten's series on Danacord? It's a fantastic series:

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5709499732007.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5709499728000.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71qqkNfaToL._SL500_SS500_.jpg) (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B007HNTKH2.01.L.jpg)

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00005ABP0.01.L.jpg)

I'm hoping to do some reviews on Amazon since none of these recordings except for the Norwegian Masterworks and Danish Masterworks have been reviewed. I think Holten is a natural Delian. Quite comfortable in this most unique idiom. I'd love for him to record more Delius but the American Masterworks recording claims to be his last in the series. :(
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 11, 2013, 03:32:08 PM
Speaking of reviews for Holten's Delius recordings:

French Masterworks -

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2012/Nov12/Delius_French_DACOCD728.htm

Norwegian Masterworks -

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2003/Jan03/Delius_Norwegian.htm

Danish Masterworks -

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2000/oct00/DeliusDanish.htm

English Masterworks -

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2012/Aug12/Delius_masterworks_DACOCD721.htm

The recording of American Masterworks hasn't been reviewed yet on MusicWeb.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 11, 2013, 04:48:37 PM
Thanks for the links John, this thread is one of the best composer threads, it's got history and recording info, an all around go to for Delius fans.

Haven't seen the doc yet, I'm hoping I can download it straight into my computer before it disappears.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 11, 2013, 04:52:38 PM
Thanks for the links John, this thread is one of the best composer threads, it's got history and recording info, an all around go to for Delius fans.

Haven't seen the doc yet, I'm hoping I can download it straight into my computer before it disappears.

Thanks, Leo. :) I figured while I'm on GMG might as well make my time on here useful rather than pick fights with some of the other hens. ;) :D I'm hoping Scots John leaves the documentary up and running. Last time I checked it, a couple of days ago, it was still running fine. Please, please watch it as soon as you can. It contains a lot of valuable information for the Delius newbie.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 11, 2013, 06:30:07 PM
Another Delian masterpiece, Songs of Sunset:

Composed in 1907, Songs of Sunset belongs to Delius' most opulent period, coming after his testament, A Mass of Life (1905), and conceived in the same incandescent burst which brought forth Brigg Fair, the Dance Rhapsody No. 1, In a Summer Garden, Fennimore and Gerda, and Cynara. In fact,Cynara was originally sketched as part of Songs of Sunset, but outgrew its plan to become an independent composition which Delius did not complete until some two decades later. Both works set poems by Ernest Dowson (1867-1900), and are laced with nostalgia for the bohemian life Delius led from the early 1880s into the late 1890s -- the age of Beardsley, Wilde, Strindberg, Munch, Gauguin, and the young Ravel. Indeed, the luxuriant weariness of the Songs of Sunset is meant to be heard against Cynara's call for "madder music and for stronger wine," and its notorious profession of constancy -- "I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion."

Scored for soloists, mixed chorus, and large orchestra, these evocations of passion and lost youth set the lone personal voice among melting choral paeans to nature's mirroring moodiness. The first of the Songs of Sunset is, appropriately, "A song of the setting sun!" which brings "All too soon . . . the cynic moon." Upon this choral scene painting, the baritone breaks in to plead "Cease smiling, Dear! A little while be sad," joined by a contralto (or soprano) voice in a duet -- "O red pomegranate of thy perfect mouth!" -- yet lamenting "the reach of time and chance and change, / And bitter life and death, and broken vows, / That sadden and estrange." Chorus and orchestra call up "The pale amber sunlight" of autumn in a classic instance of late Romanticism's "dying fall," a poignant celebration of sweetness in decay presaging the inevitable farewell. "Exceeding sorrow / Consumeth my sad heart!" the contralto cries in a sustained aria of mourning. In the baritone's answering lullaby, "By the sad waters of separation," she is already a distant memory -- "Hardly can I remember your face." A sensuously winsome chorale conjuring of the buzz and hum of springtime, in "See how the trees and the osiers blithe," is rounded by the contralto and baritone lamenting separately that "the spring of the soul / Cometh no more for you or for me." In the baritone's final solo, he muses that "I was not sorrowful, I could not weep, / And all my memories were put to sleep." Rain and shadow fall together -- "I was not sorrowful, but only tired / Of everything that ever I desired." At last, "the evening came, / And left me sorrowful, inclined to weep / With all my memories that could not sleep." In this quiet series of recognitions the work's emotional high point is reached. The chorus enters with a muted hymn, an atheist's ode to décadence -- "They are not long, the days of wine and roses, / Out of a misty dream our path emerges for a while, then closes / Within a dream."

In marked contrast to the religious works which were the staple of choral festivals at the time, Songs of Sunset still bears the seeds of controversy. After conducting a performance by its dedicatees, the Elberfeld Choral Society, Delius' German champion, Hans Haym, wrote that "this is not a work for a wide public, but rather for a smallish band of musical isolates who are born decadents and life's melancholics."

This work was premiered by (not yet Sir) Thomas Beecham at Queen's Hall, London, June 16, 1911.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 11, 2013, 11:25:15 PM
A review I wrote on Amazon earlier tonight on Handley's recording of Florida Suite and North Country Sketches on Chandos:

Let me first say that it still amazes me after all of these years Delius' music is found unfashionable and tedious to many listeners, but there are still many of us out there that consider him one of the greatest of the 20th Century. One reason why some listeners have trouble with Delius I suppose comes from the fact that his music doesn't follow an formal guidelines. In other words, it's quite a stream-of-consciousness, rhapsodic type of compositional style that doesn't quite quite give itself to listeners so easily and from what I've read this music is quite difficult to pull off well. But one of the most important aspects in Delius' music is the shaping of the musical line and, with this in mind, his music needs a completely sympathetic conductor and one that understands his harmonic language. This is where Vernon Handley steps in.

There is no shortage of performances of either of these works. They have been performed by Hickox, Groves, Mackerras, Beecham, Lloyd-Jones, Holten, etc. What makes these particular performances stand out for me is Handley's excellent attention to, again, the musical line in the music. Many Delius conductors have a tendency to wallow in the lushness of the music, which I suppose can be beautiful in some ways, but this music needs a conductor to give it some kind of shape and form which Handley excels at doing. Both performances of "Florida Suite" and "North Country Sketches" are given outstanding performances from the Ulster Orchestra. The sound is top-notch. This recording was released in 1986.

A little about each work:

Florida Suite -

This work was composed around 1887 I believe during his conservatory days in Leipzig and it's an early work of Delius' when he was still under the influence of Grieg, Chopin, and Wagner, but what makes this unmistakably Delian is it's incorporation of Negro folk melodies and the overall bluesy quality of some of the musical phrasings like the "Near the Plantation" movement for example. This type of innovation predates Gershwin, Jazz, and is something that Delius is never given credit for. Also, this work predated Dvorak's famous "Symphony No. 9, From the New World" by some six years with it's blending of "American" folk music, although Dvorak never actually quoted Native American music in his symphony. What makes the "Florida Suite" stand besides the inventiveness of its' fusion of desperate musical elements is the sheer beauty and simplicity of that the entire work projects to the listener. Some may find this work trite or whatever criticism they want to throw at it, but I think these are the same people that don't want to accept the music's ingenuity.

North Country Sketches -

Composed in 1914, and clearly in Delius' mature style, this particular work was written on the outbreak of World War I and there's a certain understated sadness to this work to my ears. Each movement represents, in my own view, a different time of the year and the movements are as follows:

1. Autumn
2. Winter Landscape
3. Dance
4. The March of Spring

For me, this one of Delius' finest orchestral works. The orchestration is unbelievably good and the "Winter Landscape" movement in particular captures the season's coldness and gives the impression of a desolate landscape where only the icy chill of the wind can give you a feeling of life. The first movement "Autumn" is just gorgeous with lush harmonies and towards the end some modulations that hint at the "Winter Landscape" movement. "Dance" is a fun movement and I think it exemplifies summertime. The heat from the sun isn't far off and people enjoying themselves outside at a dance party of some kind could be what's implied by this movement. The last movement "The March of Spring" is pretty much what the title suggests: spring is here again. Embrace life and live it with passion. "North Country Sketches" contains some absolutely beautiful harmonies, melodies, rhythms, and I really think it gives the listener another feel for the mastery Delius had over the orchestra.

For the new Delius listener, this is a highly recommendable recording. Most long-time Delians will already have these performances in their collection or at least I hope they do!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2013, 10:45:47 AM
Here's something enjoyable for Delius newbies:

http://www.classicfm.com/composers/delius/pictures/20-facts-about-delius/14/#1
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 12, 2013, 02:33:43 PM
I downloaded the Tasmin Little video last night,after midnight,as I currently (temporarily,hopefully) have a miserly connection! I remember watching a programme about Delius,presented by Tasmin Little,some years ago. I admired her enthusiasm. I remember it was allot better than some of the dumb programmes you get about composers,these days. I actually do have the Tasmin Little/Mackerras performance & Double Concerto and I shall put the VC on,for starters,later tonight. I'll just let my cdr of W.Schuman's Syms 4-6,finish first!! ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 12, 2013, 02:48:10 PM
I saw the same documentary, cilgwyn. John and I discussed it a few pages ago. It's the program where Tasmin Little is trying to find an answer to Delius' 'melancholy turn', connecting it with his experiences in Florida (fathering a child, iirc, which he never saw again).


@John Still busy. But I am going to watch the BBC documentary soon. Life can be too interventionist.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2013, 03:41:14 PM
I downloaded the Tasmin Little video last night,after midnight,as I currently (temporarily,hopefully) have a miserly connection! I remember watching a programme about Delius,presented by Tasmin Little,some years ago. I admired her enthusiasm. I remember it was allot better than some of the dumb programmes you get about composers,these days. I actually do have the Tasmin Little/Mackerras performance & Double Concerto and I shall put the VC on,for starters,later tonight. I'll just let my cdr of W.Schuman's Syms 4-6,finish first!! ;D

It's a fun little documentary, but one that does bring up some unique opinions. My favorite part of this short film was the reaction from Delius Society members in Florida when Tasmin Little told them she believed he fathered a child while staying there. There's no physical evidence that this happened, but there is Grainger's and Fenby's word which accounts for a hell of a lot more than some stranger who never knew him.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2013, 03:42:43 PM
@John Still busy. But I am going to watch the BBC documentary soon. Life can be too interventionist.

Look forward to your opinion of the documentary, Johan. Take care.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 12, 2013, 04:04:03 PM
Well, as I said on Facebook - the first minutes looked very promising...  :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2013, 04:09:05 PM
Well, as I said on Facebook - the first minutes looked very promising...  :)

You'll enjoy it I think. Like I said, it's the best Delius documentary I've seen, although there were a few missing things that I thought were much more important than listening to what somebody I never heard of say about a piece of music. I'll let you figure out what the documentary missed. ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 12, 2013, 04:32:46 PM
I'm listening to the Tasmin Litlle/Mackerras recording of the VC right now. This really is lovely! No problems here. I think coming back to it after discovering Koanga & the Mass of Life has opened my mind to it. And,of course Johan,before you,did allot of very persuasive Delian posting,which really got me into Delius,in quite a big way. As to whether it's discursive? When the music is as beautiful as this,who cares? I don't generally like Violin Concertos,I'm afraid. I don't know why. The only ones I have ever enjoyed really are by Mendelssohn,Brahms,Moeran,Korngold,Brian,Tchaikovsky(I suppose) and Barber's is rather nice...........and this one,in terms of form,is probably the most original of the lot;although,I probably shouldn't say that! ;D
What not to like it? Thanks for getting me to give this another try MI!! I'm really enjoying it! :)

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 12, 2013, 04:37:37 PM
I'm listening to the Tasmin Litlle/Mackerras recording of the VC right now. This really is lovely! No problems here. I think coming back to it after discovering Koanga & the Mass of Life has opened my mind to it. And,of course Johan,before you,did allot of very persuasive Delian posting,which really got me into Delius,in quite a big way. As to whether it's discursive? When the music is as beautiful as this,who cares? I don't generally like Violin Concertos,I'm afraid. I don't know why. The only ones I have ever enjoyed really are by Mendelssohn,Brahms,Moeran,Korngold,Brian,Tchaikovsky(I suppose) and Barber's is rather nice...........and this one,in terms of form,is probably the most original of the lot;although,I probably shouldn't say that! ;D
What not to like it? Thanks for getting me to give this another try MI!! I'm really enjoying it! :)

Good to see you're enjoying the Violin Concerto now. It's certainly a beautiful work and favorite of mine. The rhapsodic nature of the piece I find very satisfying and is completely different than any other violin concerto written around that time. Delius is one of the most original and innovative of the 20th Century but this isn't what academia would have you to believe.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 13, 2013, 05:11:16 AM
A few comparisons,now!! ;D It IS rhapsodic,yet,somehow,it works! Anyone who thinks it meanders can always have a listen to the Chandos recording of Scott's,similarly rhapsodic (in nature) Violin Concerto.Scott certainly knew how to orchestrate,but unlike Delius he doesn't know when to stop. Delius also,crucially,knew how to sort the chaff from the wheat. Having said that,Moeran's (very rhapsodic) Violin Concerto meanders like billy-o,but the orchestration is so beautiful I can happily ignore the not so good bits! By comparison,the Delius is a model of concision.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 08:31:58 AM
A few comparisons,now!! ;D It IS rhapsodic,yet,somehow,it works! Anyone who thinks it meanders can always have a listen to the Chandos recording of Scott's,similarly rhapsodic (in nature) Violin Concerto.Scott certainly knew how to orchestrate,but unlike Delius he doesn't know when to stop. Delius also,crucially,knew how to sort the chaff from the wheat. Having said that,Moeran's (very rhapsodic) Violin Concerto meanders like billy-o,but the orchestration is so beautiful I can happily ignore the not so good bits! By comparison,the Delius is a model of concision.

I just can't get into Scott's music. There seems to be a lack of melodic ideas in his music that I simply can't find any way to get inside of the music. He certainly isn't a Delius, Ravel, or Debussy! But not many are. I need to reacquaint myself with Moeran's music. It's been about three years since I've listened to any of his music. At the end of the day, I still find Delius to be one of the most original composers in the 20th Century.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 13, 2013, 08:39:34 AM
I love Scott's First Piano Concerto, great piece.


As for the Delius Violin Concerto - ever since I heard it in the early 1980s (Albert Sammons' historic recording), I have loved it. The thing about Delius is that there is no preconceived form, form finds itself through a sort of inspired improvisation. Mood and recurring material bind the Delian composition tightly together. With Frederick Delius you only have to go with the (his) flow. And how people can find that difficult, is increasingly beyond me. We live through deaf and unfeeling times.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 08:53:21 AM
As for the Delius Violin Concerto - ever since I heard it in the early 1980s (Albert Sammons' historic recording), I have loved it. The thing about Delius is that there is no preconceived form, form finds itself through a sort of inspired improvisation. Mood and recurring material bind the Delian composition tightly together. With Frederick Delius you only have to go with the (his) flow. And how people can find that difficult, is increasingly beyond me. We live through deaf and unfeeling times.

Well said, Johan. People have preconceived notions of Delius' music and with those notions they fall 'deaf' on the real magic of his music. For anyone to tell me that his Violin Sonata No. 3 is boring and meandering (two words that naysayers continue to use ::)) is beyond me. How can they not hear the aching pain of this work? The Violin Concerto is not difficult to comprehend. Like you said, there's a main melodic idea that gets repeated several times throughout the entire work. When this idea appears, it's as if he had finished writing a verse in a poem, and he ends each verse with a variation of that main melodic idea. It's lyrical, it's poignant, and it's searching work, but it never really reaches a final conclusion because heartbreak doesn't really offer a conclusion. He simply has chosen to move on from it and for his work post-1900 that's how a lot of his music is. It's a journey of one man's despair and each of these works represents a different journey, a different viewpoint of really the same emotion. This underlying desolation, if you will, is in all of these works even the ones that have a bright, sunny surface. Knowing his life, I cannot except that things were a rose garden for him because they weren't, but, like any great composer, poet, artist, etc., the only way for him to release himself was through his own art.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 13, 2013, 09:19:38 AM
At this moment, the double concerto is my favorite string concerto of Delius, the melodies in this work have such ecstatic nature about them, truly inspired.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 09:24:38 AM
At this moment, the double concerto is my favorite string concerto of Delius, the melodies in this work have such ecstatic nature about them, truly inspired.

The Double Concerto is very fine indeed. My favorite performance is Little/Wallfisch/Mackerras on EMI, but I did enjoy the more recent one Little made with Paul Watkins on Chandos.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 09:42:06 AM
What do you guys make of the incidental music Delius wrote called Hassan? This is certainly some of the most exotic music Delius composed. There has only been one complete recording of it (Handley, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, EMI). Thomas Beecham came pretty close but still only just recorded excerpts.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 13, 2013, 09:45:39 AM
The closing chorus ("We take the Golden Road to Samarkand") is one of my favourite Delius pieces. I only know the historic Beecham recording of the Hassan music...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 09:48:20 AM
The closing chorus ("We walk the Golden Road to Samarkand") is one of my favourite Delius pieces. I only know the historic Beecham recording of the Hassan music...

The Handley recording is incredibly difficult to track down for a good price. It is coupled with Elgar's Starlight Express. But, thankfully, EMI included it in the 150th Anniversary set!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 10:14:46 AM
Hassan is a really inventive work. It shows Delius in a different kind of light compared to many of his other works. I'm going to try and track down some program notes on this work (if they exist) and post my findings here.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 13, 2013, 10:24:27 AM
Yes, Delius having to illustrate, musically, a play, really asked for something different from him as a composer.


And now I have to eat and work!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 10:27:14 AM
Yes, Delius having to illustrate, musically, a play, really asked for something different from him as a composer.


And now I have to eat and work!

In this different light, he still sounds unmistakably like himself. I'm still on the prowl for some program notes...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 10:47:31 AM
I was looking through some of my classical music DVDs and I stumbled upon this:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00009V3OC.01.L.jpg)

I haven't even opened it yet! I see it has a documentary included called Discovering Delius.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 11:19:08 AM
Anyone else here own this DVD of A Village Romeo & Juliet? I've read many good things about it. Hopefully, I'll be able to watch it tonight.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 13, 2013, 12:07:40 PM
I have it. It was on BBC television, a long time ago. Beautiful, I think.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 12:11:44 PM
I have it. It was on BBC television, a long time ago. Beautiful, I think.

Great! I look forward to watching it. But first I must finish Eric Fenby's book! :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 03:34:55 PM
Regarding Hassan:

James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915) was a late exponent of Aestheticism who worked in the consular service and was fascinated by the East. His works include the collection of poems The Golden Journey to Samarkand and the poetic drama Hassan, published posthumously and staged eight years after his death. Delius's substantial incidental music to the play includes preludes to each of the five acts, interludes, a serenade, fanfares, a four-movement ballet, melodramas and choruses.

[Taken from Boosey & Hawkes]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A short review by Ian Lace of Handley's Hassan performance:

Delius’s Serenade from Hassan is well known but the rest of his incidental music for this very successful 1920s play is virtually forgotten. Hassan, by James Elroy Flecker, is an Arabian Nights-type escapade – a heady mixture of pantomime comedy, disillusionment and sadism. Handley draws out all the romance and drama from this richly evocative score and the soloists and chorus are first class. The valuable illustrations that enhanced the original LP are omitted. Nevertheless, highly recommended.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Mr. Delius Discourses on His Music to 'Hassan'"

A report from Marion Scott

Christian Science Monitor Saturday, October 27, 1923

Special Item from Monitor Bureau London, Oct. 15

Flecker's drama "Hassan", with incidental music by Frederick Delius, is the most talked of production in London at the moment. Undoubtedly here is a great play by a man of genius, around which another genius has woven music that is the sensitive, sincere reaction of one poet to another.

Very soon after the premiere the writer had the privilege of a talk with Mr. and Mrs. Delius on his music. The writer was received by Mrs. Delius. The questions that followed may be seen from her replies.

"When did my husband compose the music to "Hassan"? It was about three years ago in 1920. And, no, he didn't know Flecker at all, or any of his work; the first thing that happened was that he had a letter from Mr. Basil Dean asking him if we would compose the music for this play. But my husband does not like writing for plays, and he refused.

"Then Mr. Dean himself came over France, brought "Hassan" with him and insisted on reading it to my husband. Mr. Dean asked him again if he would do the music. My husband was so impressed with the drama that this time he consented, and began work upon it almost at once. It took such possession of his thoughts that in a few months he had completed it. He wrote it straight off as he felt it, without any consultations with Mr. Dean or the theater people. Then delays occurred, and everything had to wait three years before the play could be produced.

"Yes, "Hassan is a wonderful drama, isn't it, and Mr. Dean has produced it wonderfully. He has thought of everything. The music? Yes, my husband put his very best into it. Yet at the performances the audiences make so much noise that hardly anyone can hear it properly. It is strange in England how they allow tea and chocolate to be sold in the theater while the music is going on, and then the people talk! It is terrible: - I think that the English theater public has no reverence for art."

Reticent and Modest

At this moment Mr. Delius entered the room, quiet, reticent, modest. However, after a few general remarks, he was induced to discuss his 'Hassan' music. "Yes, it was practically all done in those few months. Only the ballet was enlarged later. When Mr. Dean saw the first draft he thought it was too short, so I added to it".

"When composing the music did you wish to emphasize any particular aspects of the drama?" Mr. Delius replied very simply: "No, I had no special views. I just followed the drama and wrote music when it was necessary. The ballet is the only thing that really has nothing to do with the drama - that was added later, as I told you, because they thought it would be effective. From the theatrical point of view." "People are already beginning to express a hope that they may hear your "Hassan" music in a concert room version. Have you any wishes yourself?" Mr. Delius dismissed the question like one whom it did not concern. "No - no views at all. At present my music is so bound up with the drama for me that I cannot think of it apart from it." He seemed to muse a moment perhaps recalling the poet's work surrounded and completed by the atmosphere of his own melodies. Then he again roused to speech.

Curtain Calls Deplored

"But how can one make an atmosphere when the people talk all through the music. It is true, the audiences at the 'Old Vic' and the Queen's Hall Promenade concerts show that there are some people in London who appreciate art, but they are not the regular theater audiences. And then that terrible English custom of allowing actors to come before the curtain and take calls at the end of each act. It destroys any atmosphere which the musician has succeeded in building up. (Speaking with energy). Now there is something I particularly want you to say - a full artistic impression is impossible under the conditions that prevail in the London theaters."

That closed the interview, but readers of The Christian Science Monitor who have not had a chance of hearing "Hassan" for themselves may like a brief description of this much-talked-of and talked-over music.

In all theater bands the number of players is necessarily small. Delius, famous in the past for his masterly management of great masses of instruments, here shows an equal mastery of his treatment of few. He has taken the original course of scoring "Hassan" for an orchestra of 26 solo instruments. This, besides the usual strings, wood-winds, and horns, etc., includes such less usual instruments as the cor anglais, tuba, xylophone and harp. The result is rich, varied and original - the more so that he introduces voices freely, with or without words, not only for solo purposes and in chorus, but sometimes as parts of the orchestral texture.

Music and Play Well Related

This method is familiar to people acquainted with his concert works. Here it gains additional appositeness from the singers having their raison d'être in the scheme of the play. Throughout, the relation of the music to the drama is resourceful and sincere. Sometimes it stands by itself, as in the preludes and interludes; at others it forms a background to the spoken words as when Ishak extemporizes his exquisite poem on the dawn, or again it rises clear into song. Mainly lyrical during the earliest part of the drama, the music moves in soft tone colors and exotic melodies. The little prelude preceding the night scene in the street is perfect of its kind, though scarcely more than 6 bars long.

As the drama proceeds, the music gathers force, the colors heighten, the chorus and ballet are introduced, and the voices produce wild, elementally indefinite waves of sound. Though not realistically Eastern nor dominantly rhythmic, all is poetic and picturesque. Toward the close of the drama come two great opportunities for the composer - the march and the final scene. Opinions probably will be divided as to whether Delius has found inevitable music for the march, but in the closing scene (which the poet evidently intended as a choral climax) Delius has achieved a splendid finale. Fully experienced as a composer of opera and concert room music, he has known exactly how to draw together, harmonize and tranquillize all the actions, passions and tragedy of the drama, and has ended the whole upon the emotion of hope.

M.M.S.

 

This article appears here with the kind permission of Pamela Blevins

[Article taken from MusicWeb]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 13, 2013, 04:22:07 PM
Thanks, John! Yes, that closing scene is wonderful and - moving in a way Delius couldn't have foreseen. In its optimism I always hear the 19th century, taking 'the Golden Road to Samarkand', but ending up in Auschwitz instead.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 05:10:28 PM
Thanks, John! Yes, that closing scene is wonderful and - moving in a way Delius couldn't have foreseen. In its optimism I always hear the 19th century, taking 'the Golden Road to Samarkand', but ending up in Auschwitz instead.

I listened to it twice today. It's quite a work. The closing scene is mesmerizing, Johan, but that Prelude which precedes the closing scene really grabbed my ear. So atmospheric with seductive melodies.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 13, 2013, 08:00:51 PM
Revisited this recording earlier:



In my opinion, this recording contains the best On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring performance I've heard. Sorry Beecham! Handley has really impressed me these past few days. An underrated Delian? Yes, I really think so.

Summer Night on the River is exquisitely played as is Summer Evening and Air and Dance.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2013, 08:16:01 AM
Hey Leo, you still enjoying the Double Concerto?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2013, 08:54:28 AM
Today, I've been digging this recording:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/6109ecbH2qL._SL500_SS500_.jpg)

It contains an early tone poem Hiawatha (composed in 1888) that had to be reconstructed because Delius had torn some pages out of the manuscript. This recording is notable for being the premiere of this work, but also containing an arrangement of the Double Concerto for violin and viola. Suite for Violin and Orchestra and Legende have been recorded before.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 14, 2013, 09:55:24 AM
Hey Leo, you still enjoying the Double Concerto?

I certainly am, the work is one of my most played Delius works, and actually the piano concerto is too, one of my favorite piano works ever, the account on the Delius Collection is stunning!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2013, 06:55:07 PM
I certainly am, the work is one of my most played Delius works, and actually the piano concerto is too, one of my favorite piano works ever, the account on the Delius Collection is stunning!

Yes! The PC with Philip Fowke/Del Mar is excellent. Right up there with Lane/Handley. You own the Double Concerto performance with Little/Watkins, right? I couldn't remember if you bought that recording or not (I'm too lazy to go back a few pages :)).

On another note, have you heard any of the operas yet? Do give A Village Romeo & Juliet a listen. The Davies recording is OUTSTANDING! This is one of the greatest operas I've ever heard. Koanga has some Wagnerian outbursts, but A Village Romeo & Juliet is much more atmospheric and textural, although it does contain a few high-voltage musical passages. You'll love it, Leo. Trust me on this one. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2013, 06:59:28 PM
A work I'm stuck on right now is Legende for Violin and Orchestra. This work was written in 1895 and it's before Delius reached his mature style. It has some absolutely infectious melodies. It lasts around 8-9 minutes. There are several performances of this work, but the one I've been listening to is Philippe Graffin with David Lloyd-Jones conducting the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2013, 08:48:57 PM
Now I'm listening to Holmes/Handley performance of the Legende for Violin and Orchestra. A masterly performance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2013, 07:46:04 AM
Has anyone heard this recording?



I'm definitely thinking about buying it with some of my birthday money. I own two other Mass recordings: Groves/LPO and Hickox/Bournemouth SO.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 15, 2013, 12:54:23 PM
I listened to a few tracks on Spotify and was not impressed. Also - the pronunciation of the German isn't very good. I'd stick with Groves (and Hickox).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 15, 2013, 01:01:31 PM
Here is a nice homage to Eric Fenby, ending with part of the ravishing Third Violin Sonata.


http://www.youtube.com/v/hSL61RrD-O0
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 15, 2013, 01:04:37 PM
The Groves set is superb. It really is! One of the best recordings of a choral work I have ever heard.Something to rave about!
I suppose I'm a bit of a curmudgeon in this respect,but I just don't think they make singers like that any more! ;D But by all means by the Naxos set if you want to. Being a Naxos set,it won't cost the earth! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 15, 2013, 01:12:02 PM
Del Mar is good, too. But yes, Groves is the best.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 15, 2013, 01:48:09 PM
I've heard the Del Mar is good. I nearly bought it once (low price) but the 'ex library' description put me off. (Although,'ex library,can be ok,it all depends!).
  Which recording of the Violin Sonatas (or recordings?) do you have,by the way?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 15, 2013, 01:56:12 PM
Holmes/Fenby, Little/Lane.

Here a nice interview with Tasmin Little about Delius:



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3653130/Sorry-but-Delius-isnt-soothing.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3653130/Sorry-but-Delius-isnt-soothing.html)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 15, 2013, 02:40:07 PM
Thank you very much for the link,Johan! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2013, 06:17:26 PM
I just got home from a little 6-hour shift and to find some wonderful activity here! :) Goody, goody!

Where to start....
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2013, 06:20:04 PM
I listened to a few tracks on Spotify and was not impressed. Also - the pronunciation of the German isn't very good. I'd stick with Groves (and Hickox).

Thanks, Johan. I think I'll get it anyway. As cilgwyn says, it's certainly cheap enough. You can never have too many Mass of Life recordings. :) Groves still reigns supreme but I did enough the Hickox much more after spending some time away from it. I thought the Hickox could have benefited, though, from a stronger orchestral presence, but that's just one gripe...

Both Groves and Hickox have a lot going for them.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2013, 06:22:59 PM
The Groves set is superb. It really is! One of the best recordings of a choral work I have ever heard.Something to rave about!
I suppose I'm a bit of a curmudgeon in this respect,but I just don't think they make singers like that any more! ;D But by all means by the Naxos set if you want to. Being a Naxos set,it won't cost the earth! :)

Groves is the best Mass I've heard. His Requiem isn't too shabby either. ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2013, 06:25:48 PM
Holmes/Fenby, Little/Lane.

Here a nice interview with Tasmin Little about Delius:



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3653130/Sorry-but-Delius-isnt-soothing.html (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/3653130/Sorry-but-Delius-isnt-soothing.html)

Little/Lane is my favorite recording of the Violin Sonatas, though Holmes/Fenby is excellent. Thanks for this link, Johan, I just finished reading it. She's such an inspiring musician.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 15, 2013, 06:29:03 PM
Today, I've been stuck on two works Legende and Dance Rhapsody No. 2. Any one have any favorite performances of these works? I only know two recordings of Legende: Holmes/Handley and Graffin/Lloyd-Jones. There are several recordings of Dance Rhapsody No. 2. The one that has caught my ear is Fenby's with the Royal Philharmonic. A great performance all around. I think he brings out some textures, especially in the harp that is more subdued in other recordings I've heard.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 16, 2013, 08:13:55 PM
Was listening to Hassan yet again earlier and I'm really loving this work. It makes me wish Delius wrote more music for theatre. He was a natural!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 17, 2013, 07:05:54 PM
Eventyr

Not sure if I quote this All Music Guide write-up, but here it is:

With the outbreak of World War I in August 1914, Delius and his wife dithered over abandoning their home in the village of Grez, near Paris, before finally accepting Beecham's invitation to stay at either of his houses; Delius eschewed the London establishment for Watford. After an initial period of anxiety, he could confide in his publisher, Emil Hertzka (January 9, 1915) "...all goes well & I am working very much here as we are living in the country. In the next few months a good number of my works are to be performed here. I hope this terrible war will not last too long." In late February he was with Beecham at Manchester to hear Sea Drift, and on the 24th, the premiere of his Violin Sonata No. 1. The Piano Concerto and excerpts from A Village Romeo and Juliet figured on the program of the Hallé concerts in mid-March. Meanwhile, Delius settled down to work on his Requiem and An Arabesk, and made sketches for Eventyr. After a summer and fall sojourn in Norway, the Deliuses returned to Grez, though nothing more is heard of Eventyr until December 31, 1917, in a letter to his friend, conductor and composer Norman O'Neill, "For the last 16 days we have had arctic cold & cannot keep our house warm... -- I have just finished a new work 'Eventyr' after Asbørnsens [sic] fairy tales for Orchestra & have rather tired my eyes...." In fact, Delius was already in the grip of a syphilitic infection, contracted before the turn of the century, which by 1923 would leave him paralyzed and blind. There is no hint in Eventyr of the vicissitudes surrounding its composition, though -- as in those other works of Scandinavian inspiration, A Song of the High Hills and An Arabesk (both 1911) -- Delius' utterance has taken an astringently muscular turn. Peter Christen Asbjørnsen's collection of Norwegian folk tales and legends, published between 1842 and 1871, is the undisputed source for Eventyr (Once upon a time), but, as Felix Aprahamian noted, "It has been said that...Eventyr is not based on any particular story, but an attempt to convey in music something of the atmosphere of [the] tales. The music itself seems to disprove this, for, so vivid are its colours and contrasts, it hints at a programme as detailed as that of Strauss' Till Eulenspiegel." Eventyr is dedicated to Henry Wood, who conducted its premiere at Queen's Hall on January 11, 1919.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 17, 2013, 08:06:59 PM
I am a native of north Florida and have several recordings of Delius. This is my favorite Delius especially the Florida Suite. It is truly a great CD.
.
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SZ38X4SSL._AA240_.jpg)
.
Delius based his Florida Suite, composed in 1887, on native American music and African-American spirituals. Dvorak's Symphony #9, From the New World, was composed after the Florida Suite in 1893. I believe that the Florida Suite is equally as delightful as Dvorak's symphony. The Florida Suite is influenced by the native music Delius heard while living on an orange grove near Jacksonville, Florida.

Could this be the first successful merging of African-American music with classical? Obviously, this predates jazz and Gershwin. It's just astounding to think of how original Delius was and how he took such disparate musical influences and merged them together to form a style unlike anything heard before or since. What an inspiring composer this man was and such an underrated master. His time may never come and he may never be fully appreciated, but thank goodness that I KNOW how incredible and innovative he was and that Fenby was right in saying that there will be only a few who truly love this music.

On another note, I've been reading Delius As I Knew Him by Fenby and have been loving every paragraph of this book. Such a fascinating insight into these last, rather bleak years of the composer's life.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 18, 2013, 02:45:11 AM
I think you mean 'disparate musical influences'... For the rest, we are in agreement. Delius, as a composer, is of 'mixed race' as it were, with English, German, French, Scandinavian and African-American strains all infusing his style. Being literally of mixed race myself, descended from slaves through my father, and culturally just as much a synthesizer as Delius was, I cannot help but feel in him a great forebear and - brother.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2013, 08:22:21 AM
I think you mean 'disparate musical influences'... For the rest, we are in agreement. Delius, as a composer, is of 'mixed race' as it were, with English, German, French, Scandinavian and African-American strains all infusing his style. Being literally of mixed race myself, descended from slaves through my father, and culturally just as much a synthesizer as Delius was, I cannot help but feel in him a great forebear and - brother.

Yes, I meant disparate. :-[ It was pretty late in night when I typed that out and I was tired. Not a good combination. :) Anyway, yes, he achieved such an unusual synthesis with all of these influences. I read a review on Amazon where the person said he sounded like Debussy. Umm...no he didn't. This is usually what somebody says who doesn't know his music too well. There is a constant yearning in Delius' music and the unique chromatic harmonies he used are completely singular to only him.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 18, 2013, 08:29:49 AM
I don't know whether Wilfred Mellers said it, or Christopher Palmer, or that I have handily conflated remarks made by both of them... but the difference between Debussy and Delius in their nature music is that Debussy's is devoid of humans (just as it is in Sibelius), whereas in Delius, because of his sensuality, and, yes, eroticism, nature is humanized. Who else could have composed a masterpiece about two loving birds!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2013, 09:39:41 AM
I don't know whether Wilfred Mellers said it, or Christopher Palmer, or that I have handily conflated remarks made by both of them... but the difference between Debussy and Delius in their nature music is that Debussy's is devoid of humans (just as it is in Sibelius), whereas in Delius, because of his sensuality, and, yes, eroticism, nature is humanized. Who else could have composed a masterpiece about two loving birds!

So true. What's your favorite performance of On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Johan? For me, Handley/LPO on Chandos hands down. The most lush, sensual account on record I know.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 18, 2013, 12:13:24 PM
Well, John, ever since hearing Beecham's recording on BBC World Service, I found nothing could beat it. Although someone (John Amis to be exact, cilgwyn will know him...) dubbed it On Hearing the Last Cuckoo in Spring, because it is so melancholy. As a Handley fan I don't doubt his reading will be superb, but I haven't heard it yet.


Tonight I'm going to watch the Delius documentary... At last. Shall be reporting back.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 18, 2013, 03:26:53 PM
I just watched the documentary. What can I say? It was excellent, the best advertisement Delius could have, something to use for conversion attempts. It demonstrated definitively, as far as I am concerned, Delius's uniqueness and the incomparable beauty of his music. It had the perfect mix of the biographical and the technical, with an almost overpowering selection of choice snippets. I loved it from beginning to end. All the contributors had something to offer, with the only exception of Thomas Hampson, a great singer, but who only said two things, and those weren't very original. I also learned something about the Song of the High Hills I hadn't realised before - that the opening 'represents' a yearning upward towards a clearer view or sky, which is reached after much strenuous climbing. Being a citizen of a very flat country with an enormous sky, I had never visualised it in that way... So - a triumph!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 18, 2013, 04:41:16 PM
So true. What's your favorite performance of On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Johan? For me, Handley/LPO on Chandos hands down. The most lush, sensual account on record I know.

I LOVE On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, I'm at a loss for words about it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2013, 04:46:03 PM
Excellent news, Johan! If that documentary doesn't make the case for Delius, I don't know what will. I thought the contributors had all something different and special to say. They weren't just sitting there tossing one cliche about after another, there was substance in their commentary. I loved those interview segments with Beecham. It was great to witness his wit and intelligence. They don't make conductors like that anymore! I enjoyed how actual works were discussed and commented on rather than simply in passing. When they all spoke about Paris: A Nocturne, they actually expressed an opinion of the music rather than to glaze over it with some superficial remark. Again, there was substance in this film. All in all, a total success and something I'm sure the Delius Society will continue promote and why shouldn't they? Delius deserves this royal treatment.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 18, 2013, 04:52:08 PM
They should put it on DVD with extras. I'd buy it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2013, 04:54:19 PM
They should put it on DVD with extras. I'd buy it.

Me too...in a heartbeat. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2013, 04:58:53 PM
I LOVE On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, I'm at a loss for words about it.

One of the most lyrical works of the 20th Century. A masterwork. Summer Night on the River is just as inspired. This is Delius in his mature idiom. Chromatic harmonies, haunting melodies, and superb orchestration. Do you have a favorite performance? As I mentioned, mine is definitely Handley/LPO on Chandos. It doesn't get much better than this for me.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 18, 2013, 05:00:37 PM
My last contribution before I turn in (it's almost 2am here) - in the documentary everyone is asked if Delius was an English composer? Christopher Palmer called him a cosmopolitan. I would say he is the first creator of world music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2013, 05:10:30 PM
My last contribution before I turn in (it's almost 2am here) - in the documentary everyone is asked if Delius was an English composer? Christopher Palmer called him a cosmopolitan. I would say he is the first creator of world music.

Yes, a 'world music' composer is more like it. I don't think it's fair or even logical to call him an English composer, especially since Delius himself pretty much loathed England.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 18, 2013, 07:37:38 PM
One of the most lyrical works of the 20th Century. A masterwork. Summer Night on the River is just as inspired. This is Delius in his mature idiom. Chromatic harmonies, haunting melodies, and superb orchestration. Do you have a favorite performance? As I mentioned, mine is definitely Handley/LPO on Chandos. It doesn't get much better than this for me.

Right now, it's Beecham, but more listens to all my versions could change that  8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 18, 2013, 07:46:01 PM
Right now, it's Beecham, but more listens to all my versions could change that  8)

Definitely give Handley's on Chandos a try. It can be had for a cheap price:



I know you own Lloyd-Jones' performance on Naxos and that's quite a good one. A work of this nature requires top-notch audio quality.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 09:23:15 AM
Cilgwyn recalled liking the opera Koanga a lot and I agree that it's a fine work. Possibly one of the finest operas ever written. It's not too long and it's not too short. It falls in a happy medium. One particular section I still recall quite vividly is the Dance: Furioso (on the Koanga CD set w/ Groves this is the fourth track on the second disc). The movement begins with a huge rhythmic explosion and this intense section finally subsides to something more lyrical. Anyone who thinks Delius is all flowing, rhapsodic music will be dumbfounded to find out that their preconceived notion is completely shot down. :) Open your ears naysayers!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 19, 2013, 09:39:05 AM
I bought a track through Classics Online a few hours ago - Handley's Cuckoo...
My verdict: beautiful, but it won't topple Beecham from his pedestal for me. Two reasons - 1) Handley is too strenuous, he wants the piece to be and do too much. The piece should sound like a lullaby, with its gently swaying, cradling metre, but Handley introduces all kinds of dynamic contrasts, which certainly would wake every baby... 2) In the final part the very meaningful string contribution is almost completely inaudible in favour of the repeated cuckoo motif. The string harmonies really cannot be missed there.
I also listened to Barry Wordsworth - too slow. I have an oldie waiting for me now, a reading by Anthony Collins.


I'll be back.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 10:48:16 AM
Sorry you didn't enjoy Handley's Cuckoo that much, Johan. For me, it remains the definitive account. I have not heard better, although Handley's earlier account on EMI was quite good, it still doesn't touch his later performance. Mackerras and Lloyd-Jones has a pretty good Cuckoo. Del Mar I remember being decent as well. But no performance will top my preferred choice. I disagree that Handley is too strenuous. I don't think it should sound like a lullaby. I think it should sound like whatever it is at that moment. I like the dynamic contrasts in Handley's performance, in fact, it's these contrasts that give the work more of a backbone. I feel the same way about his Summer Night on the River. It doesn't get much better than this for me. Handley gives these works more color and depth which I particularly respond to and haven't in other performances I've heard. Handley opened my ears up to this work, which I can't say for any other conductor. Handley is such an underrated Delian I think, but he really understands this music I think and conducts it well.

I'll go ahead and spill the beans, I don't care much for Beecham's Delius performances. Whether this is taboo or shameful thing amongst other Delians is not of much importance to me, I simply don't enjoy them. Delius requires incredible audio quality, which Beecham unfortunately didn't have. Give me Mackerras, Hickox, Handley, Del Mar, Davies, Groves, Barbirolli, etc. over Beecham any day of the week.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: snyprrr on February 19, 2013, 11:02:26 AM
Sorry you didn't enjoy Handley's Cuckoo that much, Johan. For me, it remains the definitive account. I have not heard better, although Handley's earlier account on EMI was quite good, it still doesn't touch his later performance. Mackerras and Lloyd-Jones has a pretty good Cuckoo. Del Mar I remember being decent as well. But no performance will top my preferred choice. I disagree that Handley is too strenuous. I don't think it should sound like a lullaby. I think it should sound like whatever it is at that moment. I like the dynamic contrasts in Handley's performance, in fact, it's these contrasts that give the work more of a backbone. I feel the same way about his Summer Night on the River. It doesn't get much better than this for me. Handley gives these works more color and depth which I particularly respond to and haven't in other performances I've heard. Handley opened my ears up to this work, which I can't say for any other conductor. Handley is such an underrated Delian I think, but he really understands this music I think and conducts it well.

I'll go ahead and spill the beans, I don't care much for Beecham's Delius performances. Whether this is taboo or shameful thing amongst other Delians is not of much importance to me, I simply don't enjoy them. Delius requires incredible audio quality, which Beecham unfortunately didn't have. Give me Mackerras, Hickox, Handley, Del Mar, Davies, Groves, Barbirolli, etc. over Beecham any day of the week.

sacre bleu!! :o :o


I want all my Delius performances grey and still and lulling. No backbone here, please.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 19, 2013, 11:25:59 AM
And me,too!
Mind you,I quite like Grove's handling of 'Lifes Dance','North Country Sketches','Eventyr' & 'Dance Rhapsody No1' on an emi studio cd,in my collection.Now,that really is outrageous! No one rates those Grove performances! :( ;D
 I am a bit of a Beecham fan,I admit. I have just added two Sony cds of his fifties performances,in mono,to my collection (actually one is still in the post) & today I bought the emi box set of his recordings of English music!
I can't wait! ;D

Incidentally,one of the Sony cds includes Beechams performance of the 'Hassan' incidental music. Sublime! I know MI doesn't care for mono recordings (?) but he's dead right about 'Hassan' being wonderful music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 19, 2013, 11:29:41 AM
Perhaps it's a generational thing, John. I am from pre-CD times. Of course I like perfect sound, but performance overrides sound. That's why I love Furtwängler's war recordings of Beethoven, for instance. They are of a searing intensity, even in mono. I understand what you like about Handley's performance - he really moulds the music. Perhaps I am just too used to Beecham. I noticed that the Collins performance from the 1950s is more in line with Handley's, both last over 6 minutes, Beecham is 7 minutes and Wordsworths adds almost another 30 seconds. It seems the ideal length would be around 6 minutes and 40 seconds!


I'll be listening to the Handley performance later again tonight.


O, and if you don't like Beecham's Delius, you're perfectly entitled to not liking him.


P.S. As for Handley's giving the piece more 'backbone' - it is already there, in the subtleties of the harmony. The music can breathe on its own without too much help, you 'just' have to bring out the tensions that are already there. I know Handley, he did wonders for Bax, another composer vilified for being formless. But there, too, sometimes, Handley sometimes seemed too dominant, compared to, say, Bryden Thomson.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 12:41:49 PM
I understand Johan and respect that you're older than I am, therefore, of a different generation. I enjoy Delius in proper stereo with a nice ambience to the sound image, but I do respect and admire what Beecham has done for Delius. That I can't squabble about or deny. He was a true champion of Delius. As for my 'backbone' comment, I meant this in regard to orchestral heft and lushness, which I believe Handley achieves better than anyone.

Cilgwyn, Hassan is a remarkable work, but I urge you to seek out Handley's on EMI. Handley conducts the complete score and it truly is magical from start to finish.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 12:47:17 PM
Re: The Song of the High Hills

Truly a remarkable piece of music. Right now, I'm really favoring the new Andrew Davis recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Anyone else heard this performance? I think he brings a great clarity to the work. Bo Holten's on Danacord is also quite good. Fenby's is still a performance I enjoy as I do Mackerras on Decca.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 19, 2013, 02:00:42 PM
Beechams performance of 'Hassan' is magical & the mono sound really doesn't hinder my enjoyment. I'm a bit of a fan of early electrical & acoustic recordings of orchestral works so I seem to have trained my ears to ignore their limitations. My first record player was actually a 1920s wind up hmv,which I still own! And no,I'm not that old (yet!) My grandparents were getting rid of it & my parents being a bit hard up,it was my first encounter with any kind of record player! So perhaps,my tolerance stems from there!
Anyway,back to 'Hassan'!! I had never heard this,apart from one or two bits,which struck me as a bit 'kitsch' at the time! Now,I'm a bit of a Delius 'fan' I'm very impressed by what I've heard & I certainly would like to hear it in more modern stereo. Unfortunately,as you have observed in an earlier post;it is rather hard to get;but I will certainly keep an eye out for it. You have to be patient & keep looking,don't you? Of course,it may be in a box set;but at the moment I have quite allot of Delius & I'm not too keen on splashing out,too much!
Incidentally,I notice Brian Rayner Cook is on the Handley recording. A bit of a hero to us Brianites (Johan! ;D) due to his recordings of HB's songs & sadly,commercially unavailable (but as a download at the AMF forum! :)) haunting,'Wine of Summer' (Fifth Symphony).

While,I was listening to the Groves 'Mass of Life',I kept wondering what some of the ecstatic,wordless,vocalising reminded me of. Of course,I wasn't focusing that hard,because I was busy doing other things (cordless headphones!). Suddenly,I remembered & I suppose,this might sound ridiculous;but the wordless choruses (I forget exactly where) were reminding me of the ones in Schreker's 'Die Gezeichneten'. I'm not an expert on the opera,or a particular admirer;but I think the bit's I'm thinking of are the ones in the grotto where all the debauchery is going on! Not saying that Delius sounds like Schreker,please note;but the lushness of the orchestration & those sighing choirs. (And like Schreker,Delius can sound a bit erotic at times! Albeit,in a different way) It just (albeit briefly) reminded me,that's all! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 19, 2013, 02:07:04 PM
Klassic Haus has restored the Brian Fifth, cilgwyn...

As for your mention of Schreker - well, you are right. Delius does share his lushness with Schreker, Scriabin, Strauss, Marx, Korngold, Schmitt et al, with one big difference: he has a Nordic clarity and French precision. It isn't all heaving strings and chromatic orgasms (pardonnez le mot!)


And this, appropriately, is my 8000th post.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 19, 2013, 02:43:50 PM
Klassic Haus has restored the Brian Fifth, cilgwyn...

As for your mention of Schreker - well, you are right. Delius does share his lushness with Schreker, Scriabin, Strauss, Marx, Korngold, Schmitt et al, with one big difference: he has a Nordic clarity and French precision. It isn't all heaving strings and chromatic orgasms (pardonnez le mot!)


And this, appropriately, is my 8000th post.
Only 8000?! ;D Congratulations,Johan! I'm not quite there,yet!!
Not too much of that stifling chromaticism,thank goodness! I was merely referring to some of those wordless choruses (not the la!la! la! ones!). I'll have to jot down where they occur! The resemblance was only fleeting,and I forget where it occurs;but the similarity was striking & I just thought I would mention it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 02:44:07 PM
Yeah, cilgwyn, Handley's Hassan is hard to track down and unfortunately is now tied up in box sets now (the 150th Anniversary EMI set and the forthcoming EMI Eminence set). To my knowledge, Handley's Hassan has only been issued twice. Both recordings are out-of-print. I'm seriously disappointed that it wasn't released in the Classics for Pleasure budget line. Unless you can find a used copy for a good price, you'll not be able to hear it unless you subscribe to NML, which I don't have time for as I own too many recordings.

I do think Delius shares some similarities to Schreker, but he shares similarities with a lot of composers but sounds nothing like any of them. In fact, no other composer sounds like Delius and thank goodness for this. One Delius at a time please! ;) Anyway, I agree with what Johan said, there's a lot of different elements that stir the Delian pot. He really dipped into so many different cultures and absorbed so much in the process. How he was able to reconcile these influences remains truly singular.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 02:45:32 PM


And this, appropriately, is my 8000th post.

Congrats! Let's keep 'em coming! 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 02:46:43 PM
Speaking of Schreker, for me, it doesn't get much better than Prelude to a Drama. A remarkable work IMHO.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 19, 2013, 02:50:08 PM
Thanks, gents. I'll never get past you, John...


As for wordless voices/choruses, they occur in Ravel (Daphnis), Nielsen (Third), RVW (Pastoral, Antarctica), Debussy (Nocturnes) and in Delius (Song of High Hills, perhaps the core passage in the whole of Delius). There will be other composers... O - Brian: Gothic, Judex movement.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 02:52:47 PM
Thanks, gents. I'll never get past you, John...

Don't worry here's what I've come to know: 10000 = no life, anything less from this number = a busy, fruitful existence. ;) :P
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 19, 2013, 02:54:49 PM
 ;D


Okay, 2000 posts to go, then.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 02:55:37 PM
;D


Okay, 2000 posts to go, then.

:D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on February 19, 2013, 03:09:26 PM
Proffering my humble respects to all you worthy fluent gentlemen of the keyboard, die Vielschreiber unter uns, I would like to remark that one of the most beautiful Delius recordings I know is the lateish live Beecham performance of In A Summer Garden with the RPO - one forgets about recording quality (very fine for the time, though) and sinks into a vision of paradise. But rhythmically how well judged to keep it moving in a kind of lazy fine rapture (on Somm with Schubert and Wagner).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 19, 2013, 03:13:52 PM
Speaking of Schreker, for me, it doesn't get much better than Prelude to a Drama. A remarkable work IMHO.
Yes,I remember hearing that on the radio years ago,before any of his operas had been recorded & thinking,'Wow!' Amazing orchestration! It really IS something! (I can't help wishing he'd stuck to orchestral works!)
I know I was playing the 'comparison game' a little there;but the fact that I was thinking of Schreker,not Strauss,reminds me of just how cosmopolitan Delius was. There are all sorts of influences there,but like all the best composers,he absorbs them & creates his own,wholly individual,sound world. And of course,he wasn't just imagining allot of those places;he actually lived in,or visited them.
I suppose some other English compoers did travel. Bax followed some girl to Russia,I believe;but while I can detect the influence of some Russian composers,here & there,the only Russian inspired music I can think of,by Bax,is of a picture postcard nature. Winter Legends is inspired by wild northern landscapes,but it's the response of a fantasist.
Elgar's stunning,'In the South',is another 'fantasy' & all the main English operas I can think of,around the time,are very firmly entrenched in the British Isles. Savitri isn't,but again,it's the product of a very richly stocked imagination.
And then there's Lambert's 'Rio Grande',which is an evocation of sunnier climes;but again,it's just a clever 'picture postcard'!

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 19, 2013, 03:19:16 PM
The wordless choirs in 'Daphnis et Chloe'. That's a good comparison,Johan! ;D It's got that ecstatic quality! :) which is why I brought up the Schreker comparison. Not because,I was  pointing to similarities of orchestration,or the use of wordless choruses. It's that feeling of ecstatic longing,but not in the voluptuous Scrabin-esque sense. This is something more subtle,more universal. I don't find it in many other English composers of the period;if any? Bantock,maybe;here and there;but it's more superficial,with the possible exception of 'Sappho'!

I'm listening to 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' now,by the way! 'Koanga',next! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 06:42:36 PM
Ah yes, A Village Romeo & Juliet. Incredible piece of music. Davies or Mackerras performance, cilgwyn? Have you heard Fennimore & Gerda? This was to be Delius' last opera and I think it's quite good.

I watched the documentary Discovery Delius again tonight and I found it to be rather fragmented. It seemed to jump around a lot, but there were some interesting commentary in the film particularly from Eric Fenby, Julian Lloyd-Webber, and Tasmin Little and it was great seeing Mackerras on the podium.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 10:55:09 PM
Re: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

I re-listened to the Lloyd-Jones performance earlier tonight and it's too damn fast! I mean was it Lloyd-Jones' lunchtime? Did he tell the orchestra members "Let's get this thing over with...I'm starving!" :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 19, 2013, 11:21:52 PM
Let's compare some Cuckoo running times:

Beecham/RPO - 7:04
Handley/LPO - 6:13
Lloyd-Jones/RSNO - 5:52
Mackerras/WNO - 7:00
Barbirolli/Halle - 7:27
Del Mar/Bournemouth - 6:44
Wordsworth/LSO - 7:25

What's curious about the Handley time is it seems to be much slower than it actually is. Compared to Beecham and Mackerras, Handley shaved off a minute from the work. Lloyd-Jones is the fastest time. I wonder how long Delius thought this work should last? He seemed like he was hesitant about discussing his music a lot of the time.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 20, 2013, 09:23:50 AM
It sounds like Lloyd-Jones cuckoo was pretty keen on beating the other cuckoos to the old starting line!
Do you like any of his recordings of Delius,by the way?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 09:46:40 AM
It sounds like Lloyd-Jones cuckoo was pretty keen on beating the other cuckoos to the old starting line!
Do you like any of his recordings of Delius,by the way?

I do like Lloyd-Jones' Delius recordings. Thanks to him we finally were able to hear the early symphonic poem Hiawatha, which received its world premiere under his baton. His Idylle de printemps is fantastic. His Florida Suite was quite good but he doesn't better Handley's, which is still my favorite performance of the work. I have not picked up his Dutton recording of the A Village Romeo & Juliet Suite yet, but I'm thinking about getting it with some of my birthday money.

What do you think about his performances?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 20, 2013, 10:08:32 AM
I must admit I haven't heard them & after the recent expenditure on these Beecham cds,I'm not planning on buying any just yet,I'm afraid! I must admit I wasn't that crazy about his Bax. I'm a Thomson fan,myself. I like the time he takes over Bax. Handley is too 'rushed'. Beecham didn't like Bax,but like Thomson in Bax,he knew how to let Delius's music uncoil with just enough spring in the tail to prevent the listener from becoming bored!
That Hiawatha disc might be worth putting on my 'shopping list'. By the way,the 'Village Romeo & Juliet' I'm listening to is the Mackerras. I remember watching the film on Channel 4,years ago. I was glued to it & I didn't even like Delius then!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 10:23:35 AM
I can't say I'm particularly keen on Bax's music. I do, however, find his chamber works more rewarding than anything else in his large oeuvre.

Re: A Village Romeo & Juliet

I'm more fond of Meredith Davies' performance of this opera. Everything about that performance seems rightfully judged. I need refresh my memory of the Mackerras performance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 20, 2013, 10:37:32 AM
What do you feel about Robert Tear? Some 'critics' seem to have a problem with his singing. I don't always like him,but he can be very good.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 10:45:31 AM
I love the fact that there's still many people who adamantly dislike Delius' music. It makes me feel an even stronger connection to the music because I'm one of the people that does get it. Again, people have preconceived notions of Delius' music and they don't bother to listen. It's one thing to just dislike his music based on the judgement that the music just isn't your cup of tea, but to say you dislike his music without giving his music a chance or time to grow on you or just because it's the "hip" thing to do is just ignorant.

I'm so glad Delius' music spoke to me when I first heard it. He sounded like no other composer and no other composer sounded like him. An incredible master composer and one that may never get his due, but his innovations speak loud and clear.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 20, 2013, 10:49:38 AM
I've bought it! :) The earlier emi issue with the libretto! You only have to look at that cast list,don't you?!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 10:51:08 AM
What do you feel about Robert Tear? Some 'critics' seem to have a problem with his singing. I don't always like him,but he can be very good.

His voice doesn't bother me at all, cilgwyn. He did an excellent job in Davies' A Village Romeo & Juliet performance. F*** the critics! They know nothing!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 11:41:39 AM
I've bought it! :) The earlier emi issue with the libretto! You only have to look at that cast list,don't you?!

Fantastic, cilgwyn! It's an outstanding performance. I'll be curious to know your thoughts of it once you have heard it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 12:11:26 PM
cilgwyn, you said you bought an original of Davies A Village Romeo & Juliet with libretto, where did you find it and could please provide a link if you bought it online. I've been looking into getting an original release myself.

There are two issues that I know about:

I own this one -

(http://o.scdn.co/300/5931db55ea2064727035f2608d4713b7947deff0)

And there's this newer reissue -

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51FQf2DxiqL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 20, 2013, 01:07:56 PM
Uh-oh! ??? ::) It's the earlier emi issue. The one you have. I'm afraid I assumed it included one,as they usually have one in the booklet. The new ones have these groovy,slimline cases,which take up less room;but no libretto. For example,the earlier releases of VW's Hugh the Drover,Pilgrims Progress & Sir John in Love;although the text in the booklet with 'Hugh the Drover' is so small you almost need a magnifying glass. Even the emi release of the Goodall 'Peter Grimes' scenes & abridged Rape of Lucretia has the text included! Mind you,I like the style & design of some of the old emi British composers series. So,it's not just that! And I'm familiar with the Amazon seller. They're usually good!
Isn't there a text with it? Or were you referring to the original Lp set? I threw out some old Lp sets of operas recently. They were ex library sets,allot of them,so I didn't want to leave them at a charity shop. But I kept some of the librettos. One definate plus point with the Lp format. Nice,big,readable booklets;often with lots of nice pictures! :D I just 'dug' them out &I've got the one for the Boult emi Pilgrims Progress set 'right here'.I used to sit there with them spread out on my lap when I was a youngster! Mind you the photos in the cd copy are allot sharper! I also have the booklet for the Lps of Kodaly's 'The Spinning Room'. Lavishly illustrated with big,colour,full page photographs. Wow! (I'd forgotten about that one.Nice music too,if memory serves me correctly!)
If I got hold of the Lp set of the emi Village Romeo & Juliet,I could dispose of the Lps & keep the nice,big booklet! ;D
Anyway,according to Amazon,my order is dispatching soon! :)
Elisabeth Harwood!
John Shirley-Quirk (one of my all time favourites)!
Benjamin Luxon....

What more could a Delius fan want! And I think I am,now!! ;D

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 01:18:16 PM
cilgwyn, the earlier Davies issue does not contain the libretto. The newer reissue contains a CD-ROM that has the libretto I believe. It looks like Davies' A Village Romeo & Juliet has never been released on CD until 2005. A shame really because EMI could have done a good job with the booklet. :( Anyway, it's not a big deal really, at least you own Davies recording in some form. I'm trying to track down Groves' Koanga on CD in its original form. I already own the performance in the 150th Anniversary Edition box set, but I'd like to own an original.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 20, 2013, 04:17:27 PM
This thread ranks among the best I've ever had the pleasure to participate in this online world. Great discussion here.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 04:20:40 PM
This thread ranks among the best I've ever had the pleasure to participate in this online world. Great discussion here.

I think I speak for Johan, myself, cilgwyn, and all the other participants that we're thrilled to have you here, Leo. :) You're amongst brothers here. Us Delians have to stick close together. We're a pretty rare breed here on GMG.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 20, 2013, 04:22:12 PM
Seconded, John!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 04:27:20 PM
Let me also say that it seems that Delius' music has touched you, Leo, and grabbed you in a way that the ones who love his music know all too well. Johan, myself, cilgwyn, etc. may disagree about a performance or whatever, but the most important thing is we love this music. We thirst for it. As I have mentioned, it was love on first listen for me. I never heard a composer like him in my life. At that time, I was already familiar with Ravel, Bartok, among others and then his music just hit me. I really don't know what came over me really. It's hard to explain, but I was completely mesmerized.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 04:31:41 PM
A gem from Delius' later output, A Song of Summer:

After Delius was blinded and crippled by tertiary syphilis in the early '20s, his composing career seemed effectively to have ended. But the arrival of Eric Fenby, a young English man who had fallen in love with Delius' music, re-vitalized Delius, and, with Fenby's help and cooperation, Delius returned to composition. Arguably the best work of Delius' final creative period was A Song of Summer. Based on A Poem of Life and Love that Delius had written in 1918 but never performed or published, the vast and spacious opening of A Song of Summer was dictated by Delius to Fenby, who then interwove themes from the earlier work into the fabric of Delius' invention. The result is Delius purified and refined with themes of heart-quickening beauty and harmonies of opulent voluptuousness scored with supreme sensuousness. Of course, being composed by Delius, A Song of Summer has no rhythm and very little form: the harmonies move at their own ecstatically indolent speed and the form is essentially erotic, featuring a pair of orgasmic climaxes preceded by rising passion and followed by languor.

[Taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 20, 2013, 04:36:58 PM
A Song of Summer is, indeed, a gem. I always get the sense that its climax is the final climax of Delius'music in general. Very moving. As for its putative 'formlessness', I think the structure of this piece is very lucid.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 04:47:29 PM
A Song of Summer is, indeed, a gem. I always get the sense that its climax is the final climax of Delius'music in general. Very moving. As for its putative 'formlessness', I think the structure of this piece is very lucid.

Agreed, Johan. I think people who criticize the work are the same people who just don't get Delius. I've come to this conclusion about most criticism about his music. I just don't understand how people can criticize music that's so inherently beautiful and that's in its own alternate universe. As Anthony Payne points out that there's a certain temperament in Delius' music that only a few truly can warm to and also mentioned that the music changes so rapidly, especially in the mature works, that it's hard to take it all in. He said people who don't enjoy it thinks the music should be going somewhere, there needs to be development, blah, blah, blah, but as I've mentioned earlier in this thread these are the same people that praise someone like Morton Feldman! ::) I never understood some of these blasted, know-it-all critics. The best thing they can do is don't write about Delius. They know nothing about him nor do they show any interest and want to learn about the music. Let people who understand the music and can sympathize with it write the reviews!

Anyway, okay...rant over. :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 20, 2013, 05:06:01 PM
Christopher Palmer in his Delius book said the same thing as Anthony Payne - Delius will never be for the masses. He is an aristocratic poet in sound. Nevertheless, he gets a few essentials of the human predicament (love, loss, Nature in us, we in Nature) musically right as hardly anyone else manages to do in such a beautifully poignant and spell-binding way.
 
 And now to bed!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 20, 2013, 05:10:04 PM
Christopher Palmer in his Delius book said the same thing as Anthony Payne - Delius will never be for the masses. He is an aristocratic poet in sound. Nevertheless, he gets a few essentials of the human predicament (love, loss, Nature in us, we in Nature) musically right as hardly anyone else manages to do in such a beautifully poignant and spell-binding way.
 
 And now to bed!

This is true. I like your term for him "aristocratic poet in sound."
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 21, 2013, 06:52:03 PM
I have Jacksonville, FL in my sights. I'm going to be visiting the Delius House. I'm also hoping to be able to talk to someone about my favorite composer. :) That older man who was in the documentary Composer, Lover, Enigma named Jeff Driggers who lives in Jacksonville would be interesting to meet. He seems to know a good bit about the composer. I would great to talk with him and actually whoever is in charge of the Delius House on the campus of the University of Jacksonville.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 21, 2013, 06:59:53 PM
I WISH I WAS IN JACKSONVILLE IN 2004!!!! CHECK THIS OUT!!!

(http://thompsonian.info/04-delfest-cover.jpg)

(http://thompsonian.info/04-JSO-program-page1.gif)

(http://thompsonian.info/04-JSO-program-page2.gif)

(http://thompsonian.info/04-JSO-program-page3.gif)

Click on images to enlarge.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 21, 2013, 07:37:37 PM
I've been listening to this one tonight:

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_9LDgV0lN__U/TPOb9QbFioI/AAAAAAAABLA/cTJPIjLj08Y/s1600/Delius%2BBeecham.jpg)

Listening to On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. Very good performance. I understand why you like this performance so much, Johan. It does have that sway to it. This particular performance doesn't have the orchestral weightiness of Handley's Chandos performance, but it's certainly a commendable performance and one I'm sure I'll return to again.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 21, 2013, 08:26:19 PM
I've been listening to this one tonight:

(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_9LDgV0lN__U/TPOb9QbFioI/AAAAAAAABLA/cTJPIjLj08Y/s1600/Delius%2BBeecham.jpg)

Listening to On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. Very good performance. I understand why you like this performance so much, Johan. It does have that sway to it. This particular performance doesn't have the orchestral weightiness of Handley's Chandos performance, but it's certainly a commendable performance and one I'm sure I'll return to again.

One of my first Delius recordings, I'm a big fan of Beecham too. It's time to return to Delius this weekend :) Beecham's Sea Drift account :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 21, 2013, 08:33:30 PM
One of my first Delius recordings, I'm a big fan of Beecham too. It's time to return to Delius this weekend :) Beecham's Sea Drift account :)

I'm still getting Beecham's performances under my grasp. I wouldn't say I'm a big fan (yet), but I admire his championship and support of Delius. I stopped this recording so I could read another chapter of Fenby's book Delius As I Knew Him, but I am now resuming this Beecham recording. Listening to Sleigh Ride right now. Nice!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 22, 2013, 02:11:01 AM
 There is one extra reason why I like Beecham's Delius so much, I think - the fact that the recordings are historic gives them that added poignancy, apart from the fact that the way the orchestra sounds is unrepeatable. Those musicians are from Delius' time, or were born when he was old. But they are still part of a world that now is irrevocably gone. I don't think that special Delian magic will ever be so well captured again, because younger generations are simply not in touch anymore with the things that were meaningful to Delius. Whether this is peculiar to Delius or to all great but dead composers is an interesting question. I do think, though, that Delius' uniqueness is bound up with the times he lived through and that such a kind of artist was only then possible.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 22, 2013, 04:49:05 AM
There is one extra reason why I like Beecham's Delius so much, I think - the fact that the recordings are historic gives them that added poignancy, apart from the fact that the way the orchestra sounds is unrepeatable. Those musicians are from Delius' time, or were born when he was old. But they are still part of a world that now is irrevocably gone. I don't think that special Delian magic will ever be so well captured again, because younger generations are simply not in touch anymore with the things that were meaningful to Delius. Whether this is peculiar to Delius or to all great but dead composers is an interesting question. I do think, though, that Delius' uniqueness is bound up with the times he lived through and that such a kind of artist was only then possible.

That is right on my friend, very eloquently put!!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 22, 2013, 04:53:55 AM
I hope so,anyway! ;D The recent emi box set of Beecham conducting English music dropped through the letter box today,along with Tasmin Little & Piers Lane performing the Four Violin Sonatas.
I agree with you. His performances are magical. On cd 6 of the box,'Bantock's Fifine at the Fair (not a favourite of mine) never sounded better,to my ears;even in mono sound. Though,his Columbia recording of Berner's 'The Triumph of Neptune' is more fun. A piece I rather like,even if it isn't terribly deep.
I can't wait to hear his performances of 'Song of the High Hills' & 'A Village Romeo & Juliet'. The dated sound & style of singing doesn't usually bother me. I think it adds to the atmosphere. I recently bought the (historic,not the Schwarz)  Naxos set of Howard Hanson's 'The Merry Mount',and I loved it.
I notice 'Paa Vidderne' is on the set (haven't heard that one)  & some other Beecham recordings I haven't encountered before.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 22, 2013, 06:28:26 AM
Apologies for that last post! ;D It seems a bit perverse posting about cd6 of the Beecham English (emi) box. But,I need more time to absorb the 'main course',the Delius recordings;so I had a listen to the final cd,first. Anyway,I was curious to hear his emi recording of the 'Triumph of Neptune'.
The first two cds of the set are of the stereo recordings. The rest are mono. Judging by various reviews I have seen,there is a little controversy over the transfers.Apparently,they were done by Michael Dutton (according to one review,I read). Some people think his treatment of old recordings is too interventionist. Personally,I prefer the approach of Pearl,or even Symposium,at their best;but the transfers on cd 6 sounded good to my ears & 'Fifine at the Fair',in particular,sounded absolutely marvellous. A less interventionist approach,imho,brings more clarity & the sound seems to 'open out'. Some of Duttons transfers remove all the annoying surface noise & clicks,which on a superficial level,sounds great;but unfortunately,the result is a 'glassy',unnatural sound quality,which I don't like. On the other hand,you can have too many intrusive noises & I think the main issue is one of getting the balance right. I think Dutton goes too far,for my taste. Having said that,cd 6 sounded pretty good to me & the earlier transfers of Beechams mono recordings for emi are,apparently,only available on old Lps! (The Beecham edition cds used these transfers),so,unless I invest in a turntable,information like that is a fat load of use to me!
Either way,cd 6 sounded pretty good to my ears & at around,an amazing,£11,for 6 cds of Beechams Delian alchemy,this is one happy bunny!! :) :) :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 22, 2013, 06:33:31 AM
Sounds a good deal to me, cilgwyn!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 22, 2013, 07:48:42 AM
There is one extra reason why I like Beecham's Delius so much, I think - the fact that the recordings are historic gives them that added poignancy, apart from the fact that the way the orchestra sounds is unrepeatable. Those musicians are from Delius' time, or were born when he was old. But they are still part of a world that now is irrevocably gone. I don't think that special Delian magic will ever be so well captured again, because younger generations are simply not in touch anymore with the things that were meaningful to Delius. Whether this is peculiar to Delius or to all great but dead composers is an interesting question. I do think, though, that Delius' uniqueness is bound up with the times he lived through and that such a kind of artist was only then possible.

I think it's a bit presumptuous of you to assume the younger generations aren't in touch with things that were important to Delius. Any conductor worth their salt that chooses to conduct Delius already has an ear for the music or else they wouldn't be conducting the music in the first place. While Delius' music is out of fashion (besides the time he lived in was it ever in fashion?), he continues to get support from younger listeners. I'm one of them. I'm only 30 years old and I've loved his music instantly. Two other younger people (younger than myself) on this forum that love Delius are Daniel (madaboutmahler) and Ilaria (LisztianWagner). That's three people right there. Imagine if we were to take a tally in England alone? So I'm optimistic for this music's future.

Regarding Beecham, he's not the only conductor that has mattered to Delius' music. He obviously was important in getting him recognition, but with or without Beecham, he is still a one-of-kind composer. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Beecham though no question about it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 22, 2013, 07:51:38 AM
Before anyone gets too excited,it was a bit more than that! :( ;D Actually,£13,78). I mixed it up with the Meredith Davies 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' (earlier emi issue) which was around £11 & currently,still in the post!
My above posts relate to the mono recordings,not the stereo ones;which,incidentally,sound marvellous. The 6 cds,of the Beecham: English music come in one of those nice slim card boxes,so no problems with "sorry you were out" red cards. Of  course,these kind of cases are more subject to wear;but here's to the present,I say! The booklet mentions that Beecham premiered Bax's Fifth.I wish he'd recorded that! Oh,and 'Koanga',of course! Not to mention,Bantock's 'Witch of Atlas',or 'Pagan Symphony,instead of 'Fifine'. But,there we are;we've got to enjoy what we've got! :)

Now,if emi will reissue 'Hassan' & 'Fennimore & Gerda' separately. These multi cds sets can be nice to own;but their recent taste for reissuing recordings in this form is an annoying trend for people who just want a particular recording.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on February 22, 2013, 08:26:24 AM
Quote from: Mirror Image on Today at 16:48:42 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=899.msg699566#msg699566)
I think it's a bit presumptuous of you to assume the younger generations aren't in touch with things that were important to Delius. Any conductor worth their salt that chooses to conduct Delius already has an ear for the music or else they wouldn't be conducting the music in the first place. While Delius' music is out of fashion (besides the time he lived in was it ever in fashion?), he continues to get support from younger listeners. I'm one of them. I'm only 30 years old and I've loved his music instantly. Two other younger people (younger than myself) on this forum that love Delius are Daniel (madaboutmahler) and Ilaria (LisztianWagner). That's three people right there. Imagine if we were to take a tally in England alone? So I'm optimistic for this music's future.

Regarding Beecham, he's not the only conductor that has mattered to Delius' music. He obviously was important in getting him recognition, but with or without Beecham, he is still a one-of-kind composer. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Beecham though no question about it.



I am not judging, I am just observing. I am not talking about understanding the music, I am talking about the world it reflects. The world has changed more in the last 60 years than it did in the few thousand that preceded it. Most people live in cities, the rhythms of nature are not felt to the same extent as they were, light pollution blots out the stars, life has speeded up immeasurably et cetera... That's what I mean when I say Delius' world isn't ours anymore, not even mine (I am a city boy myself, and nature is a memory). I have noticed that conductors like Andrew Davis and Martyn Brabbins (of my own generation) have a much more sober and no-nonsense approach to music. There is a sense of spaciousness, of giving things time, that I notice in older recordings or in recordings by old conductors, which seems to be lost.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 22, 2013, 08:27:49 AM
I think it's a bit presumptuous of you to assume the younger generations aren't in touch with things that were important to Delius. Any conductor worth their salt that chooses to conduct Delius already has an ear for the music or else they wouldn't be conducting the music in the first place. While Delius' music is out of fashion (besides the time he lived in was it ever in fashion?), he continues to get support from younger listeners. I'm one of them. I'm only 30 years old and I've loved his music instantly. Two other younger people (younger than myself) on this forum that love Delius are Daniel (madaboutmahler) and Ilaria (LisztianWagner). That's three people right there. Imagine if we were to take a tally in England alone? So I'm optimistic for this music's future.

Regarding Beecham, he's not the only conductor that has mattered to Delius' music. He obviously was important in getting him recognition, but with or without Beecham, he is still a one-of-kind composer. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Beecham though no question about it.
Interesting points. Johan is probably more qualified to respond to them than me. Of course,Beecham was very wealthy & without his recordings it is possible that Delius might have dwindled away into the byways of musical history like Bantock,Scott & Holbrooke. You only have to think of all the recordings of Delius made during the first few decades of the last century. Without Beecham's efforts there wouldn't have been many recordings of Delius,let alone,major works like 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' or  the 'Mass Of Life'. Without these recordings & Beecham's advocacy the picture might well have been very different. In fact, I can't think of a similar case where a conductor has done so much in the way of promoting the cause of one single composer;although there may be others.
Having said that,there is no doubt in my mind that Delius's music has a universal appeal,range & depth which Bantock,Holbrooke & Scott,do not possess. Beecham,the man,has gone,but his recordings will live on & inspire a new generation of listeners and conductors.


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 22, 2013, 10:20:10 AM
I'm listening to the first cd of the mono recordings,now (Beecham Engish Music emi 6cds). They sound very clear to me. I have no problems with these transfers,personally. I can imagine Pearl would do something like this differently;but I'm very pleased with what I'm hearing. No 'glassy',or muffled/boxy quality to this;although I haven't heard all three of the mono Delius cds,yet.
The transfers sound pretty good to me,anyway! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 22, 2013, 10:34:52 AM
Ever heard someone say “you are too young to do this” or “your too old to do that”. Now, if age is considered a factor used to separate old and young generation, in that case, I am between both generations; which gives me the privilege to witness and examine both sides to a limited extent. Although, written letters and meetings are now substituted with texting and emailing, things are not always what they seem. That’s a debate many are facing now a days.  The younger generation brings questions, challenges and sparks change for the future. We are never too young or too old to do anything we really love or have passion for, no matter what that may be, as long as we are willing to handle the responsibilities that may come our way as a result.  Whereas the old generation sets limits and breaks, provides wisdom and experience. In relation to my knowledge, what I believe really justifies and individual to fit either or category is the way they communicate and contribute to the world. In fact, communication and contributions are the fastest ways to differentiate the two generations.

Been listening again to Sea Drift this morning, Beecham again. To begin, what a treat to listen to the marvelous setting that Delius composed for Whitman's eloquent poetry: "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking." Sea Drift has perfect organic growth moving forward to its end, suggesting and underlining the moods and ideas of the poem with rare understanding and subtlety. The actual writing of the vocal parts is indeed masterly, for each is calculated with unerring judgment, so that one might say that Delius has "scored" for his vocal forces much in the same way as he has scored for the orchestra. And how the music projects its magic from beginning to end! In the music of Sea Drift an impressionistic technique is employed with beautiful and moving effect.

Philip Heseltine said, "It is impossible without quoting the whole poem to give an adequate impression of the wide range of its emotion and the way in which the passion of the words and music rises and falls with a perfection of poise and cadence that seems to echo the very sound of the sea itself, uniting the story and its setting in a single vision that grips the imagination with an almost uncanny tenacity. In this music we seem to hear the very quintessence of all the sorrow and unrest that man can feel because of love. It is the veritable drama of love and death, an image of the mystery of separation."
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 22, 2013, 06:42:07 PM
Interesting points. Johan is probably more qualified to respond to them than me. Of course,Beecham was very wealthy & without his recordings it is possible that Delius might have dwindled away into the byways of musical history like Bantock,Scott & Holbrooke. You only have to think of all the recordings of Delius made during the first few decades of the last century. Without Beecham's efforts there wouldn't have been many recordings of Delius,let alone,major works like 'A Village Romeo & Juliet' or  the 'Mass Of Life'. Without these recordings & Beecham's advocacy the picture might well have been very different. In fact, I can't think of a similar case where a conductor has done so much in the way of promoting the cause of one single composer;although there may be others.
Having said that,there is no doubt in my mind that Delius's music has a universal appeal,range & depth which Bantock,Holbrooke & Scott,do not possess. Beecham,the man,has gone,but his recordings will live on & inspire a new generation of listeners and conductors.

Delius was writing interesting music long before he met Beecham. Delius already had an established style. What Beecham did, as the new documentary points out so eloquently, was he took the scores and made them 'orchestra friendly' so to speak, which was a tremendous undertaking and for this alone, I applaud his efforts because Delius was quite vague in what he wanted the orchestra to do in terms of tempi, note accents, and so on. But who carried the torch after Beecham's death? That would be Barbirolli. Regardless of what people say about him, I think he was a fine Delian and one that acted as a bridge to the younger generation conductors. Why must people continue to measure every Delius performance by what Beecham did? Why can't people listen to say an Andrew Davis performance without measuring it against that Beecham yardstick? I say it's high time we give credit to those conductors who knew conducting Delius' music wasn't going to win them any awards, but for the love of the music, they did it anyway. I admire this and this point is really where I'm getting at with my whole "Beecham argument."
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 22, 2013, 06:44:43 PM
Well said, Leo and some good points you made there.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 23, 2013, 07:27:14 AM
Finished up A Village Romeo & Juliet (Davies/RPO) yet again. What a glorious work! Full of mesmerizing melodies, harmonies, and rhythms.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 23, 2013, 07:20:26 PM
Revisiting Koanga. Brilliant opera. Groves does wonders with this work.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on February 24, 2013, 06:48:48 AM
John, it sounds like I'm missing a lot by not experiencing Delius' operas (yet). I will have to look into that!  8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2013, 07:02:53 AM
John, it sounds like I'm missing a lot by not experiencing Delius' operas (yet). I will have to look into that!  8)

Delius' operas are fantastic, Leo! Checkout A Village Romeo & Juliet first. You can buy this opera very cheaply now that it's been reissued by EMI.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2013, 07:59:20 PM
I've been revisiting Koanga tonight, so in light of this here's yet another write-up:

Cecil Gray, who knew Delius well, accounted for his unique style as originating in "a kind of ecstatic revelation...The occasion was one summer night, when he was sitting out on the verandah of his house on his orange grove in Florida, and the sound came to him from the distance of the voices of the Negroes in the plantation, singing in chorus. It is the rapture of this moment that Delius is seeking to communicate in all his characteristic work...." The year was 1884: Delius was 22. Though the Negro influence was immediately palpable, most notably in the Florida Suite (1887), it would require a dozen or more years, the learning and un-learning of traditional technique, and the jostling of several other "revelations" -- Wagner, Grieg, the Norwegian alps, Nietzsche -- before their amalgamation in the mature works issuing around the turn of the century (e.g., A Village Romeo and Juliet [1900-1901]). On the way would come three ambitious operas. Irmelin (1890-1892) and The Magic Fountain (1893-1895), though they contain ravishing moments, are saddled with poor librettos and a yeasty musical mix. The same is true of Koanga, which took shape between 1895 and 1897, though the raw passion and eighteenth century Louisiana setting engaged his feelings in a more potent way. Based loosely on a two-chapter interlude, "The Story of Bras-Coupé" from George Washington Cable's novel The Grandissimes (1880), Delius composed with improvisational abandon. To his friend Jutta Bell, he wrote on February 25, 1896, "I send you today my libretto of Bras-Coupé -- I wrote the music and the words at the same time." Of the music he was more certain -- "I am getting all the Southern flavor...keeping the whole in the character of negro [sic] melody." Indeed, the score represents a piquant mix of Wagner and Black minstrelsy -- replete with banjo -- featuring an extended scene in Act Two based upon the Creole dance" La Calinda," from the Florida Suite. When Bell declined to doctor his haphazard libretto, Delius enlisted the help of Charles F. Keary, a numismatist and litterateur, without improving its stilted diction and labored dramaturgy. He completed the score in Bohemian Paris, in the company of Münch and Strindberg, among others, while making the acquaintance of Jelka Rosen, the young painter whom he would marry in 1903. Koanga received its premiere at Elberfeld on March 30, 1904, under Fritz Cassirer, achieving three performances. It was not revived until 1935 when Beecham presented it at Covent Garden.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 24, 2013, 09:06:30 PM
A few Delius innovations:

1. Used the first wordless chorus --- (1897's Koanga which predates Debussy's Nocturnes by two years)
2. Wrote the first African-American opera, Koanga (1887 -- predates Gershwin's Porgy & Bess by thirty something years)
3. Used blues and Negro spiritual music in a classical context (Florida Suite, 1887) for the first time.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 25, 2013, 09:30:08 AM
With a bit of luck I have now secured a s/h copy of the emi release of 'Fennimore & Gerda in "very good condition" for a reasonably low price! :) :) :)

I like your list of Delius 'innovations',MI! 'Koanga' really did 'knock me sideways'! I like Delius;but knowing his operas from only 'A Village Romeo & Juliet',I just didn't expect anything as innovative & ahead of it's time. Okay,there's no 'Sportin' Life' & 'hit tunes',but I remember listening to the recording while I was working (on cordless headphones) and every now and again thinking I was listening to Porgy & Bess,and then realising my mistake. What a marvellous opera & a wonderful performance.
Incidentally,I prefer a less operatic treatments of Porgy & Bess,myself!.My personal favorites are the Houston Grand Opera recording on RCA & the 1951 Lehman Engel recording on Sony. Okay,it's got cuts & it's a little un-pc,but it compensates with loads of atmosphere! Oh,and the 'Masterworks Heritage' edition is beautifully produced! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 25, 2013, 08:49:15 PM
Excellent, cilgwyn. I own the Richard Hickox recording on Chandos (excellent performance), but I own the Davies as well which I haven't heard yet. I'm about to remedy that! Koanga really is an outstanding opera.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 26, 2013, 04:50:39 AM
You've got to keep looking,haven't you? I don't want to pay too much to a seller. My nightmare is paying over the odds for a s/h copy of a cd & then finding it's being reissued next month!! :( ;D I've only got the Handley Hassan to go,really;although I wouldn't mind the Beecham edition 'Mass of Life' for the old library! Having said that,I listened to Beecham's own recording of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet',the other day. The sound quality is quite amazing in the Beecham: English music,box set.Although,maybe they do go ott with the noise filtration (I prefer the Pearl approach!). That aside,I have to say,that is the first time I haven't really enjoyed this wonderful opera. The soloists are very much of their time & if they are really good I can usually handle that. But Beecham's soloists are a bit earthbound to say the least,imho,and it really doesn't help that the children sound older than me! ??? ;D Still,Beechams conductings is very committed & it IS undoubtedly an interesting document. Comparisons with the 1934 premiere performance of Howard Hansons 'The Merry Mount' on Naxos don't help. I like Hanson,but while A Village Romeo & Juliet is undoubtedly the finer opera;the Naxos 'Merry Mount' has the great Lawrence Tibbett in the cast. The kind of singer who could make the telephone book sound good! Therefore,my problem isn't really with the age of the Beecham recording,or the style of singing. I'm just not too crazy about the singers he used. I have the Pearl issue of the abridged 1924 recording of VW's 'Hugh the Drover' & while the sound quality is obviously inferior,the soloists are all very listenable. In fact,if you can stomach the limitations of pre-electrical recording technology,it is obviously a very passionate & committed performance,with top notch soloists & I enjoyed it very much. I only wish they had been allowed to record the entire score,or had the benefit of modern recording technology! ;D They certainly deserved it! Conversely,Beechams recording of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet',enjoys the benefit of mono (! ;D) electrical recording,but the soloists sound old,worn & a bit wobbly!

Regarding the Meredith-Davies recording. I have listened to this now & while the Mackerras recording is undoubtedly a stellar performance;I do think that the earlier recording has the edge. The Mackerras performance is ravishingly beautiful & has superior sound quality;but the Meredith-Davies performance has more of that vital component,passion! And the 'dream' sequence with the organ & the church choir is quite stunning! It is superbly realised. Marvellous stuff!
As to Robert Tear. I have seen some moans about his singing (the old Penguin guide describes him as 'dry voiced'). Well,he sounded pretty good to me,that's all I can say! :) Maybe some of those grumpy old critics should invest in a bottle of ear drops?!!
To sum up; wonderful,vintage emi performance with a stellar cast. What more could a discerning,Delian want?!!! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2013, 08:08:55 AM
You've got to keep looking,haven't you? I don't want to pay too much to a seller. My nightmare is paying over the odds for a s/h copy of a cd & then finding it's being reissued next month!! :( ;D I've only got the Handley Hassan to go,really;although I wouldn't mind the Beecham edition 'Mass of Life' for the old library! Having said that,I listened to Beecham's own recording of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet',the other day. The sound quality is quite amazing in the Beecham: English music,box set.Although,maybe they do go ott with the noise filtration (I prefer the Pearl approach!). That aside,I have to say,that is the first time I haven't really enjoyed this wonderful opera. The soloists are very much of their time & if they are really good I can usually handle that. But Beecham's soloists are a bit earthbound to say the least,imho,and it really doesn't help that the children sound older than me! ??? ;D Still,Beechams conductings is very committed & it IS undoubtedly an interesting document. Comparisons with the 1934 premiere performance of Howard Hansons 'The Merry Mount' on Naxos don't help. I like Hanson,but while A Village Romeo & Juliet is undoubtedly the finer opera;the Naxos 'Merry Mount' has the great Lawrence Tibbett in the cast. The kind of singer who could make the telephone book sound good! Therefore,my problem isn't really with the age of the Beecham recording,or the style of singing. I'm just not too crazy about the singers he used. I have the Pearl issue of the abridged 1924 recording of VW's 'Hugh the Drover' & while the sound quality is obviously inferior,the soloists are all very listenable. In fact,if you can stomach the limitations of pre-electrical recording technology,it is obviously a very passionate & committed performance,with top notch soloists & I enjoyed it very much. I only wish they had been allowed to record the entire score,or had the benefit of modern recording technology! ;D They certainly deserved it! Conversely,Beechams recording of 'A Village Romeo & Juliet',enjoys the benefit of mono (! ;D) electrical recording,but the soloists sound old,worn & a bit wobbly!

Regarding the Meredith-Davies recording. I have listened to this now & while the Mackerras recording is undoubtedly a stellar performance;I do think that the earlier recording has the edge. The Mackerras performance is ravishingly beautiful & has superior sound quality;but the Meredith-Davies performance has more of that vital component,passion! And the 'dream' sequence with the organ & the church choir is quite stunning! It is superbly realised. Marvellous stuff!

As to Robert Tear. I have seen some moans about his singing (the old Penguin guide describes him as 'dry voiced'). Well,he sounded pretty good to me,that's all I can say! :) Maybe some of those grumpy old critics should invest in a bottle of ear drops?!!
To sum up; wonderful,vintage emi performance with a stellar cast. What more could a discerning,Delian want?!!! :)

Yes! Davies' A Village Romeo & Juliet is outstanding. It's so passionate and he paces everything perfectly. It makes me wish that he had conducted more of Delius' music because he was a natural. The Mackerras, as you said, is good performance, but there's an urgency in Davies that I find more appealing. All of the soloists were fine to my ears even Tear. It's quite alright if critics blast Tear, I could careless. I think he sounded good and he didn't distract in any way. It's only when a soloist distracts me from the music that I have a problem.

Let me know your impressions of Fennimore & Gerda once you listen to it. I think you'll enjoy it as well. It's Delius' last opera.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2013, 11:45:07 AM
Revisiting Handley's Hassan performance. What a fantastic work. I wished Mackerras or Hickox recorded the whole work like Handley did. It would be interesting to compare/contrast the performances. Handley's, in my estimate, is incredibly fine. Everything seems to be well-judged in regards to tempi and musical phrasing. The most well-known pieces from Hassan are the Serenade and the Interlude between Scenes 1 and 2.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: sheffmark on February 26, 2013, 02:17:27 PM
Hi all!
I was thinking of branching out in my classical music composers, and i was wondering if Delius is a good composer to get into.
I've heard one or two bits of his and they were gorgeous.
Is his music easy to get into?
Are there any pieces i could try first?
I did see this on amazon and it looks great for the price but its a complete Boxset and i don't want to waste money if i only like a few pieces.
Here is what i was looking at.......
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51QH6KHLgiL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Any advice would be welcome!
Thanks all! ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2013, 02:33:32 PM
Hi all!
I was thinking of branching out in my classical music composers, and i was wondering if Delius is a good composer to get into.
I've heard one or two bits of his and they were gorgeous.
Is his music easy to get into?
Are there any pieces i could try first?
I did see this on amazon and it looks great for the price but its a complete Boxset and i don't want to waste money if i only like a few pieces.
Here is what i was looking at.......
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51QH6KHLgiL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Any advice would be welcome!
Thanks all! ;)

Welcome, sheffmark! Boy, I just don't know where to start with your questions as so many answers have popped into my head...

You liked Delius' music when you first listened to it, so this means that you're open and are available to receive it, which is a fantastic start let me add. Let me try answering your questions now:

Quote
Is his music easy to get into?

Not for me it wasn't, but it did take time to come to appreciate. One of the first things you have to when listening to Delius is shut your mind off of any negative opinions you heard about the composer, because, quite frankly, most of them are rubbish. A lot of the naysayers will say the music meanders and that the music is boring and this is certainly their right to express these opinions. I'm here to tell you that I don't find his music boring or meandering at all, in fact, his music is some of the most aurally mesmerizing and exciting I know. There are many moments in his music it becomes absolutely ecstatic with overjoy and enthusiasm. This music is full of life and passion. But, on the surface, it may appear there are roses, but there are thorns underneath the roses. There is always a haunting lyricism to the music. It pulls you in doesn't let go until the work subsides. The fact that you liked two works already tells me you are ready for his music, but bear in mind that his music is not 'easy listening.' It requires patience and understanding on the part of the listener. People say "Oh that's beautiful," but there's much more to the music than this of course. The complexity of his music comes from his completely individual approach to harmony. There is a good bit of chromaticism in the music, especially in the later works, but the way the music is presented and colored, the listener hardly notices this unique characteristic of the music.

Okay next question...

Quote
Are there any pieces i could try first?

Definitely give The Walk to the Paradise Garden, Brigg Fair, or On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring a listen. If you like these works, then try Florida Suite or North Country Sketches next. Once you get a feel of his treatment of the orchestra, then give some vocal/choral works a try like Songs of Farewell or Sea Drift. These will hopefully wet your appetite.

That 150th Anniversary Edition box set on EMI is an outstanding bargain and definitely worth acquiring, but my opinion may be a little biased. ;) :D

Hope you enjoy the music!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on February 26, 2013, 05:29:38 PM
And,hopefully Fennimore & Gerda will drop through the letterbox this morning!  :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2013, 05:35:16 PM
And,hopefully Fennimore & Gerda will drop through the letterbox this morning!  :)

You should enjoy it, cilgwyn. I wouldn't rate it as highly as Koanga or A Village Romeo & Juliet but I still feel it's an important work in his oeuvre. I listened to the Davies performance earlier and enjoyed it.

I hope Johan can give this newer listener some pointers in Delius as well. Would you like to respond to their questions too, cilgwyn? I feel a newcomer to Delius needs all the support we can give them!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2013, 05:38:26 PM
I also believe Daniel (Madaboutmahler) will be a Delian once he hears a lot of the performances from the 150th Anniversary Edition set which he will get for his birthday from his parents. 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 26, 2013, 06:33:23 PM
Re: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

I'm finding that anything over seven minutes is just too slow for me. Beecham, Barbirolli, Wordsworth, and Hughes all have Cuckoos either seven minutes or over. Around six minutes is just right for me which is why Handley's on Chandos still reigns supreme for me.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 08:56:39 AM
Forgot to post this here:

Still finding ways to get more purchases and I found one: earlier today I was looking through some old sales cards and such and I ran across an Amazon gift card for $20 that I haven't even used yet (!!!), so here's what I bought:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B004SGYI6Y.01.L.jpg)

Very excited to receive this recording as it contains the world premiere performance of Poem of Life and Love which some material would later be reworked into A Song of Summer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: sheffmark on February 27, 2013, 09:58:58 AM
Welcome, sheffmark! Boy, I just don't know where to start with your questions as so many answers have popped into my head...

You liked Delius' music when you first listened to it, so this means that you're open and are available to receive it, which is a fantastic start let me add. Let me try answering your questions now:

Not for me it wasn't, but it did take time to come to appreciate. One of the first things you have to when listening to Delius is shut your mind off of any negative opinions you heard about the composer, because, quite frankly, most of them are rubbish. A lot of the naysayers will say the music meanders and that the music is boring and this is certainly their right to express these opinions. I'm here to tell you that I don't find his music boring or meandering at all, in fact, his music is some of the most aurally mesmerizing and exciting I know. There are many moments in his music it becomes absolutely ecstatic with overjoy and enthusiasm. This music is full of life and passion. But, on the surface, it may appear there are roses, but there are thorns underneath the roses. There is always a haunting lyricism to the music. It pulls you in doesn't let go until the work subsides. The fact that you liked two works already tells me you are ready for his music, but bear in mind that his music is not 'easy listening.' It requires patience and understanding on the part of the listener. People say "Oh that's beautiful," but there's much more to the music than this of course. The complexity of his music comes from his completely individual approach to harmony. There is a good bit of chromaticism in the music, especially in the later works, but the way the music is presented and colored, the listener hardly notices this unique characteristic of the music.

Okay next question...

Definitely give The Walk to the Paradise Garden, Brigg Fair, or On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring a listen. If you like these works, then try Florida Suite or North Country Sketches next. Once you get a feel of his treatment of the orchestra, then give some vocal/choral works a try like Songs of Farewell or Sea Drift. These will hopefully wet your appetite.

That 150th Anniversary Edition box set on EMI is an outstanding bargain and definitely worth acquiring, but my opinion may be a little biased. ;) :D

Hope you enjoy the music!
Thank-you for your reply Mirror Image!
I'll check out your recommendations too!
I think i'll take a look in my local music store tonight! ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 11:50:43 AM
Thank-you for your reply Mirror Image!
I'll check out your recommendations too!
I think i'll take a look in my local music store tonight! ;)

You're welcome, sheffmark. Please let us know if you find anything and report back here at your leisure.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: sheffmark on February 27, 2013, 01:50:35 PM
You're welcome, sheffmark. Please let us know if you find anything and report back here at your leisure.
I sure will Mirror Image!
Thanks alot for your help! ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: sheffmark on February 27, 2013, 02:19:23 PM
This is hopefully my next purchase!
It seems highly thought of!

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/goodmusic/DelMack.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 02:19:34 PM
I sure will Mirror Image!
Thanks alot for your help! ;)

My pleasure!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 02:34:46 PM
This is hopefully my next purchase!
It seems highly thought of!

(http://photos.imageevent.com/sgtrock/goodmusic/DelMack.jpg)

Ha! Interestingly enough this was the first Delius recording I bought. These remain special performances for me as Mackerras really opened up my ears to this music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: sheffmark on February 27, 2013, 02:46:35 PM
Well, that recommendation is good enough for me Mirror Image!
I'll definitely be buying it!
Thanks Mirror Image! ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 03:05:14 PM
Well, that recommendation is good enough for me Mirror Image!
I'll definitely be buying it!
Thanks Mirror Image! ;)

You're welcome! Please tell us your impressions of the music once you hear some of it. Enjoy!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 05:32:04 PM
Posted this in the purchases thread just moments ago:

I had some money left over from my Amazon gift card from my last purchase and so I bought this set in used, like new condition even though I already own this performance in the Decca Delius Edition. It will be nice to own the full box set with the complete libretto:

(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/DELIUS-A-VILLAGE-ROMEO-AND-JULIET-1990-ORF-Symphony-Orch-Sir-Charles-Mackerras-/00/s/NzY4WDEwMjQ=/$(KGrHqV,!oUE8VqItkp3BPRhrb2OIw~~60_35.JPG)

Couldn't find any other picture.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 06:57:14 PM
Another Delius innovation: in the work American Rhapsody (composed in 1896 and whose material was later reworked and expanded into Appalachia) he used American folksongs like Yankie Doodle and actually had marching band pieces collide with each other which predated Charles Ives.

Again, I'm always awestruck by how clueless musical scholars and critics truly are when it comes to Delius. They can dislike the music all they want but to deny his innovations is just total ignorance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 27, 2013, 07:39:41 PM
So let's recap some of Delius' innovations in music:

1. Used the first wordless chorus --- (1897's Koanga which predates Debussy's Nocturnes by two years)
2. Wrote the first African-American opera, Koanga (1887 -- predates Gershwin's Porgy & Bess by thirty something years)
3. Used blues and Negro spiritual music in a classical context (Florida Suite, 1887) for the first time, which again predates Gershwin
4. Used American folksongs (Yankie Doodle) and other marching band tunes and collided these together creating an unheard kind of dissonance which predated Charles Ives (American Rhapsody 1896 later reworked as Appalachia)

The reason why none of these innovations have been acknowledged by scholars and critics is because of politics, which, unfortunately, still exist in classical music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2013, 07:50:16 AM
Those interested in examining Delius' oeuvre check this out:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Frederick_Delius
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 01, 2013, 06:54:31 PM
Just bought the June 2012 issue of BBC Music Magazine which has a special article on Delius plus a bonus CD with (hopefully) performances I don't already own:

(http://graphic-server.com/cgi-bin/jpg.cgi?full/BBCM201206.JPG)

Edit:

Yes! I don't own any of the performances on the BBC CD that comes with the June 2012 issue. Here's the PDF for it:

http://content.bbcmagazinesbristol.com/bbcmusic/Inlays/MUS_245_Inlay.pdf
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 02, 2013, 06:54:50 PM
I've been listening to this recording with Lloyd-Jones:



Really fantastic so far. Lloyd-Jones really catches some fire in Life's Dance. This recording is making a nice compliment to his already substantial Delius discography.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2013, 09:03:37 AM
I was playing Life's Dance (Lloyd-Jones/RSNO performance) last night on the stereo and my Dad came in my room and said "Delius! I love this composer!" This from a hardcore Mahler-head. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2013, 09:08:27 AM
Also, a special note I want to make about my Dad: I wasn't aware that he knew Delius' Life's Dance, I do know that he knew, and liked, Florida Suite, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, In A Summer Garden, among others, but for him to recognize Life's Dance was quite impressive and shows that, he too, likes this composer a lot. Life is full of surprises.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 04, 2013, 09:11:53 AM
You two could organize your own small Delius Festival at home (and presumably drive your mother mad).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2013, 09:14:35 AM
You two could organize your own small Delius Festival at home (and presumably drive your mother mad).

My Mom likes Delius actually, Johan. :) A Delius Festival at home? That's not a bad idea at all. Sounds like a good idea when I go on vacation next week.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 04, 2013, 09:16:49 AM
And I was thinking of you as that lonely Delian...  ???
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2013, 09:21:31 AM
And I was thinking of you as that lonely Delian...  ???

Oh....well I am in a sense. I don't think my Dad listens to Delius as much as I do. My Mom doesn't listen to classical music much but does enjoy it on occasion (she's into rock and bluegrass music).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 04, 2013, 09:26:44 AM
When I played Wagner in my parental home, decades ago, my mother always asked me (not maliciously) if they were sawing a woman in half (Brünnhilde was singing)...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2013, 09:29:38 AM
When I played Wagner in my parental home, decades ago, my mother always asked me (not maliciously) if they were sawing a woman in half (Brünnhilde was singing)...

:P

I played my Mom Stravinsky's Le sacre du printemps a year or so ago and she was quite shocked, in a good way, by what she heard. I told her that this is the rock music of that time. :D Since then, she's requested I play her more of Stravinsky's music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2013, 11:17:52 AM
Hey Johan,

Do you own this recording?

(https://media-awal-com.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/packshots/330/45f6941b4e8d758f0370/21604.jpg)

Here are the contents of the recording:

(http://thompsonian.info/Hiawatha-CD-track-list.JPG)

If you do not own this, then run, don't walk, over to Amazon (or whatever online retailer you use) and buy this immediately! A true treasure in the Delius catalog.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 04, 2013, 11:32:13 AM
Nope. I do have the other one with Life's Dance and the Suite from 'A Village Romeo and Juliet'. I won't run, but I will go...  ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2013, 11:35:20 AM
Nope. I do have the other one with Life's Dance and the Suite from 'A Village Romeo and Juliet'. I won't run, but I will go...  ;)

Yes, you will love this recording I think, Johan. It contains a unique arrangement of the Double Concerto for viola and violin which sounds quite nice. Hiawatha, of course, is the rarity here. There's some fascinating information in the liner notes of how this work came into prominence. If you decide to buy it, then I hope you enjoy it! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 04, 2013, 04:42:55 PM
I wonder how Leo K. is getting on with Delius?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 05, 2013, 10:16:20 AM
It's always a good thing for me to see someone else getting into Delius' music. Huntsman may your journey bring you much aural pleasure. Also, please feel free to comment and post your thoughts on the music as you become better acquainted with it.
Title: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on March 05, 2013, 01:09:10 PM
I wonder how Leo K. is getting on with Delius?

Hi John! It's been awhile since posting, thanks for asking :)

I've been back to Bruckner and Brahms this week, enjoying new broadcasts I received :)

I will be back with Delius soon though, this morning I played a bit of Sea Drifts and really enjoyed it once again, the Beecham account.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 05, 2013, 10:23:55 PM
I've got to say that I've really been enjoying Bo Holten's Delius series on Danacord. Does anyone else own this series? Am I the only Delian on GMG who owns almost every Delius recording? ;) :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 06, 2013, 01:34:27 AM
You are...  :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 06, 2013, 07:46:46 AM
You are...  :)

 :P
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 06, 2013, 02:28:29 PM

I will be back with Delius soon though, this morning I played a bit of Sea Drifts and really enjoyed it once again, the Beecham account.

Excellent, Leo. I'll be happy to hear of your return to the music. Speaking of Sea Drift, I listened to a performance that wasn't issued commercially earlier with Thomas Hampson and Richard Hickox/National Orchestra of Wales that was absolutely fantastic.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 06, 2013, 06:49:37 PM
I've been seriously enjoy this recording today:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51f8v71ok9L._SL500_SS500_.jpg)

This Norman Del Mar recording might end up surpassing Handley's as my favorite performances of the Two Pieces for Small Orchestra. No kidding. This is an absolute gem of a recording. Top-notch audio quality as well.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 06, 2013, 09:06:42 PM
(http://www.delius.org.uk/images/news270412.jpg)

I've been enjoying this recording except for the horrible mono recording of the Piano Concerto. This performance of Sea Drift rivals Hickox's own with Terfel on Chandos. I find this performance with Hampson to be more urgent that reminds me a bit of Mackerras' performance (also with Hampson). Unfortunately fellow Delians you cannot purchase this recording unless you can find someone selling it on Amazon or Ebay as this wasn't a commercial release. The other performance is of the rare Poem of Life and Love which Handley completely nails. I'll have to do a comparison with the Lloyd-Jones performance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 07, 2013, 06:44:55 PM
(http://www.delius.org.uk/images/news270412.jpg)

Listened to this recording yet again. This is so fantastic. Again, Sea Drift is performed with such authority. Hickox and Hampson both show their Delian credentials. Handley's performance of A Poem of Life and Love receives a top-notch performance. Both of these performances have such enthusiasm and urgency to them.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 08, 2013, 10:33:35 PM
Has anyone heard Andrew Davis' new(er) recording of Appalachia and The Song of the High Hills? Man, this is a GREAT recording! Both works recall the urgency of the great Delians of the past: Del Mar, Mackerras, Groves, Davies, etc. Johan, cilgwyn if you don't own this one, then buy it as soon as you can!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 09, 2013, 08:50:49 PM
Another masterly Delian miniature: Irmelin Prelude:

Based on themes from Delius' 1892 opera, Irmelin, this prelude is actually a freestanding orchestral piece, not an introduction to the stage work. Delius dictated it in 1931 to his amanuensis, Eric Fenby, and it was first performed when Sir Thomas Beecham used it as an interlude in a 1935 production of another early Delius opera, Koanga.

The prelude begins with a small, rising motif with a little fall at the end, whispered by individual woodwinds and passed to the strings. (The woodwinds, indeed, play a central role through this piece.) The themes are wispy and fragmentary; the second and third main sections contain pastoral melodies that seem more extended, but they merely rely on gently repeated small gestures. The opening theme returns in a string duet, seeming especially nostalgic and nocturnal, and the prelude ends with the clarinet crooning the melody on a soft bed of strings.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 10, 2013, 01:47:12 PM
And it seems GMG's own Daniel (Madaboutmahler) will be embarking on his Delian journey soon. Smart move asking for the 18-CD EMI 150th Anniversary set. A treasure trove of great, and rare, performances.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: madaboutmahler on March 10, 2013, 02:09:24 PM
And it seems GMG's own Daniel (Madaboutmahler) will be embarking on his Delian journey soon. Smart move asking for the 18-CD EMI 150th Anniversary set. A treasure trove of great, and rare, performances.

I will be indeed, and am very excited to!! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 11, 2013, 06:51:42 AM
Listened to Del Mar's recording of Delius 'miniatures' last night and what exquisite performances these are.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 11, 2013, 08:23:35 AM
Not sure if I posted about Requiem yet, but here's a write-up:

Fenby thought Delius' Requiem "the most depressing choral work I know." Begun in September 1913 after a Norwegian holiday, it grew in response to the Great War and was dedicated, at its conclusion in 1916, "To the memory of all young Artists fallen in the war." Like the Mass of Life, it suggests a religious work which its text emphatically discountenances. Delius was an atheist, and his Requiem -- which he referred to as his "Pagan Requiem" -- hymns the nullity of death, life's fleeting beauties, and offers in consolation a vision of returning springtime. But where the Mass of Life sets the most magically evocative pages of Nietzsche's Also sprach Zarathustra, the Requiem's text, the work of Delius' friend Heinrich Simon, editor of the Frankfurter Zeitung, is hortatory, hectoring, and doctrinaire in tone. Delius' initial impulse, and what he extracted from Simon, was nothing less than sober -- indeed, heavy-handed -- satire on religion. The first movement opens with the chorus intoning, "Our days here are as one day, for all our days are rounded in a sleep, they die and ne'er come back again," to which the baritone demands, "Why then dissemble we with a tale of falsehoods?" Remarkably, Delius matches this with music of somber grandeur laced with elegiac piquancy. The development of the thought is interrupted by cacophonous choral shouts of "Hallelujah" and "La il Allah" whose import is made explicit by the baritone's "And the highways of earth are full of cries, the ways of the earth bring forth Gods and idols." Delius' initial intention to parody religious music is revealed in a letter of October 10, 1913, to Ernest Newman -- "If you had to characterise the four principal religions in music -- which religious melodies used in the several religious ceremonies would you choose?" In the upshot, the notion was discarded, probably for the best. The third movement celebrates the power of love, the fourth lauds the "the man who can love life, yet without base fear can die," and the last -- one of the most musically visionary Delius ever penned -- evokes springtime's eternal renewal. By 1981, in an appendix to Delius as I Knew Him, Fenby allowed, "This musical expression, in the Requiem, of Delius' courageous attitude to life in rejecting organized faiths may well be rated by future generations as second only to the Danish Arabesque as one of his most characteristic and commendable masterpieces." Albert Coates conducted the Requiem's premiere at Queen's Hall, London, on March 23, 1922.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on March 11, 2013, 09:22:49 AM
The Requiem is one of my favourite pieces. Meredith Davies is unsurpassed here in my opinion (better than both Hickox and Groves). I think Delius had a religion - Life. And his celebration of Life is in my view very positive.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 11, 2013, 09:28:52 AM
The Requiem is one of my favourite pieces. Meredith Davies is unsurpassed here in my opinion (better than both Hickox and Groves). I think Delius had a religion - Life. And his celebration of Life is in my view very positive.

Delius' full on embrace and love of life is what gave his music such a unique sound. I'll have to whip out Davies and listen to it. I remember the performance being excellent, but Davies was great in Delius anyway. His A Village Romeo & Juliet is still my top pick due to its urgency and more immediate sonics.

You will have to listen to A Village Romeo & Juliet as soon as possible, Johan. By the way, I'm sure if I asked you, but have you heard Koanga?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 11, 2013, 09:36:28 AM
I'm listening to Barbirolli's Appalachia right now. Pure magic!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 11, 2013, 02:16:12 PM
Re-listened to Davies' Requiem performance and enjoyed very much. It's quite interesting Eric Fenby called this work "the most depressing choral work I know." I find it incredibly beautiful. I think I'll listen to Groves' Mass tonight.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 12, 2013, 07:15:18 AM
Listened to the Violin Sonatas again last night (Little/Lane). These are such exquisite works. I have not heard, or own, the Naxos recording of these works, but I have my suspicions about the performances. I doubt they will stand next to the Little/Lane performances. Anyone here heard this Naxos recording:

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: springrite on March 12, 2013, 07:19:01 AM
Listened to the Violin Sonatas again last night (Little/Lane). These are such exquisite works. I have not heard, or own, the Naxos recording of these works, but I have my suspicions about the performances. I doubt they will stand next to the Little/Lane performances. Anyone here heard this Naxos recording:



This one may or may not be good. But after the Little/Lane (mainly Little) recording, and if you have that one, there is really no reason to spend money on another.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 12, 2013, 07:28:10 AM
This one may or may not be good. But after the Little/Lane (mainly Little) recording, and if you have that one, there is really no reason to spend money on another.

Yeah, I own the Little/Lane recording (the original on Conifer). Little and Lane are both strong Delius champions. I haven't seen any reviews for the Naxos recording.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 12, 2013, 10:00:12 AM
I went on NML and listened to some of this Naxos recording in question and it actually sounded quite good. I do not think, however, that the violinist has as strong of a musical presence as Tasmin Little. I do think the pianist sounded really good, but Piers Lane's accompaniment seemed more idiomatic to the music and the audio quality on the Little/Lane recording has a nice touch of ambience to give the music a more ethereal kind of quality, which completely suits the music. The Naxos sonics are much more immediate, which isn't a bad thing, but not what I'm accustomed to hearing in Delius recordings. The Little/Lane continues to soar right over top of the other performances I've heard.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: John Copeland on March 12, 2013, 01:02:52 PM
Here are the real-time notes I made whilst listening to the Delius Piano Concerto...twice (two different performances) - this might also be a fair reflection of what goes on in me when listening to music and might be cross referenced  :laugh: to the 'Classical Music and emotions' thread.

First Hearing:
  Halfway between pure romanticism and thoughtful impressionism.   :-\

Second Hearing: Richly conversational piano with two voices, one a beautiful and thoughtful feminine voice and the other a less heard masculine voice, which is always argumentative. Sometimes it argues almost like two pianos rather than one.  There's some fantastically inventive 'musical' use of the Horn.  Moments of pure joy erupt, but they are gone all to quickly, consumed by some bickering which never gets resolved.  It then becomes introspective, considering all that has gone before, it (the piano) really is thinking about things here, like wondering how it can get over its own wonder, sometimes finding the answer in totally unfulfilled rapture.  But wait, just hold it right there, there is some major emphasis going on, something in the rapture after all, and here it is!!!  ...wow...  but the rapture goes, and we're left with uncertain memories of it ever existing.  But they're real memories, and they re-awaken to dance before our eyes! We ourselves are woke up at the end by a near Royal flourish, and for 5 seconds after this we are trying to recover our jaws from where they've dropped to below our knees...  :P

I like this.   ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 12, 2013, 01:13:43 PM
Gentlemen, we have a Delian in the making. 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2013, 01:20:13 PM
I've been revisiting Koanga this afternoon. Absolutely spectacular! Music doesn't get much better than this!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 13, 2013, 06:14:12 PM
For my 18000th post, I wanted to express my love for Songs of Sunset. My goodness what a glorious work. What are everyone's favorite performances? Johan? Cilgwyn?

I like Eric Fenby's a lot. Of course, there's Hickox on Chandos. Groves' is pretty good. I've really developed a soft spot for Holten's on Danacord.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 14, 2013, 02:22:33 PM
This afternoon I've been revisiting the Delius Collection set on Heritage (original released separately on Unicorn Records) and I'm really digging Fenby's conducting on Dance Rhapsody No. 2. I personally think he did a smashing job throughout the entire set as did Del Mar and Handley.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: huntsman on March 15, 2013, 04:03:34 AM
Since I've starting a bit of a Delius marathon and only a few people on GMG care anything about Delius' music, I'll keep my posts pertaining to his music on this thread.

Just a thought John, but if you do this, far fewer new converts - like myself - will be exposed to the music, or indeed the enthusiasm that you engender.  ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 15, 2013, 05:04:30 AM
Just a thought John, but if you do this, far fewer new converts - like myself - will be exposed to the music, or indeed the enthusiasm that you engender.  ;)

You're right, Paul! I need to spread the love a bit more. Don't worry "Operation Delius" is underway. 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Brian on March 15, 2013, 06:22:38 AM
So let's recap some of Delius' innovations in music:

1. Used the first wordless chorus --- (1897's Koanga which predates Debussy's Nocturnes by two years)
2. Wrote the first African-American opera, Koanga (1887 -- predates Gershwin's Porgy & Bess by thirty something years)
3. Used blues and Negro spiritual music in a classical context (Florida Suite, 1887) for the first time, which again predates Gershwin
4. Used American folksongs (Yankie Doodle) and other marching band tunes and collided these together creating an unheard kind of dissonance which predated Charles Ives (American Rhapsody 1896 later reworked as Appalachia)

The reason why none of these innovations have been acknowledged by scholars and critics is because of politics, which, unfortunately, still exist in classical music.
Wouldn't the first African-American opera be Treemonisha (1910) by Scott Joplin, who was an actual African-American person? We don't call Dvorak's Ninth an African-American symphony, after all (nor do we call Porgy and Bess an African-American opera, in some ways). And I believe Louis Moreau Gottschalk had a head start on Delius for blues, spirituals, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, folksons, and band tunes, although not the dissonance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: huntsman on March 15, 2013, 06:39:56 AM
I'm still on page 15 of this thread, but I suddenly wondered if anyone has created a Time-Line for the works of Delius? You know, what was written when, etc?


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Florestan on March 15, 2013, 07:22:10 AM
Wouldn't the first African-American opera be Treemonisha (1910) by Scott Joplin, who was an actual African-American person? We don't call Dvorak's Ninth an African-American symphony, after all (nor do we call Porgy and Bess an African-American opera, in some ways). And I believe Louis Moreau Gottschalk had a head start on Delius for blues, spirituals, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, folksons, and band tunes, although not the dissonance.

This whole thing of who did what first... Who cares? Music isn't a horse race. Doing it first (or last) has no bearing on doing it best (or worst) --- and viceversa.  ;D

Thread duty: two documentaries on Delius:

Discovering Delius - A Portrait of Frederick Delius (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMjNcFEQOfo)


Ken Russell - Delius - Song of Summer (1968) 1/5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usPub-fNrdg) (check out the rest of the series)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: North Star on March 15, 2013, 10:07:13 AM
I'm still on page 15 of this thread, but I suddenly wondered if anyone has created a Time-Line for the works of Delius? You know, what was written when, etc?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Frederick_Delius#Chronological_list_of_principal_works
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 15, 2013, 05:42:58 PM
Wouldn't the first African-American opera be Treemonisha (1910) by Scott Joplin, who was an actual African-American person? We don't call Dvorak's Ninth an African-American symphony, after all (nor do we call Porgy and Bess an African-American opera, in some ways). And I believe Louis Moreau Gottschalk had a head start on Delius for blues, spirituals, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, folksons, and band tunes, although not the dissonance.

Nope, the first African-American opera was Koanga written in 1896 which clearly predates Joplin. It doesn't matter if the composer was a European or African-American, Delius was the first to do it. You're probably right about Gottschalk, I forgot about that guy (he didn't live long!), but Delius didn't have the same kind of influences and his music, as you pointed out, was much more chromatic. Perhaps Gottschalk needs to be given more credit for things he did too!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 15, 2013, 05:47:04 PM
This whole thing of who did what first... Who cares? Music isn't a horse race. Doing it first (or last) has no bearing on doing it best (or worst) --- and viceversa.  ;D

In the end, you're quite right, but I was just pointing what I thought were some of Delius' innovations. Right now, I'm believe I'm still right about three of my points, but the using the Negro spiritual music may have to go to Gottschalk who used all of these American idioms in a classical context.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: huntsman on March 16, 2013, 03:53:25 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Frederick_Delius#Chronological_list_of_principal_works

Thanks North Star!

BTW Was the 'Discovering Delius' link from Florestan the same documentary Scots John referred to ten or twenty page ago? I was faced with a dead link by the time I tried to read it...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 16, 2013, 05:16:20 AM
Thanks North Star!

BTW Was the 'Discovering Delius' link from Florestan the same documentary Scots John referred to ten or twenty page ago? I was faced with a dead link by the time I tried to read it...

The link Scots John gave us was to a recent BBC documentary titled Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma. Unfortunately, it is unavailable. I was one of the lucky ones who was able to save it to my computer before he disabled the link.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: John Copeland on March 16, 2013, 06:04:57 AM
The link Scots John gave us was to a recent BBC documentary titled Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma. Unfortunately, it is unavailable. I was one of the lucky ones who was able to save it to my computer before he disabled the link.

It took me until last night to watch that Documentary at last.  Very interesting so it was, I'll post it again somewhere so huntsman can get it...well, I found out some stuffs, including Delius pioneered the use of Banjo in the orchetsra!  I have also been listening to Delius's music, which is very freestyle, woven on finest silk.  His soundbase is completely natural, giving his music a kind of life rhythm which is almost organic.  I'll keep listening... ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 16, 2013, 06:25:32 AM
It took me until last night to watch that Documentary at last.  Very interesting so it was, I'll post it again somewhere so huntsman can get it...well, I found out some stuffs, including Delius pioneered the use of Banjo in the orchetsra!  I have also been listening to Delius's music, which is very freestyle, woven on finest silk.  His soundbase is completely natural, giving his music a kind of life rhythm which is almost organic.  I'll keep listening... ;D

Excellent, John! Yes, I forgotten about that banjo (used in Koanga). Very pioneering indeed. 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: huntsman on March 16, 2013, 11:14:30 AM
Thanks John...and you, John!  ;D

I'm watching the Ken Russell documentary from 1968 and enjoying every minute. Were there any further episodes, or are those of other composers in the same series?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 16, 2013, 05:45:19 PM
Thanks John...and you, John!  ;D

I'm watching the Ken Russell documentary from 1968 and enjoying every minute. Were there any further episodes, or are those of other composers in the same series?

Nope, this Delius film is the only one of its kind. It's actually based off Eric Fenby's book titled Delius As I Knew Him. This Ken Russell film was also made with some assistance from Fenby as well. Personally, I don't think too well of the film as I don't think the actors were right for the parts. This aspect of the film should have been better thought out I think, but I've never been a fan of these types of film anyway.

Onto other Delian matters, I'm stuck on the movement titled Pale amber sunlight falls from Songs of Sunset right now. I've played it several time over and over. There's something so ethereal and otherworldly about this movement. I particularly love the woodwind parts: flute, oboe especially.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 16, 2013, 07:21:35 PM
Another Delius masterpiece: Songs of Sunset -

Composed in 1907, Songs of Sunset belongs to Delius' most opulent period, coming after his testament, A Mass of Life (1905), and conceived in the same incandescent burst which brought forth Brigg Fair, the Dance Rhapsody No. 1, In a Summer Garden, Fennimore and Gerda, and Cynara. In fact,Cynara was originally sketched as part of Songs of Sunset, but outgrew its plan to become an independent composition which Delius did not complete until some two decades later. Both works set poems by Ernest Dowson (1867-1900), and are laced with nostalgia for the bohemian life Delius led from the early 1880s into the late 1890s -- the age of Beardsley, Wilde, Strindberg, Munch, Gauguin, and the young Ravel. Indeed, the luxuriant weariness of the Songs of Sunset is meant to be heard against Cynara's call for "madder music and for stronger wine," and its notorious profession of constancy -- "I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion."

Scored for soloists, mixed chorus, and large orchestra, these evocations of passion and lost youth set the lone personal voice among melting choral paeans to nature's mirroring moodiness. The first of the Songs of Sunset is, appropriately, "A song of the setting sun!" which brings "All too soon . . . the cynic moon." Upon this choral scene painting, the baritone breaks in to plead "Cease smiling, Dear! A little while be sad," joined by a contralto (or soprano) voice in a duet -- "O red pomegranate of thy perfect mouth!" -- yet lamenting "the reach of time and chance and change, / And bitter life and death, and broken vows, / That sadden and estrange." Chorus and orchestra call up "The pale amber sunlight" of autumn in a classic instance of late Romanticism's "dying fall," a poignant celebration of sweetness in decay presaging the inevitable farewell. "Exceeding sorrow / Consumeth my sad heart!" the contralto cries in a sustained aria of mourning. In the baritone's answering lullaby, "By the sad waters of separation," she is already a distant memory -- "Hardly can I remember your face." A sensuously winsome chorale conjuring of the buzz and hum of springtime, in "See how the trees and the osiers blithe," is rounded by the contralto and baritone lamenting separately that "the spring of the soul / Cometh no more for you or for me." In the baritone's final solo, he muses that "I was not sorrowful, I could not weep, / And all my memories were put to sleep." Rain and shadow fall together -- "I was not sorrowful, but only tired / Of everything that ever I desired." At last, "the evening came, / And left me sorrowful, inclined to weep / With all my memories that could not sleep." In this quiet series of recognitions the work's emotional high point is reached. The chorus enters with a muted hymn, an atheist's ode to décadence -- "They are not long, the days of wine and roses, / Out of a misty dream our path emerges for a while, then closes / Within a dream."

In marked contrast to the religious works which were the staple of choral festivals at the time, Songs of Sunset still bears the seeds of controversy. After conducting a performance by its dedicatees, the Elberfeld Choral Society, Delius' German champion, Hans Haym, wrote that "this is not a work for a wide public, but rather for a smallish band of musical isolates who are born decadents and life's melancholics."

This work was premiered by (not yet Sir) Thomas Beecham at Queen's Hall, London, June 16, 1911.

parts / movements -

1. A song of the setting sun!
2. Cease smiling, Dear! a little while be sad
3. Pale amber sunlight falls across the reddening October trees
4. Exceeding sorrow consumeth my sad heart!
5. By the sad waters of separation
6. See how the trees and the osiers lithe are green bedecked
7. I was not sorrowful, I could not weep
8. They are not long, the weeping and the laughter

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 17, 2013, 06:17:03 PM
Another Delius masterwork: Idylle de printemps -

The pastoral atmosphere of Idylle de printemps is largely beholden to Grieg, the ecstasy suffusing it is Delius' own. Composed in 1889 after an 18-month course of study at the Leipzig Conservatory, the Idylle is similar in style and method to the four numbers of the Florida Suite of 1887, though where the latter bespeaks the tropical humidity of Dixie, the mood and geste of the Idylle possess a northern cast redolent of clear open spaces. It is hardly coincidental that Delius met Grieg in Leipzig in 1887, and that the two immediately hit it off. Grieg certainly recognized the vein of poetry in Delius' early works and offered what encouragement he could. The formal style of his letter of February 28, 1888, to Delius -- quite different from the offhand confidences of their remaining correspondence -- is a frank testimonial of the sort employed in gaining entry to publishers and performing societies. "I was pleasantly surprised, indeed stimulated, by your manuscripts and I detect in them signs of a most distinguished compositional talent in the grand style, which aspires to the highest goal." The music shown to Grieg was probably the Florida Suite. "If you will permit me, in the interests of your future, to offer you a piece of advice...it would be this, that you devote yourself now, while you are still young, fully to the pursuit of your art, rather than accept a formal position, and that you follow both your own true nature and the inner voice of your ideals and your inclinations." From a composer he loved and respected, this was heady stuff, though -- taken at face value -- it mainly served to confirm the course Delius had followed since his first trip to Norway in 1882 awakened in him the desire to compose. Its actual intent, however, was the persuasion of Delius' father to continue to support him in the pursuit of a compositional career, even though his triumphs at Leipzig had been more social than academic. Grieg's music was then in vogue across Europe, and Julius Delius, impressed by his endorsement, provided Fritz with an allowance that continued off and on until the elder Delius' death in 1901. Idylle de Printemps exhibits both an incipient Delian magic and how much Delius would have to unlearn of rule-of-thumb compositional technique and formal procedures, relying on repetition to free and concentrate that magic with the consummate artistry he would achieve a decade later in A Village Romeo and Juliet.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 18, 2013, 07:47:26 PM
So I've been listening to Songs of Sunset like crazy. This is one of the most outstanding pieces of music I ever heard. Leo K. if you're out there give this work a listen sometime. You'll love it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 20, 2013, 06:44:30 AM
Another Delius masterwork: Brigg Fair -

Delius hit his stride as a composer around the turn of the twentieth century in such works as Mitternachtslied (1898) (a setting of the "Night Song" from Nietzsche's Also sprach Zarathustra which he later incorporated into A Mass of Life); the tone poem Paris-The Song of a Great City (1899), and the opera A Village Romeo and Juliet (1900-1901). Those works and others, moreover, had been performed in Germany with marked success and established Delius' reputation on the continent, though little of his music had been heard in England.

In the spring of 1907, he was in London arranging for performances of his Piano Concerto and Appalachia. It may have been at the home of the painter John Singer Sargent that he met Percy Grainger, a kindred spirit in his inveterate roaming of Scandinavia, friendship with Grieg, and intense dislike of the conventional attitude which identified genuine music only with the German classical tradition. Grainger, meanwhile, had been assiduously collecting Scandinavian and English folk song, which he used as the basis of many of his compositions.

One of the pieces he showed Delius was a setting of "Brigg Fair" for tenor and a cappella chorus, the words and music of which Grainger had gleaned two years before from one Joseph Taylor, a Lincolnshire man in his early seventies. Not only was Delius much taken with the tune, but he recognized that he and Grainger also shared an affinity for a similar sort of post-Wagnerian, meltingly chromatic harmony. Sealing their friendship, which was to remain lifelong, Grainger gladly gave permission for Delius to use "Brigg Fair" as the basis of a large orchestral work.

Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody was composed over the summer of 1907 and dedicated to Grainger; it received its first performance at Liverpool under Granville Bantock on January 18, 1908 (though the premiere has been widely and incorrectly ascribed to Hermann Suter at Basle the preceding year). Further performances followed quickly by Landon Ronald and the Hallé Orchestra in Birmingham on February 19 and Beecham with the New Symphony Orchestra in Queen's Hall, London, on March 31. For the latter occasion, Grainger brought Joseph Taylor to town to sit with him and Delius for the performance.

After the brief, atmospheric introduction, as the oboe introduces the theme, Taylor is said to have stood and sung the opening verse of "his" tune--"It was on the fifth of August, the weather fine and fair, /unto Brigg Fair I did repair, for love I was inclined...." In his little book on Delius, Philip Heseltine -- known to all lovers of English song as Peter Warlock -- notes that "he has, quite unconsciously, harked back to the very form in which the old English composers of the time of Queen Elizabeth were in the habit of adumbrating the popular melodies of the day -- that is to say the cumulative variation form which afterwards grew formal in the passacaglia, in which the theme is repeated, intact or with very slight rhythmical modifications, in each variation, always surrounded with a new harmonic, contrapuntal, or rhythmic embroidery. In Delius' work there is a brief and lovely interlude--a kind of happy love-song, which is not derived from the main theme: otherwise the form is identical with that employed by John Bull, William Byrd, Giles Farnaby, and many another more than three hundred years ago."

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 20, 2013, 03:02:52 PM
Another Delius gem: Irmelin Prelude -

Based on themes from Delius' 1892 opera, Irmelin, this prelude is actually a freestanding orchestral piece, not an introduction to the stage work. Delius dictated it in 1931 to his amanuensis, Eric Fenby, and it was first performed when Sir Thomas Beecham used it as an interlude in a 1935 production of another early Delius opera, Koanga.

The prelude begins with a small, rising motif with a little fall at the end, whispered by individual woodwinds and passed to the strings. (The woodwinds, indeed, play a central role through this piece.) The themes are wispy and fragmentary; the second and third main sections contain pastoral melodies that seem more extended, but they merely rely on gently repeated small gestures. The opening theme returns in a string duet, seeming especially nostalgic and nocturnal, and the prelude ends with the clarinet crooning the melody on a soft bed of strings.

[Article taken from All Music Guide]
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 20, 2013, 05:01:25 PM
Another Delius treasure: To be sung of a summer night on the water -

Some of Delius' most transcendently ecstatic moments are entrusted to a wordless chorus, as if no words could adequately convey the peculiar fullness of the moment. One thinks of Zarathustra's encounter with Life and Wisdom in the third part of A Mass of Life, or, preeminently, of the attainment of the summit in A Song of the High Hills. Apart from the title, there is no programmatic suggestion underscoring the gratuitous blithesomeness of these two brief yet beguiling choral pieces To be sung of a summer night on the water. Composed in late spring 1917 at Grez-sur-Loing, one would hardly guess from them that the Great War was still rampant, or that Delius was a very sick man. The String Quartet (1916) was thoroughly revised during the winter, and a Scherzo added, while the major compositional achievement for the year was the bracing symphonic poem Eventyr. An inveterate walker, Delius had been active outside, taking long strolls and helping his wife tend their garden, in the back of their house facing the river Loing, characteristically a riot of wildflowers. Meanwhile, in America, his friend Percy Grainger was promoting his works, though Delius' publishers were German and Austrian and the war left copies of his music in short supply. Nonetheless, Delius harbored plans for a trip to the United States, cut short in early summer by a return of syphilitic symptoms that nearly crippled him, forcing him to a spa in Normandy. Numbness in hands and feet responded slowly to treatment, but by July 24 he was able to take a 10 kilometer stroll, and by August he was well enough to go on holiday in Brittany with his wife. Apart from health-related interruptions, Delius' uncharacteristically scaled-back production is attributable to a turn toward works attempting to accommodate his essentially rhapsodic inspiration to sonata form -- e.g., the Double Concerto for violin and cello (1915-1916), the Violin Concerto (1916), the Cello Concerto (1921) -- giving way to a spate of miniatures in which matter and manner dovetail more successfully. Piano pieces, the Dance for Harpsichord, the Air and Dance for Strings, a generous bag of surprises in the incidental music for James Elroy Flecker's play Hassan (1923), and, more richly, To be sung... are Delius at his most fleetly charming and least alloyed. The latter were premiered by Charles Kennedy Scott and his Oriana Madrigal Society in London on June 28, 1921. Eric Fenby arranged them for string orchestra in 1932 as Two Aquarelles.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 20, 2013, 05:12:53 PM
Reading the above article made me realize just how courageous Delius was in dealing with the disease that ended his life. Even though he became weaker and weaker, he remained strong in spirit and this alone is the testament to the power of music and what it can do inside of us all.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 21, 2013, 06:14:52 PM
Re: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

I may have mentioned this but my new favorite performance of this masterpiece is with Norman Del Mar conducting the Bournemouth Sinfonietta. Absolutely gorgeous from start to finish. Nothing is too fast (Lloyd-Jones/RSNO) or too slow (Barbirolli/Halle). Anybody else familiar with this recording:

(http://boxset.ru/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/delius_miniatures.jpg)

A must-have recording of Delius 'miniatures'. This recording has been reissued under the 'Chandos Collect' guise, but if you can find the original then don't hesitate to buy it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on March 21, 2013, 06:59:06 PM
A quite ravishing performance of those two little pieces "To be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water" in their original setting for wordless voices alone is by John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers on a CD titled "There is Sweet Music: English Choral Songs 1890-1950".  The whole program is outstanding.

Just in passing, my own two very favorite Delius works are without question "Appalachia" and the "Songs of Sunset" - though if you took away the unsurpassed Hickox/RPO version of "Appalachia" that judgement might be a bit less definitive, (BTW, the fairly recent Andrew Davis led issue of this piece is simply a travesty, - just listen to the wreckage he makes out of the gorgeous 6th movement Lento, - in other hands one of the great epitomal movements in all of Delius in its "ecstatic melancholy", but played here far to rapidly and twisted all out of shape without any of the proper experessive nuances that Hickox nails to perfection). 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 21, 2013, 07:22:17 PM
A quite ravishing performance of those two little pieces "To be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water" in their original setting for wordless voices alone is by John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers on a CD titled "There is Sweet Music: English Choral Songs 1890-1950".  The whole program is outstanding.

Just in passing, my own two very favorite Delius works are without question "Appalachia" and the "Songs of Sunset" - though if you took away the unsurpassed Hickox/RPO version of "Appalachia" that judgement might be a bit less definitive, (BTW, the fairly recent Andrew Davis led issue of this piece is simply a travesty, - just listen to the wreckage he makes out of the gorgeous 6th movement Lento, - in other hands one of the great epitomal movements in all of Delius in its "ecstatic melancholy", but played here far to rapidly and twisted all out of shape without any of the proper experessive nuances that Hickox nails to perfection).

Welcome! I don't think we've ever spoke before, but it's good to have another Delian around, especially in this hyper-modernistic crowd (as Seinfeld would say "Not that there's anything wrong with that." :)) I'll have to check out that Rutter recording. The Cambridge Singers are simply an outstanding group and I recall going over to my grandfather's house and he was, in fact, playing one of their recordings. Sounded very nice. Thanks for the suggestion.

My favorite Appalachia is Barbiolli/Halle Orchestra. I do like Hickox's a lot and considered it the most well-balanced of all the performances I've heard. I do agree with you about the new Andrew Davis in that it doesn't really get to the bottom of the work and is played, in my opinion, rather superficially. I do recall that Lento movement being disappointing. I do like his The Song of the High Hills, but I'm afraid Mackerras and Fenby have him beat here. The Bo Holten performance on Danacord is also excellent. I LOVE Songs of Sunset. Such an outstanding work. My favorite performance is Bo Holten/Aarhus SO on Danacord. He completely nails the ethereal, transient quality of this work.

If I was pushed into a corner and forced to pick three favorite Delius works they would be: 1. In A Summer Garden, 2. Songs of Sunset, and 3. North Country Sketches.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on March 22, 2013, 08:41:38 AM
BTW, that John Rutter/Cambridge Singers CD I referred to also contains a beautiful rendition of "Brigg Fair" (in the arrangement by Percy Grainger).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 22, 2013, 07:44:37 PM
Revisited Handley's performance of Hassan tonight and what a fantastic work! I would really love to hear David Lloyd-Jones conduct this work ("Hello? Can you hear me Naxos?"). Handley's is, again, all we have right now and his is a great performance but I can imagine a more modern performance with perhaps surround could give this work a much larger presence.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 24, 2013, 06:57:42 PM
Anybody have a favorite performance of Brigg Fair? I like Barbirolli's a lot, but there is some intonation problems in the trumpets towards the beginning of the work, but other than this, I would say it's quite a fine performance. I like Mackerras' a lot as well. Hickox is pretty decent.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2013, 05:39:03 PM
I've been thoroughly enjoying Bo Holten's Delius series on Danacord. Johan, cilgwyn, Leo K., have you guys heard any of these recordings?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 25, 2013, 06:10:25 PM
Wrote a review on Amazon of the Andrew Davis Appalachia, The Song of the High Hills recording on Chandos:

Andrew Davis is no stranger to Delius having released a recording of miscellaneous orchestral works under the Teldec label back in the 90s. Davis, along with Bo Holten and Lloyd-Jones, seem to be the only conductors performing right now that are interested in keeping the Delius' flame alive, so, with this in mind, giving this particular recording a three-star rating kind of leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth because so few new recordings of his music have been released, but there's a reason for the rating which I will detail now.

"Appalachia" has no shortage of great performances with Barbirolli/Halle and Hickox/LSO mainly being the performances I return to most often for this work, but I didn't feel much of a connection to the music from Andrew Davis in his performance. Perhaps he doesn't have a strong affinity for it? Who really knows, but I think his performance overall is quite superficial and lacks the depth of feeling I get from Barbirolli and Hickox. To be even more honest, there isn't a perfect performance of "Appalachia" just like there's no perfect performance of Stravinsky's "Le sacre du printemps." It's a matter of finding the right feeling for the work which I feel Davis hasn't done. Many of his interpretative statements seem to be rather declamatory when they should simply be trying to dig deeper and tap into the emotional essence of this music. For this performance, I give it two stars.

"The Song of the High Hills" fares much better I think mainly because I believe the musical language coincides with Davis' approach to conducting and getting clean textures out of orchestral density. This music is much more complex than "Appalachia," which relies on simpler harmonic and melodic ideas to get its' message across. What we get with "The Song of the High Hills" is mature Delius as the piece was written in 1911 (the same year his popular "Two Pieces for Small Orchestra" was written) whereas "Appalachia" was written around 1903. As I mentioned, "The Song of the High Hills" is much more complicated with its almost constant chord changes. Davis' performance goes much better this time around and I think one reason it does is because he knew how to navigate through this dense musical soundscape and delivers a clearer-headed performance. Another great performance is Eric Fenby with the Royal Philharmonic on the Unicorn label. That is a performance worth looking into.

I would only recommend this recording to die-hard Delians, but Delians will want to hear Davis' "The Song of the High Hills."
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 26, 2013, 11:37:21 AM
Delius was a genius! The man could coax more emotion out of three notes than most composers could with 15.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: The new erato on March 26, 2013, 12:14:52 PM
Delius was a genius! The man could coax more emotion out of three notes than most composers could with 15.
But Villa-Lobos taught us that more is better! Now I'm confused.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 26, 2013, 12:22:09 PM
But Villa-Lobos taught us that more is better! Now I'm confused.

Don't bring VL into this! >:(
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Geo Dude on March 27, 2013, 05:07:03 PM
As a result of the argument that occurred in the Bach Off (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21643.0.html) thread I decided to get around to sampling some Delius on YouTube.  Specifically Sea Drift, A Song of Summer, and Florida Suite.  First thought:  This can't be MI's favorite composer, the music is tonal! :P  Second thought:  Nice stuff.  I'll put a couple of Delius discs on my next classical order. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2013, 05:46:11 PM
As a result of the argument that occurred in the Bach Off (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,21643.0.html) thread I decided to get around to sampling some Delius on YouTube.  Specifically Sea Drift, A Song of Summer, and Florida Suite.  First thought:  This can't be MI's favorite composer, the music is tonal! :P  Second thought:  Nice stuff.  I'll put a couple of Delius discs on my next classical order. :)

Excellent news, Geo Dude. He's one of my favorite composers certainly. I think it was foolish of me for me to say he was my absolute favorite. I think this was me getting caught up in my own enthusiasm. Don't get me wrong, I love Delius, but I love so many other composers as well.

By the way, yes, Delius' music is tonal but it is heavily chromatic.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on March 27, 2013, 07:17:39 PM
Let me also say that my personality appeals to so many different kinds of composers that it's hard for me to truly pinpoint who exactly is my number one favorite. It was Ravel then it was RVW then it was Bartok then it was Shostakovich then it was...well you get the idea. Now it's excruciatingly difficult for me to pick just 10 favorites.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: huntsman on April 02, 2013, 05:28:30 AM
Today is Delius Day in my corner of Africa!  ;)

The (incredibly inept) Post Office has finally spewed two of my many parcels from Europe onto my desk, some seven weeks after dispatch in Dundee. Much-awaited joy is about to unravel with these three debutantes...

Playlist in this order:

(http://imageshack.us/a/img843/1350/tast.jpg)



(http://imageshack.us/a/img7/9749/delius2.jpg)



and finally, what has to be the tiniest box of 18 CDs ever...!


(http://imageshack.us/a/img690/8655/delius1500841752.jpg)



Remember those 'Good Ol' Days'?    They're here right now!  ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moo Yai on April 03, 2013, 12:02:38 AM
Today is Delius Day in my corner of Africa!  ;)

The (incredibly inept) Post Office has finally spewed two of my many parcels from Europe onto my desk, some seven weeks after dispatch in Dundee. Much-awaited joy is about to unravel with these three debutantes...

Playlist in this order:

(http://imageshack.us/a/img843/1350/tast.jpg)



(http://imageshack.us/a/img7/9749/delius2.jpg)



and finally, what has to be the tiniest box of 18 CDs ever...!


(http://imageshack.us/a/img690/8655/delius1500841752.jpg)



Remember those 'Good Ol' Days'?    They're here right now!  ;D

I have been listening to that Decca box quite a bit the last few weeks - its awesome! I think you will enjoy it. I also recently bought the big EMI box and the VS Disc - happy listening!  :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: huntsman on April 04, 2013, 11:45:04 PM
I have listened to the Four Violin Sonatas, played by Tasmin Little and Piers Lane , and after all the hype and expectation, was strangely underwhelmed at first.

I don't know what I expected, but my socks were not blown off, though that may be just as well with the cold front that just blew in - literally.

I have listened several more times and have started to notice delicate detail which I missed earlier on; perhaps I was too inattentive, as I was working whilst listening. Ideally, I should probably sit in a huge wing-back with an expensive pair of cans on my head, but in practice this never happens and in truth, if the music is good enough, it will overcome the blur of activity that pervades my listening experiences.

I am confident that with more exposure this CD will grow on me, but time alone will tell how much growth there will be...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on May 30, 2013, 03:46:20 PM
I have listened to the Four Violin Sonatas, played by Tasmin Little and Piers Lane , and after all the hype and expectation, was strangely underwhelmed at first.

I don't know what I expected, but my socks were not blown off, though that may be just as well with the cold front that just blew in - literally.

I have listened several more times and have started to notice delicate detail which I missed earlier on; perhaps I was too inattentive, as I was working whilst listening. Ideally, I should probably sit in a huge wing-back with an expensive pair of cans on my head, but in practice this never happens and in truth, if the music is good enough, it will overcome the blur of activity that pervades my listening experiences.

I am confident that with more exposure this CD will grow on me, but time alone will tell how much growth there will be...

Tasmin Little is a fine violinist to be sure, but praised as she is in Delius with almost complete unanimity by critics, I've always felt something missing in her recordings (the Concerto & Sonatas), which if I had to choose one word for would be "languor" (but in a positive sense, - I certainly don't mean "torpor", let alone "stupor" :)).  Despite the wonderful virtuosity of her playing, I feel the music doesn't breathe quite the way I like it to, - it's too tightly strung, without the more gentle caress and restrained sunsuousness I would prefer (Holmes does better for me in all these works).

On a different note, I wonder if Johan or anyone else is familiar with Arthur Hutchings study of Delius and can give me some orientation as to its content and value.  I did finally read through Christopher Palmer's volume "Delius: Portrait of a Cosmopolitan",  which was full of incidental insights throughout - though much of the book was taken up with discussions of other composers' works in relation to Delius, and musicological analyses of only very subsidiary interest to me.

I still await the big, comprehensive, descriptive & interpretive "Life" of Delius by someone who could take stock of and bring into coherence all the previous work in some grand unifying narrative with the scope and sweep of Swafford's "Brahms" or Fischer's "Mahler" (to name two composer bios that have especially impressed me).  I judge Delius a most fascinating (and elusive) character, who merits something much more definitive than the multitudinous but dispersed treatments of his life and music offered up thus far.

It might never happen.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on June 04, 2013, 02:29:02 PM
One aspect of Delius' life (and a momentous one) that has always been somewhat obscure to me is the precise relationship he maintained with Jelka, and specifically whether it was ever a passional (sexual) one.  It's quite well known that Delius was very much a libertine during his Paris years (from the late 1880's), which indulgence exposed him to syphilis (highly contagious and without effective treatment at that time) and eventually resulted in the paralysis and blindness of his later years.  But it was never clear in my mind at what point Delius became aware of his disease, and whether some long incubation period permits sexual relations without the danger of transmission. From recent reading, however, it's apparently certain that Delius (knowing his condition) steadfastly refused any sexual involvement with Jelka over the entire course of their relationship and marriage, despite her strongly expressed desire for a child.  Frequent weekend excursions back to Paris ostensibly to relieve himself after the couple had subsequently moved to nearby Grez did indicate his sensitivity had its limits (both towards Jelka and the partners obtained there) however.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Parsifal on June 04, 2013, 06:12:13 PM
I almost always find that biographical facts about the composer are more of a detriment than a help in appreciating the music.  Does speculation about how Delius contracted syphilis give insight into the music itself?  I recognize that there are cases where biographical details are significant (i.e., Shostakovich's 5th symphony was a reaction to threats from Soviet authorities and we can wonder to what extent it is "sincere" and to what extent it was "sarcastic") but generally I find myself uninterested in biographical details of the composer.

BTW, I found that Tasmine Little recording of the violin sonatas for all of $1.62.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 05, 2013, 05:04:59 AM
J, I just read your two posts.


I'm afraid I can't help you with the Hutchins - I haven't read it. I read Beecham, Fenby, Palmer, a volume in the Master Musicians series and many shorter things. I deplore, just as you do, the absence of one big serious study of Delius, where both his life and his music are shown in their interrelationship. As Delius's standing isn't too high, there won't be many budding biographers/musicologists out there, eagerly awaiting their chance to fill this lacuna. More's the pity.


As for Delius and Jelka - I think Delius, as the self-centered * (choose your own word) he was, chose to live with her for convenience. She supplied a safe and maternal atmosphere in which he could work. But his passions were reserved for other women. Jelka was the sort of woman who didn't mind suffering for 'her' genius. We may all be grateful for her sacrifice.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: huntsman on June 05, 2013, 06:03:35 AM
Jolly well said!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on June 05, 2013, 07:31:51 PM
Parsifal,

Many (even most) biographical facts, I would agree, likely hold no meaningful relevance for appreciating or understanding any given composers' art, including probably, in the case of Delius, his sexual habits.  Nonetheless, I would also contend that in virtually every case (excepting purely "academic" type composers or mere "technical" artists) there exists a thread of certain crucial events, experiences, relationships, etc. that very much impact the mode, development, and content of expression, - the awareness of which can significantly enhance one's appropriation of and identification with the music.  Relating to Delius, consider this passage written by English music critic Cecil Gray (reproduced in C. Palmer's study of Delius):

   "That which is known to mystics as "the state of illumination" is a kind of ecstatic revelation which may
    only last for a split second of time, but which he who has known it spends the rest of his life trying to
    re-capture.  Those who have experienced it always recognize the presence of the peculiar quality of
    that which appertains to it.  The music of Delius is an example, and I was immediately aware of it in
    the first work of his I heard.  I knew, too, the exact moment at which that experience must have occurred
    in Delius's life, and when I asked him if it were so and if I were right, he was surprised and admitted
    that I was.  The occasion was one summer night, when he was sitting out on the verandah of his house
    on his orange grove in Florida, and the sound came to him from the distance of the voices of the Negroes
    in the plantation, singing in chorus.  It is the rapture of this moment that Delius is perpetually trying
    to communicate in all his characteristic work."

That "state of illumination" Delius experienced in Florida, and the circumstances associated with it is referred to by other writers also, and amply confirmed by Delius on other occasions.  It seems to me that for someone
captured by Delius's music, some familiarity with that period of his life and what he experienced during that time might be very enriching to the encounter with his music (and one could say the same of certain later
formative episodes and experiences that impacted his art).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Parsifal on June 05, 2013, 07:52:06 PM
If you find the source of Delius' inspiration an aid to appreciating his music I would never try to convince you otherwise.  But for me the music is what it is.  Whether Delius found his muse in a state of illumination or in a mathematical formula does not influence how I perceive the music itself.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 05, 2013, 10:57:18 PM
I agree with Parsifal. You are either touched by Delius's music or you remain indifferent to it. It's a matter of temperament. Sensuousness, beauty, ecstasy, melancholy - if you respond to those things, you're 'in', and reading up on Delius will then only enhance your love. But you can read all you like about a composer, if he doesn't speak to you, it's a useless undertaking as far as getting to like his music is concerned.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Parsifal on June 06, 2013, 05:50:42 AM
I don't want to give the impression that I am a Delius detractor.  I deeply enjoy his music, but if asked why I would try to reply with a technical description, something to do with the fact that he developed a unique way to construct music of exceptional poignancy from a tapestry of small motifs. 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on June 06, 2013, 07:13:56 AM
You are either touched by Delius's music or you remain indifferent to it. It's a matter of temperament. Sensuousness, beauty, ecstasy, melancholy - if you respond to those things, you're 'in', and reading up on Delius will then only enhance your love. But you can read all you like about a composer, if he doesn't speak to you, it's a useless undertaking as far as getting to like his music is concerned.

Which I don't disagree with, and in fact implied in my last post.  What I suggested was that "IF you are captured by Delius's music" - THEN biographical understanding can potentially enrich the experience, as you say.  One can never read one's way into emotional resonance.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 06, 2013, 07:30:13 AM
Well, then I think we're all in agreement here! Btw, I checked out samples of Charles Groves' recording of Songs of Sunset (EMI) on ClassicsOnline, and I really liked it. Does anybody here know that performance?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on June 06, 2013, 07:36:23 AM
If you find the source of Delius' inspiration an aid to appreciating his music I would never try to convince you otherwise.  But for me the music is what it is.  Whether Delius found his muse in a state of illumination or in a mathematical formula does not influence how I perceive the music itself.

The music "is what it is" for me also, but probably I have a more holistic understanding of the substance of
"the music itself" - the IS of what it is :)) than you do.  In any case, I renounced way back any inclination to indulge in philosophical debates here.  Your ideas are as good as mine. 

I still say Appalachia is Delius's most characteristic and inspired piece of work.   
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on June 06, 2013, 07:43:07 AM
Well, then I think we're all in agreement here! Btw, I checked out samples of Charles Groves' recording of Songs of Sunset (EMI) on ClassicsOnline, and I really liked it. Does anybody here know that performance?

I know and love it, - and find it unmatched by any other performance.  Baker & Shirley-Quirk are as close to perfect here as I can imagine.  In fact, next to Appalachia (with Hickox) this is my favorite Delius work and recording.  Both an "epitome" and an "epiphany" :).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 06, 2013, 07:44:39 AM
Aha! I thought as much. Janet Baker sounded wonderful!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on June 06, 2013, 07:56:52 AM

 One can never read one's way into emotional resonance.

With a character like Delius, the real danger is you could read your way OUT OF emotional resonance with his music, however ;D.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 06, 2013, 08:09:24 AM
Haha!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on June 21, 2013, 04:27:16 PM
I've been finding a wealth of information and insight about Delius and his music in back issues of the
Delius Society Journal.  Probably for serious Delius afficionados only, however.  You can access them here:

http://www.delius.org.uk/pastjournals.htm
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 21, 2013, 11:53:56 PM
I didn't know those back issues were accessible for free, so - thank you!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Octave on September 20, 2013, 09:45:59 PM
Take a look at this compilation.  It is called ESSENTIAL DELIUS:



now take a look at the back cover with contents listed:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51R%2BM5kGClL.jpg)



Is that snark?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mc ukrneal on September 20, 2013, 09:56:55 PM
Take a look at this compilation.  It is called ESSENTIAL DELIUS:



now take a look at the back cover with contents listed:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51R%2BM5kGClL.jpg)



Is that snark?
Someone didn't pay attention to the scan. If you were interested, here is the content: http://www.allmusic.com/album/release/essential-delius-150th-anniversary-edition-mr0003488827 (http://www.allmusic.com/album/release/essential-delius-150th-anniversary-edition-mr0003488827)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Octave on September 20, 2013, 10:05:11 PM
That's okay, I was just passing on a chuckle.  Thanks for the link, though!  Too bad Allmusic didn't list the performers.  Here they are:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/EMI/0842102 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/EMI/0842102)
At a glance, I think I have all this in the 18cd Delius anniversary box.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mc ukrneal on September 20, 2013, 10:22:48 PM
That's okay, I was just passing on a chuckle.  Thanks for the link, though!  Too bad Allmusic didn't list the performers.  Here they are:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/EMI/0842102 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/EMI/0842102)
At a glance, I think I have all this in the 18cd Delius anniversary box.
Then success - a big oops! :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on September 24, 2013, 11:26:51 AM
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Frederick Delius is my favorite composer of all-time. He has knocked Shostakovich down to second place. Delius is my musical soulmate. It took me four years to realize this, but no other composer has had this long-term hold on me. I go through different phases sure, no doubt, but I always return to Delius. For me, there's Delius and then there's the rest.

(http://www.nhick.com/images/stories/blog-photos/2011/111216-delius/delius-1907-800.jpg)

John, I'm starting to worry about you! :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 24, 2013, 11:53:40 AM
John, I'm starting to worry about you! :D

I told you I was on some heavy medication during this time. >:(
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on September 24, 2013, 01:03:44 PM
I told you I was on some heavy medication during this time. >:(

Are you joking or being serious? I honestly can't tell. Apologies if I have upset you. :-[
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on September 24, 2013, 01:13:33 PM
Are you joking or being serious? I honestly can't tell. Apologies if I have upset you. :-[

I'm joking, Kyle. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on September 24, 2013, 01:21:29 PM
I'm joking, Kyle. :)

OK, just making sure. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 04:36:40 PM
Time to resurrect this thread from the ashes.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 04:38:56 PM
For those interested, and haven't seen it, someone uploaded the BBC documentary about Delius on YT:

http://www.youtube.com/v/uTVhBhPzPQA

An enlightening documentary. One of the flaws of the film was the decision not to discuss the Eric Fenby years in any more detail than what was mentioned only in a brief passing.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on November 17, 2013, 04:45:13 PM
Hey John, what do you think of the Five Danish Songs, orchestrated by Bo Holten and recorded by Danacord? It's actually one of my favorite Delius works-Delius writes so beautifully for the male voice and Holten's orchestration is incredibly lush yet not overbearing.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on November 17, 2013, 04:47:45 PM
Cross-posted from the "Little Things that Annoy You" thread:

Delius' "bluesy" harmonies are certainly wonderful and often times haunting. One Delius work I haven't warmed to yet is the PC, which is unusual since I love late-romantic PCs. The Two Pieces for Small Orchestra, which are Delius' most popular works, also fail to engage me, ironically. One more random comment: That moment when the a cappella chorus enters near the end of Appalachia is so beautiful. As I've stated before, I'm usually not one for a cappella music, but there's something about an unaccompanied chorus entering after half an hour of orchestral music that is really special.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 04:52:51 PM
Thanks for your detailed response! Yes, Delius' "bluesy" harmonies are certainly wonderful and often times haunting. One Delius work I haven't warmed to yet is the PC, which is unusual since I love late-romantic PCs. The Two Pieces for Small Orchestra, which are Delius' most popular works, also fail to engage me, ironically. One more random comment: That moment when the a cappella chorus enters near the end of Appalachia is so beautiful. As I've stated before, I'm usually not one for a cappella music, but there's something about an unaccompanied chorus entering after half an hour of orchestral music that is really special.

I love the Two Pieces for Orchestra only because I've heard one performance that seduced me: Norman del Mar/Bournemouth Sinfonietta on Chandos. I swear that you've never heard Summer Night on the River played this way with such an aura of mystery and something more sinister lurking below. The Piano Concerto, like all of Delius' concertante works, are nothing more than long rhapsodies, but oh how glorious all of them are! I own, and have heard, all of the PC performances on record but the one that sticks out most in my mind is Philip Fowke (originally issued on Unicorn but reissued in the Delius Heritage set). Such utter mastery from Fowke and the ongoing musical narrative was handled with complete confidence. Nothing but clear lines and such a vivid performance interpretatively. My favorite Appalachia is Barbirolli's, but there are some aspects of Hickox's that I admire more, especially in the overall delivery, but I think Barbirolli gets to the heart of the work in a much more compelling way. Speaking of a cappella have you heard To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on November 17, 2013, 05:00:25 PM
I love the Two Pieces for Orchestra only because I've heard one performance that seduced me: Norman del Mar/Bournemouth Sinfonietta on Chandos. I swear that you've never heard Summer Night on the River played this way with such an aura of mystery and something more sinister lurking below. The Piano Concerto, like all of Delius' concertante works, are nothing more than long rhapsodies, but oh how glorious all of them are! I own, and have heard, all of the PC performances on record but the one that sticks out most in my mind is Philip Fowke (originally issued on Unicorn but reissued in the Delius Heritage set). Such utter mastery from Fowke and the ongoing musical narrative was handled with complete confidence. Nothing but clear lines and such a vivid performance interpretatively. My favorite Appalachia is Barbirolli's, but there are some aspects of Hickox's that I admire more, especially in the overall delivery, but I think Barbirolli gets to the heart of the work in a much more compelling way. Speaking of a cappella have you heard To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water?

You are clearly more knowledgeable about the different recordings of Delius' music than I am! :-[ I appreciate your recommendations. I haven't heard To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water yet. I really love Delius' choral writing BTW. His Songs of Sunset contain some of the most beautiful choral writing I've ever heard!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 05:06:28 PM
You are clearly more knowledgeable about the different recordings of Delius' music than I am! :-[ I appreciate your recommendations. I haven't heard To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water yet. I really love Delius' choral writing BTW. His Songs of Sunset contain some of the most beautiful choral writing I've ever heard!

Well, Delius is a composer I've dabbled with. ;) :D Anyway, love Songs of Sunset as well as Songs of Sunrise. Of course, I love Sea Drift much more now than I did say four years ago. I've pretty much devoured Delius' complete oeuvre. From rare works like The Magic Fountain, Poems of Life and Love, or Hiawatha to the more well-known works. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to help you as I'm sure Johan or cilgwyn will as well. 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on November 17, 2013, 05:10:09 PM
Well, Delius is a composer I've dabbled with. ;) :D Anyway, love Songs of Sunset as well as Songs of Sunrise. Of course, I love Sea Drift much more now than I did say four years ago. I've pretty much devoured Delius' complete oeuvre. From rare works like The Magic Fountain, Poems of Life and Love, or Hiawatha to the more well-known works. If you have any questions, I'll be happy to help you as I'm sure Johan or cilgwyn will as well. 8)

Excellent! I plan on listening to some Delius tonight, I'm just not sure what.

What is it with you and not answering my questions tonight? ;D See my question about the Five Danish Songs above.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 05:17:43 PM
Hey John, what do you think of the Five Danish Songs, orchestrated by Bo Holten and recorded by Danacord? It's actually one of my favorite Delius works-Delius writes so beautifully for the male voice and Holten's orchestration is incredibly lush yet not overbearing.

Okay, well now I see this question. :) I do like Five Danish Songs, but I like An Arabesque, for example, much more. Bo Holten's orchestration is quite nice, but I take these kinds of orchestrations with a grain of salt. While I feel the music is quite good, I never can fully appreciate it. I mean, after all, the orchestration wasn't written by the composer himself, so, without question, I'm much more interested in what the composer would have done with the music. Anyway, it's a nice little work, but not very substantial in my view.

Next question. :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 05:32:44 PM
My obsession for Delius goes beyond the actual music and into physical memorabilia. I actually own a rare Royal Mail postcard of Delius and not to mention many OOP magazines like Gramophone and BBC Music that featured large articles on the composer. He was actually on the front cover of Gramophone magazine February 2012. I wouldn't mind even getting a t-shirt made. How unhip would I be walking around in a Delius t-shirt? My guess is if the shirt doesn't get ruined by the end of the day, then I did pretty good. ;D

(http://www.ahmeddickinson.com/storage/Gramophone%20Magazine%20cover%202012.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1327321252356)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on November 17, 2013, 07:13:25 PM
Listened to a couple songs from the EMI box just now: Twilight Fancies, To be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water, Wanderer's Song, and Sondheim's orchestration of Heimkehr. Simply beautiful, especially To be Sung....! Again, Delius' writing for voice is exquisite.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 07:37:24 PM
Listened to a couple songs from the EMI box just now: Twilight Fancies, To be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water, Wanderer's Song, and Sondheim's orchestration of Heimkehr. Simply beautiful, especially To be Sung....! Again, Delius' writing for voice is exquisite.

I enjoy a wide spectrum of Delius' oeuvre, but, I agree, he had a gift for the human voice. Thankfully, his orchestral music is just as inspired.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 17, 2013, 09:20:24 PM
Kyle be sure to read through this thread. There's lots of valuable information here.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on November 19, 2013, 11:04:25 AM
Well, Delius is a composer I've dabbled with. ;) :D Anyway, love Songs of Sunset as well as Songs of Sunrise.

Huh, - "Songs of Sunrise"?  We can only wish there were.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: The new erato on November 19, 2013, 03:40:08 PM
I think it is a misprint for Songs of Surprise.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on November 19, 2013, 06:08:42 PM
Listened to the Cello Sonata from the EMI set just now, with Moray Welsh on cello and Israela Margalit on piano. It's a passionate yet overall subdued work, and the ending is particularly wonderful.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 19, 2013, 06:13:56 PM
Listened to the Cello Sonata from the EMI set just now, with Moray Welsh on cello and Israela Margalit on piano. It's a passionate yet overall subdued work, and the ending is particularly wonderful.

The Cello Sonata is a fine work. One of my dreams is to see Julian Lloyd Webber and Piers Lane perform this work live. You never know it could happen!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sammy on November 19, 2013, 08:04:04 PM
Surprised the heck out of me to discover that there's an internet radio station that plays only Delius.  Can you believe it?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 19, 2013, 08:33:39 PM
Surprised the heck out of me to discover that there's an internet radio station that plays only Delius.  Can you believe it?

That's quite surprising. I honestly don't know if I could listen to Delius all day long now, but in doses I'm fine. I wonder what country this station is located in? Any idea?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 20, 2013, 05:09:55 AM
I think it is a misprint for Songs of Surprise.

Not Songs of Surmise?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on November 20, 2013, 05:32:08 AM
'Songs of Sunrise'?! ??? Sounds like a job for Dutton Vocalion! ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on November 20, 2013, 06:26:31 AM
I listened to Beechams recording of 'The Song of the High Hills' again,recently. This is the reissue from the recent emi Beecham box set of 'English music'. I thought this was the most convincing performance of this lovely piece of music I've heard. It kept my attention focused all the way through,unlike some other recordings I can think of. Wonderfully atmospheric,but you have to like mono sound from that period. I know MI doesn't;and to be fair,while in the days of  78's and mono Lps,you probably wouldn't worry about things like that & would probably be just pleased to be able to hear music like this in the comfort of your own home;it does seem a bit peculiar to listen to such glorious music in restricted mono sound,when you can hear this glorious composer in the latest state of the art digital sound!! ??? ;D Mind you,I find these early recordings have qualities which more than compensate for their sonic deficiencies,so I don't really mind. Having said that,I can't deny that it's a great shame that some of Beecham's finest recordings of Delius missed the Stereo era by such a narrow margin!

Still,as MI might point out,there's more to Delius than Beecham. Although,without Beecham's contribution there may have been less Delius!! :(
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 08, 2013, 09:38:29 PM
I listened to Beechams recording of 'The Song of the High Hills' again,recently. This is the reissue from the recent emi Beecham box set of 'English music'. I thought this was the most convincing performance of this lovely piece of music I've heard. It kept my attention focused all the way through,unlike some other recordings I can think of. Wonderfully atmospheric,but you have to like mono sound from that period. I know MI doesn't;and to be fair,while in the days of  78's and mono Lps,you probably wouldn't worry about things like that & would probably be just pleased to be able to hear music like this in the comfort of your own home;it does seem a bit peculiar to listen to such glorious music in restricted mono sound,when you can hear this glorious composer in the latest state of the art digital sound!! ??? ;D Mind you,I find these early recordings have qualities which more than compensate for their sonic deficiencies,so I don't really mind. Having said that,I can't deny that it's a great shame that some of Beecham's finest recordings of Delius missed the Stereo era by such a narrow margin!

Still,as MI might point out,there's more to Delius than Beecham. Although,without Beecham's contribution there may have been less Delius!! :(

Well, I never doubted the importance of Beecham. Even though Delius had several conductors who were admirers of his music, it was Beecham that rescued this composer from the dustbins. And for this, he deserves all the praise in the world, but thankfully a newer generation of conductors undertook and stood by Delius' music after Beecham had passed on and these conductors perform Delius their own way as it should be played.

Song of the High Hills is a difficult work to get right, but of more recent performances Holten and Andrew Davis should commended for a job well done. And, yes, mono is a restriction for classical music no matter how 'nostalgic' it may be for a listener to revisit these older recordings, and they do have a certain magic to them, they do not do the music full justice in terms of the being able to hear all the instruments. Thankfully, labels have been very kind of Delius and we have so many great recordings to choose from.

Now, I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment of Andrew Davis' ongoing series on Chandos. Should be excellent.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on December 09, 2013, 07:53:31 AM
I like Beecham's recordings but the Beecham cult tends to create some kind of supernatural aura around his actual achievement. For example his celebrated recording of Goldmark's 'Rustic Wedding Symphony'.Supposedly only worth listening to as bestowed with that special Beecham magic that made second rate music sound special. Well,his recording didn't do anything for me and neither did Goldmark! Then I heard Abravanel's recording with the Utah SO. Suddenly,I'm really enjoying it. Presumably Abravanel worked his own special brand of Abravanel 'magic' on it?!
Abracadabra (etc,etc!!) ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 09, 2013, 07:58:38 AM
I like Beecham's recordings but the Beecham cult tends to create some kind of supernatural aura around his actual achievement. For example his celebrated recording of Goldmark's 'Rustic Wedding Symphony'.Supposedly only worth listening to as bestowed with that special Beecham magic that made second rate music sound special. Well,his recording didn't do anything for me and neither did Goldmark! Then I heard Abravanel's recording with the Utah SO. Suddenly,I'm really enjoying it. Presumably Abravanel worked his own special brand of Abravanel 'magic' on it?!
Abracadabra (etc,etc!!) ;D

Well a lot of these conductors like Karajan or Bernstein have these cults where they believe their hero can 'do no wrong.' The reality is they've done wrong and made many mistakes in performances as all conductors have done. They have also large groups of detractors. Thankfully, I try to be objective in my evaluation of a conductor's performance and let the music speak for itself. For me, if the conductor gets in the way of the music, then he's no more a hinderance than a street that has been blockaded.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2013, 06:57:04 AM
Revisited Handley's Cuckoo and I'm hearing again why I prefer his performance over the dozens of others I've heard. It's not on the fast side nor is it on the excessively slow side like Barbirolli. It's a happy medium between the two extremes. And to top it off we have Chandos' superb audio quality with the LPO never sounding more inspired. As much as I love the Del Mar performance, I've got to give my highest praise to Handley here.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 18, 2013, 06:57:42 PM
Has anyone, besides myself :), heard any of Bo Holten's Delius recordings? They are absolutely first-rate. Listening to Songs of Sunset right now and this is the best performance I've heard of the four versions I own. Johan, you will love this! I can't praise it highly enough.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 20, 2013, 07:38:17 AM
Hey Johan, have you listened to A Village Romeo & Juliet or Koanga yet? I know, I know, I ask you this all the time, but whereas you may call this annoying, I call it persistence. :) A trait we Delians are pretty much inborn with.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 21, 2013, 06:16:20 AM
Last night when I was revisiting The Walk to the Paradise Garden, towards the middle of this piece, tears started to pour from my eyes. It was at this moment that I realized a person with no love in their lives --- has no life. Without love and a burning passion, we are soulless, useless masses of waste. This is the impression I'm getting more and more with Delius' music. His music stirs so much emotion inside of me and, as I mentioned many times before, it was love on first listen.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on December 23, 2013, 01:06:03 PM
Hey Johan, have you listened to A Village Romeo & Juliet or Koanga yet? I know, I know, I ask you this all the time, but whereas you may call this annoying, I call it persistence. :) A trait we Delians are pretty much inborn with.


Your persistence is commendable. I will try to listen to it one of these days, John. Promise.


Last night when I was revisiting The Walk to the Paradise Garden, towards the middle of this piece, tears started to pour from my eyes. It was at this moment that I realized a person with no love in their lives --- has no life. Without love and a burning passion, we are soulless, useless masses of waste. This is the impression I'm getting more and more with Delius' music. His music stirs so much emotion inside of me and, as I mentioned many times before, it was love on first listen.


Beautiful. Delius certainly taught me to love the things of the Earth more. Especially Christopher Palmer's book about him was a 'sentimental education' for me, in my early twenties.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 23, 2013, 01:55:49 PM
Your persistence is commendable. I will try to listen to it one of these days, John. Promise.

I really hope you do, Johan. You will absolutely love both operas.

Beautiful. Delius certainly taught me to love the things of the Earth more. Especially Christopher Palmer's book about him was a 'sentimental education' for me, in my early twenties.

I suppose I do have a kinship with Delius in the regard that we both love nature. Lakes, forests, mountains, rivers, etc. all were important part of my upbringing and finding out that Delius loved all of these things really gave me even more appreciation for his music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on December 23, 2013, 01:58:00 PM
Hey Johan, have you listened to A Village Romeo & Juliet or Koanga yet? I know, I know, I ask you this all the time, but whereas you may call this annoying, I call it persistence. :) A trait we Delians are pretty much inborn with.
I saw your post. I've just put the emi recording of 'A Village Romeo and Juliet'. That glorious surge of music at the opening. I love this opera.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 23, 2013, 02:02:48 PM
I saw your post. I've just put the emi recording of 'A Village Romeo and Juliet'. That glorious surge of music at the opening. I love this opera.

Indeed, it's a such a fantastic work and one of my favorite operas.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on December 23, 2013, 02:03:30 PM
I suppose I do have a kinship with Delius in the regard that we both love nature. Lakes, forests, mountains, rivers, etc. all were important part of my upbringing and finding out that Delius loved all of these things really gave me even more appreciation for his music.


We don't have much nature in the Netherlands. Most of this country is man-made. Delius fills a void for me.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on December 23, 2013, 02:05:31 PM
Has anyone, besides myself :) , heard any of Bo Holten's Delius recordings? They are absolutely first-rate. Listening to Songs of Sunset right now and this is the best performance I've heard of the four versions I own. Johan, you will love this! I can't praise it highly enough.


I think I can listen to Bo Holten's recordings through Spotify... All in good time.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 23, 2013, 02:06:02 PM

We don't have much nature in the Netherlands. Most of this country is man-made. Delius fills a void for me.

Yes, I would go as far to say he fills a void in all those listeners who admire his music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 23, 2013, 02:34:46 PM

I think I can listen to Bo Holten's recordings through Spotify... All in good time.

Yes, I believe you are correct.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on December 24, 2013, 11:20:05 AM
Has anyone, besides myself :), heard any of Bo Holten's Delius recordings? They are absolutely first-rate. Listening to Songs of Sunset right now and this is the best performance I've heard of the four versions I own. Johan, you will love this! I can't praise it highly enough.

It's a matter of taste, of course, but the soprano in Holten's Songs of Sunset uses entirely too much vibrato for mine.  It just sounds stilted, - and wrong.  Baker/Shirley-Quirk/Groves are unexcelled in the work IMO (one of the great Delius recordings), and runner-up for me would be Forrester/Cameron/Beecham, (also a  great performance, especially for Beecham's way with the instrumental detail, but I decisively prefer Groves's soloists and choir).  Holten's Danish & Norwegian Masterworks discs I get much pleasure from OTOH, and am anxious to hear what he does with Appalachia (though Hickox will be all but impossible to surpass, I believe). 

BTW, finally I discovered and acquired an inexpensive copy of Palmer's "Portrait of a Cosmopolitan" (a volume I'd perused many times).  It's filled with much "musicological" stuff I feel ho-hum about, but studded with so many insights along the way as to be indispensable.  Still, not my favorite Delius study, which remains  Jahoda's biography, - unscholarly perhaps, but so sympathetic, endearing, and well written it facilitates  imaginative participation in Delius's life and mind like no other (though Fenby's memoir about the last years is compelling in this regard also).  I note Ken Russell's film adaptation of Fenby's book, - "A Song of Summer"  now posted in full on YouTube.  All veteran Delians will have seen this (probably) many times, but recent initiates should have a look.  I find it a perpetually moving portrait of the imperious (but vulnerable) old man.

Finally, my periodic plea to all the Delius scholars of the world for someone to produce the big and definitive "Life" this composer deserves and I covet.  It's such a wonderful romantic-tragic and human story.  Just shocking that no one has taken this up on a scale the voluminous materials for it would ennable.  Johann, - what about you?

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 24, 2013, 06:03:53 PM
To my ears, there's absolutely nothing wrong with Holten's Songs of Sunset. I thought the Groves recording had strange balances between the soloists, chorus, and orchestra. I like an orchestra that's much more forward than pushed back like I hear in Groves, but, as you stated, it's a matter of taste.

As for Appalachia, I prefer Barbirolli and Hickox to Holten, Mackerras, and Andrew Davis. I admire the sheer amount of weight in Barbirolli's performance and the musical pacing and phrasing in Hickox's performance. You can keep the rest.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on December 24, 2013, 08:20:16 PM
For what it's worth, when I say about Holten's SOS that it's stilted and just sounds wrong to me, I refer only to the soprano part, apart from which things go well enough, - though slower tempos than what I'm used to throw things off a bit at times. 

Not to rub you the wrong way even further, but Barb's Appalachia always struck me as rather heavy-handed and over-mannered.  He just can't allow the music to unfold naturally it seems, but imposes too many annoying stops and starts, rubatos, and misplaced emphases that inhibit the flow and dull the magic in my judgement.  Not that it's bad (I'd treasure the recording if it was all I had), but the rightness of musical pacing and phrasing you refer to in Hickox's performance works so much better for me.  Mackerras's reading has some family resemblance to Hickox as I hear it,  but WTF with that baritone at the end? - just about the most grotesque piece of singing I've ever heard.  It sinks everything.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 24, 2013, 09:02:32 PM
Well, again, it's all subjective. I actually prefer the heaviness of Barbirolli. He was, without a doubt, an important Delian and could be seen as the important link between Beecham and the later generation conductors. He had the courage to continue to carry the torch whenever it may have been unfashionable to do so. With this in mind, I owe him a debt of gratitude. Barbirolli was also one hell of an Elgarian, but that's a topic for another thread. 8)

Anyway, we're all different and no one Delian is alike. Like, for example, I care nothing about Beecham's recordings, which maybe sacrilege amongst other Delians, but I never really heard what the big deal was. I do, however, acknowledge how important this man was to Delius' music and for this, as I've said many times before, am grateful.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on December 24, 2013, 11:28:31 PM
No, no, no, it's not "all subjective", else any meaningful judgement and communication would be impossible - though to recognize subjectivity is important.

Beecham's stature as a Delius interpreter may be low ("no big deal") in your experience (a discrimination shot through with an implicit recognition of scale), but to jump from that to assume those who assert his eminence merely express a wholly subjective preference (as you do) is problematic.

There are issues about the quality of one's (yours and theirs) aesthetic sensibility that can't be avoided here.

But no more.

Merry Christmas.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 25, 2013, 06:47:23 AM
No, no, no, it's not "all subjective", else any meaningful judgement and communication would be impossible - though to recognize subjectivity is important.

Beecham's stature as a Delius interpreter may be low ("no big deal") in your experience (a discrimination shot through with an implicit recognition of scale), but to jump from that to assume those who assert his eminence merely express a wholly subjective preference (as you do) is problematic.

There are issues about the quality of one's (yours and theirs) aesthetic sensibility that can't be avoided here.

But no more.

Merry Christmas.

Well, here's where subjectivity sets in: some people like Beecham, some people do not. A person can acknowledge they don't enjoy something all day long, but to ignore what someone like Beecham has done for Delius would, in my opinion, be a mistake. That's all I'm saying. There's no logic involved in expressing my views about Beecham. I just don't care for the way he performs Delius. There are other approaches to the music which is why there were different conductors who continued to perform Delius' music, because they felt they had something of their own they could add to the music. Another example would be I don't care much about Mozart, but I understand his importance to classical music. You don't have to enjoy something to recognize it's importance, so there's no conflict there at all. You like Beecham's performances, I do not, but he was historically important to Delius. That's all I'm saying about this.

And, yes, Merry Christmas!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on December 25, 2013, 08:34:16 AM
Ooh,I like Beecham! I think I'll put his Appalachia on now! You're fault for mentioning him MI! ;D Although,I do agree that there is this cult thing about certain conductors which relegates everything single thing they do to some kind of unattainable higher sphere. For example,his recording of Goldmark's Rustic Wedding Symphony which is supposed to have turned dross into gold and bored me stiff! In fact,it always did,until I heard Maurice Abravanel's delightful and infinitely superior account. Something magical about Utah sand I suppose?! ;D
And it does seem a bit peculiar to listen in hissy mono,when you can have all the option of modern stereo or state of the art digital sound! But the compensation for me is atmosphere and the shape and flow,a conductors feel for the music,so I don't really mind.

One Beecham Delius recording I didn't enjoy was his A Village Romeo & Juliet. All credit to him for recording it and I usually like those old singers;but the ones Beecham used seem to of the worst kind with their quaint,stilted delivery and rolled rrr's! Ouch,my ears!! ??? ;D I have the abridged 20's recording of VW's Hugh the Drover and the singers aren't like that! A bit of Beecham's dosh and they might have been able to set down the whole lot!!

I listened to the emi A Village Romeo & Juliet yesterday. Good as the Mackerras recording is,this,as you say,is finer. Some people have been put off by the presence of Robert Tear. I know what they mean,but he's actually very good in this recording.I certainly didn't have any problem with his singing at all! Any dry,throaty sounds and it would have been back to Mackerras............. for good! Anyway,his presence,as such,didn't really impinge on my consciousness. For me,Tear was just one of a superb ensemble who perform this sublime score with a conviction,passion and fervour which seems to lift it into exalted regions far beyond the more earthbound aspirations of the Mackerras recording,which,excellent as it undoubtedly is,seems more preoccupied with mere beauty of sound.

Merry Christmas! :)



Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 25, 2013, 09:28:26 AM
Ooh,I like Beecham! I think I'll put his Appalachia on now! You're fault for mentioning him MI! ;D Although,I do agree that there is this cult thing about certain conductors which relegates everything single thing they do to some kind of unattainable higher sphere. For example,his recording of Goldmark's Rustic Wedding Symphony which is supposed to have turned dross into gold and bored me stiff! In fact,it always did,until I heard Maurice Abravanel's delightful and infinitely superior account. Something magical about Utah sand I suppose?! ;D
And it does seem a bit peculiar to listen in hissy mono,when you can have all the option of modern stereo or state of the art digital sound! But the compensation for me is atmosphere and the shape and flow,a conductors feel for the music,so I don't really mind.

One Beecham Delius recording I didn't enjoy was his A Village Romeo & Juliet. All credit to him for recording it and I usually like those old singers;but the ones Beecham used seem to of the worst kind with their quaint,stilted delivery and rolled rrr's! Ouch,my ears!! ??? ;D I have the abridged 20's recording of VW's Hugh the Drover and the singers aren't like that! A bit of Beecham's dosh and they might have been able to set down the whole lot!!

I listened to the emi A Village Romeo & Juliet yesterday. Good as the Mackerras recording is,this,as you say,is finer. Some people have been put off by the presence of Robert Tear. I know what they mean,but he's actually very good in this recording.I certainly didn't have any problem with his singing at all! Any dry,throaty sounds and it would have been back to Mackerras............. for good! Anyway,his presence,as such,didn't really impinge on my consciousness. For me,Tear was just one of a superb ensemble who perform this sublime score with a conviction,passion and fervour which seems to lift it into exalted regions far beyond the more earthbound aspirations of the Mackerras recording,which,excellent as it undoubtedly is,seems more preoccupied with mere beauty of sound.

Merry Christmas! :)

I never thought much of Mackerras' Romeo actually and have actually mentioned on numerous occasions to preferring the Davies recording which is, indeed, a finer performance more in-tune with Delius' sound-world. I don't mind Robert Tear in this performance. He's not distracting so he gets high marks here. It's when the vocalist is intrusive to the music that I become irritated.

Merry Christmas to you, too! 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on December 25, 2013, 10:37:41 AM
I was introduced to the opera via the Mackerras recording;albeit via the film. I remember sitting there watching it all the way through and I wasn't even terribly into Delius then,let alone opera on tv! I certainly  enjoyed it then!  Having said that,I haven't listened to the Argo/Decca recording since obtaining the emi recording,so I'm relying on memory,to some degree.If I listened to the Mackerras recording now it is quite possible I might share your opinion,although maybe not?! Either way,it did introduce me to this wonderful opera and I don't want to put people off what strikes me as a perfectly decent,well sung recording with an interestingly darker perspective on the work. (Oh,and anyone who does,try and obtain the original Argo release which has a nice,big,chunky booklet/libretto!) For anyone new to the opera I would however recommend the emi recording which has more passion and definitely avoid the Beecham even if you normally like his recordings!

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on December 25, 2013, 10:49:23 AM
I was introduced to the opera via the Mackerras recording;albeit via the film. I remember sitting there watching it all the way through and I wasn't even terribly into Delius then,let alone opera on tv! I certainly  enjoyed it then!  Having said that,I haven't listened to the Argo/Decca recording since obtaining the emi recording,so I'm relying on memory,to some degree.If I listened to the Mackerras recording now it is quite possible I might share your opinion,although maybe not?! Either way,it did introduce me to this wonderful opera and I don't want to put people off what strikes me as a perfectly decent,well sung recording with an interestingly darker perspective on the work. (Oh,and anyone who does,try and obtain the original Argo release which has a nice,big,chunky booklet/libretto!) For anyone new to the opera I would however recommend the emi recording which has more passion and definitely avoid the Beecham even if you normally like his recordings!

Interestingly enough, I did buy an original of the Mackerras performance on Argo and that booklet is quite nice. I certainly understand your sentiments regarding 'first impressions.' For you to listen to the work at all is all a Delian like me could ask you to do. 8) Anyway, I'm still awaiting someone to take on Irmelin and The Magic Fountain, but it seems we'll all be dead before that happens! >:( ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 12, 2014, 10:10:40 AM
The work Eventyr (Once Upon A Time) still almost shocks the hell out of me when I listen to it. What do our resident Delians think of this work? It seems to be not recorded much.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on January 12, 2014, 11:03:11 AM
It's the shout that startles, right?  Haven't played Eventyr in so long, that's all that comes to mind, - though I'd recognize the piece immediately if heard.

My recording is with Groves.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 12, 2014, 11:16:31 AM
It's the shout that startles, right?  Haven't played Eventyr in so long, that's all that comes to mind, - though I'd recognize the piece immediately if heard.

My recording is with Groves.

Yep, that's the one. 8) But it seems that the Holten recording has the loudest shout. I like Handley's a lot, too. One reason I'm bringing it up is because on the new Andrew Davis recording he performs it so it'll be interesting to see what he brings to the work.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on January 13, 2014, 11:39:13 AM
Beechams lot have the poshest shout! ;D Some very well heeled trolls,there!
Although,I haven't heard his earlier recording (on Naxos).
An interesting idea,this Eventyr 'shout' loudness rating! So far we have (in order of loudness):

1) Holten  Danacord
2) Groves  emi

There are recordings by Handley and Myer Fredman (which doesn't sound particularly enticing!! Trolls in New Zealand?! ???). Did Mackerras record it? I can't find one listed. In fact an admittedly brief search on Amazon has found disappointingly few recordings? I wonder why? It's a favourite of mine. I think the Groves Eventyr is one of his best Delius recordings,by the way!

The Musicweb review of the Bo Holten cd,by Rob Barnett,describes the "goblin' shouts" as having the "requisite troll quality" (has he heard trolls shouting?! ??? ;D) the second one "combines a wail and grunting howl!" (his words!).Now that sounds intriguing!! ;D Unfortunately,he's not so convinced by the performance. Although,it has "probably never been so well recorded!"

What are Handley's 'shouters' like?

Incidentally,I don't think Delius actually specifies who are what is supposed to be doing the shouting.I would have thought the supernatural beings most identified with Norway would be Trolls not goblins! (Although,I recall stories about Norwegian giants from my youth. Now,they'd be loud!! ;D)

With respect to orchestras being told to shout and make noises. Henry Cowell gets his orchestra to participate in his 'Persian Set' (available on the Koch label). I can't remember what they shout,or yell;but the booklet notes make a comparison with the similar instruction in Eventyr! It's nowhere near as memorable,if at all,but I thought it was worth mentioning.
And on the RCA recording of Piston's 'incredible Flautist',I seem to recall the orchestra joins in. Not having multiple recordings of this work,I have no idea if this originates with Piston himself or is just a recording gimmick?

I shall have to look through your posts to see what you thought of the Holten cd. The singing of by Bonde-Hansen sounds like a plus point and 'The Song of the High Hills' gets a pretty good review. I would need to look at more,however! And which is better? The Holten or the recent Andrew Davis recording? The Fenby is very good,but I'm not too keen on the soloist he uses.
The Groves is placed as a fill-up to 'Koanga',which makes a nice coupling. The downside,having to program it in,if you just want that work. I did a search recently and I was surprised to find that this appears to be it's premiere and sole release!

I've located the new Andrew Davis recording you refer to. This sounds very enticing and the title makes a nice comparison with the Danacord recording,although the couplings are different (except for 'Sleigh Ride).

Very tempting! And the 'famous' Chandos sound,of course!




Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 13, 2014, 11:51:51 AM
Thanks for the post, cilgwyn. I think Holten's performances are hit/miss for many people. I don't think, however, he's as great of a conductor as Mackerras, Hickox, Handley, Del Mar, A. Davis, etc., but he does bring some much needed enthusiasm back into the Delius catalog. I wouldn't call his performance of Eventyr earth-shattering, but he does seem to understand the aggression that lays beneath the surface of the work. His trolls are LOUD! Startling actually. Handley's are weaker by comparison. Never heard Myer's performance, but how could his performance really be? I never heard Groves' performance and, no, Mackerras has never recorded Eventyr. A shame really since he conducted so much of Delius' music.

The Song of the High Hills receives an excellent performance from A. Davis/BBC SO. I would rate Holten's slightly below it. Davis' Appalachia, however, can't compete with Barbirolli or Hickox I'm afraid and I never liked Mackerras' performance of it, which seems to be rushed through with no attention being given to the music's finer details.

That Andrew Davis is titled Delius In Norway. It looks like quite an interesting program of music. I actually just bought it. 8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2014, 10:24:26 AM
wow, the whole Composer Discussion has gone back to the cow pats this week! Something about the cold weather prompt thoughts of the English Countryside? Oh dear, now you've stepped in one!

Surely the Finzi Thread can't be far behind...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on January 16, 2014, 06:29:56 AM
Who mentioned English cow pats?
This is is a discussion about Norwegian cow pats!! >:( ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on January 16, 2014, 05:17:10 PM
A very enthusiastic review of the new Delius Chandos cd on Musicweb already!
And Mirror Image has already got it!! ??? ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 16, 2014, 06:14:26 PM
A very enthusiastic review of the new Delius Chandos cd on Musicweb already!
And Mirror Image has already got it!! ??? ;D

I bought it, yes, but haven't received it (yet). Can't wait to hear it of course.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 16, 2014, 07:44:08 PM
A link to that MusicWeb review:

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Jan14/Delius_Norway_CHSA5131.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2014/Jan14/Delius_Norway_CHSA5131.htm)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 16, 2014, 08:56:13 PM
Deleted post from J:

Quote
I'm unimpressed with Andrew Davis as a Delian up to now, and furthermore don't believe Chandos' characteristic brash and boomy in-your-face sound is a very good fit either.  Davis's Appalachia was appalling, and nothing else I've heard in his series is even remotely competitive with the old Masters (Beecham, Barb, Groves, Davies, Fenby, Hickox, Handley, etc.). Holten, while more sensitive, still lacks the nuances one can hear in other recordings as well (the orchestrated songs, for lack of alternatives I suppose, are much more attractive than the rest IMO).  Frankly, we likely already have the best Delius that will ever be done, and I myself don't really feel the need for more and more alternatives, thought it's understandable some conductors will always want to give the music a try.

Thought I missed this one didn't you? ;) Don't worry I caught it before you deleted it. ;D I will say that 95% you're absolutely right that it's hard to beat the 'old masters' in Delius, but couldn't we say the same thing about so many other composers? I mean I could say "Ah, there will never be a conductor as good as Barbirolli in Elgar again," but the reality is there have been many fine modern conductors in Elgar just as there have been for Delius. Despite your unenthusiastic opinion of Andrew Davis' Delius, which I have to agree that his Appalachia was completely abysmal, on the same recording, he did a fantastic Song of the High Hills. Also on his next Delius installment for Chandos, he conducted a scorching Paris, but I wasn't impressed with the performance of Piano Concerto with Howard Shelley. I still think Philip Fowke has all others beat with maybe Piers Lane coming in a distant second place. Anyway, my point is that while it's true that it seems that the great Delius performances are long gone, I'm not going to keep my ears closed off to the possibility that there will be a great performance forthcoming in the future. After all, this is the future of the composer we're talking about and the only way to bring his music into the 21st Century is to continue to put recordings out of his music. Yes, the 'good old days' are long gone, but I'm not going to completely close myself off to that possible future.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on January 17, 2014, 05:02:18 AM
Come on,get out those old hissy,mono Beechams Mirror Image! You know you love 'em really!! ;D

And while you're at it;for the full,authentic Beecham sound,why not invest in one of these? They're surprisingly cheap s/h;and as an added bonus,no worries about power cuts and you get to reduce your carbon footprint in one fell swoop!!

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/546/zvj9.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/f6zvj9j)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 17, 2014, 09:42:28 PM
Come on,get out those old hissy,mono Beechams Mirror Image! You know you love 'em really!! ;D

And while you're at it;for the full,authentic Beecham sound,why not invest in one of these? They're surprisingly cheap s/h;and as an added bonus,no worries about power cuts and you get to reduce your carbon footprint in one fell swoop!!

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/546/zvj9.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/f6zvj9j)

I would, but I don't own any Delius on LP. :( Perhaps one day. 8)

Cross-posted from the 'Listening' thread -

Now:

(http://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_400/MI0001/061/MI0001061687.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

Listening to Summer Night on the River. Kicking back, closing my eyes, I'm really on a boat on the river just passing along at a leisurely pace until an uneasy feeling flows through me and I feel a sudden chill from the wind. Now, I'm remembering some thoughts from past that leave me quite unrestful and even a bit nervous. This is what I get from this piece. It's as if Delius is reminiscing with us and offering a haunting glimpse of his past perhaps on the river during his early years in Florida.

What do you other Delians make of this work? What message do you think it's trying to convey? A clue for me is that rather gloomy, and eerie, ending.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on January 18, 2014, 08:51:31 AM
Deleted post from J:

Thought I missed this one didn't you? ;) Don't worry I caught it before you deleted it. ;D I will say that 95% you're absolutely right that it's hard to beat the 'old masters' in Delius, but couldn't we say the same thing about so many other composers? I mean I could say "Ah, there will never be a conductor as good as Barbirolli in Elgar again," but the reality is there have been many fine modern conductors in Elgar just as there have been for Delius. Despite your unenthusiastic opinion of Andrew Davis' Delius, which I have to agree that his Appalachia was completely abysmal, on the same recording, he did a fantastic Song of the High Hills. Also on his next Delius installment for Chandos, he conducted a scorching Paris, but I wasn't impressed with the performance of Piano Concerto with Howard Shelley. I still think Philip Fowke has all others beat with maybe Piers Lane coming in a distant second place. Anyway, my point is that while it's true that it seems that the great Delius performances are long gone, I'm not going to keep my ears closed off to the possibility that there will be a great performance forthcoming in the future. After all, this is the future of the composer we're talking about and the only way to bring his music into the 21st Century is to continue to put recordings out of his music. Yes, the 'good old days' are long gone, but I'm not going to completely close myself off to that possible future.

Sneaky of you, yes.  But you're right, I think, - which is why I reconsidered.  One shouldn't want the performance and recording of Delius to become merely a museum display, but rather remain a continuously unfolding living tradition, - though I'm getting old enough now myself to find my attention and loyalties mostly drawn to what's already been done.  I buy and listen to the new stuff that comes along (Holten, Davis, the Naxos & Dutton Epoch discs),  but none of it so far suggests to me these commitments are at all hidebound or misplaced.  I'll admit, however, to never responding very positively to Andrew Davis in anything, and so by now have a cordial bias against that gentleman, - from my perspective the worst of all possible choices for a Chandos series (except perhaps Neemi Jarvi).   Who in the Chandos stable might I prefer?  I don't know.  The loss of Handley, Hickox, and Thomson was devastating for them.   

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2014, 06:04:47 PM
Sneaky of you, yes.  But you're right, I think, - which is why I reconsidered.  One shouldn't want the performance and recording of Delius to become merely a museum display, but rather remain a continuously unfolding living tradition, - though I'm getting old enough now myself to find my attention and loyalties mostly drawn to what's already been done.  I buy and listen to the new stuff that comes along (Holten, Davis, the Naxos & Dutton Epoch discs),  but none of it so far suggests to me these commitments are at all hidebound or misplaced.  I'll admit, however, to never responding very positively to Andrew Davis in anything, and so by now have a cordial bias against that gentleman, - from my perspective the worst of all possible choices for a Chandos series (except perhaps Neemi Jarvi).   Who in the Chandos stable might I prefer?  I don't know.  The loss of Handley, Hickox, and Thomson was devastating for them.

The reality is there just doesn't seem to be that many conductors interested in Delius' music now with the exception of Holten, Davis, Elder, and Lloyd-Jones. Hopefully, there's another Delian that will emerge from the woodwork to give us a completely new idea on how Delius should sound. Again, my ears are open for whatever comes my way in new recordings.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on March 10, 2014, 01:28:18 PM
I see John France calling Eventyr a masterpiece in a Musicweb review of the new Chandos cd,Delius in Norway.
Up there now for anyone who hasn't read it!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 06, 2014, 03:12:26 AM
 http://musicb3.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/in-defence-of-delius-introducing-the-deryck-cooke-delius-bibliography/ (http://musicb3.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/in-defence-of-delius-introducing-the-deryck-cooke-delius-bibliography/)

This might be of interest to the Delians on this board...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on June 08, 2014, 01:46:02 PM
Interesting, yes.  I knew of Cooke's enthusiasm, but hadn't before now read his essay "Delius the Unknown".  It has me believing Cooke could have written the philosophically and psychologically perspicacious study of Delius I've always wished for (as complement to Christopher Palmer's excellent but more musicologically oriented treatment).  In the combination of tough-minded and almost fanatical rationalistic atheism (Delius the man) with a sensitive and yielding all but pantheistic nature mysticism (Delius the composer) he remains an enigma to me.  Nietzsche, of course, is crucial, - set within the 19th century background of European man's progressive loss of faith.  Though hints and incidental reflections abound in the literature, no one up to now has really unpacked in a careful, coherent, and comprehensive way how historical setting and outer influences combined with inner unfolding and creative engagement to make Delius and his music what they are, - and their apparent incongruity less perplexing.  It will probably never happen.


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on June 08, 2014, 02:06:27 PM
Well said. Yes, Delius is enigmatic in his combination of unbelief and an almost religious feeking for nature. And that his amanuensis, who enabled him to give several works to the world that without him would never have seen the light of day, was a staunch Catholic makes it even more puzzling... Just like you, I fear that no-one in future will try or will be willing to unpack this.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 12, 2014, 06:40:28 PM
I'M BACK!!!!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kishnevi on October 12, 2014, 06:49:39 PM
Quick!  Someone get some Genesis onto his CD player!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 12, 2014, 06:53:32 PM
Quick!  Someone get some Genesis onto his CD player!

Lol... ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on October 12, 2014, 07:16:47 PM
I'M BACK!!!!

Meaning what?  Back to Delius?

Somewhere you disparaged the composer as merely a passing enthusiasm that had run its course, - saying you'd returned to the more tough-minded circle reflecting enduring temperamental affinities.

Can we ever welcome you into the inner sanctum here again? 

It's questionable.???
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 12, 2014, 07:27:17 PM
Meaning what?  Back to Delius?

Somewhere you disparaged the composer as merely a passing enthusiasm that had run its course, - saying you'd returned to the more tough-minded circle reflecting enduring temperamental affinities.

Can we ever welcome you into the inner sanctum here again? 

It's questionable.???

Welcome me into the 'inner sanctum'? This isn't a secret club, J. This is a composer. I have a complicated history with the composer, but there's one thing that rings true throughout the discourse: I was enchanted with his music the first time I heard it and, according to Fenby, this is enough. This is the test.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 12, 2014, 07:30:59 PM
Plus, you can read all of my posts about Delius over the past few years, I'm not sure why I let negative opinion rule my own thinking? I simply listened to the naysayers when I should have trusted my own thoughts and opinions to begin with.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 12, 2014, 07:39:34 PM
For those that missed it, I wrote a review of the Handley recording of Florida Suite and North Country Sketches via Amazon -

Let me first say that it still amazes me after all of these years Delius' music is found unfashionable and tedious to many listeners, but there are still many of us out there that consider him one of the greatest of the 20th Century. One reason why some listeners have trouble with Delius I suppose comes from the fact that his music doesn't follow an formal guidelines. In other words, it's quite a stream-of-consciousness, rhapsodic type of compositional style that doesn't quite quite give itself to listeners so easily and from what I've read this music is quite difficult to pull off well. But one of the most important aspects in Delius' music is the shaping of the musical line and, with this in mind, his music needs a completely sympathetic conductor and one that understands his harmonic language. This is where Vernon Handley steps in.

There is no shortage of performances of either of these works. They have been performed by Hickox, Groves, Mackerras, Beecham, Lloyd-Jones, Holten, etc. What makes these particular performances stand out for me is Handley's excellent attention to, again, the musical line in the music. Many Delius conductors have a tendency to wallow in the lushness of the music, which I suppose can be beautiful in some ways, but this music needs a conductor to give it some kind of shape and form which Handley excels at doing. Both performances of "Florida Suite" and "North Country Sketches" are given outstanding performances from the Ulster Orchestra. The sound is top-notch. This recording was released in 1986.

A little about each work:

Florida Suite -

This work was composed around 1887 I believe during his conservatory days in Leipzig and it's an early work of Delius' when he was still under the influence of Grieg, Chopin, and Wagner, but what makes this unmistakably Delian is it's incorporation of Negro folk melodies and the overall bluesy quality of some of the musical phrasings like the "Near the Plantation" movement for example. This type of innovation predates Gershwin, Jazz, and is something that Delius is never given credit for. Also, this work predated Dvorak's famous "Symphony No. 9, From the New World" by some six years with it's blending of "American" folk music, although Dvorak never actually quoted Native American music in his symphony. What makes the "Florida Suite" stand besides the inventiveness of its' fusion of desperate musical elements is the sheer beauty and simplicity of that the entire work projects to the listener. Some may find this work trite or whatever criticism they want to throw at it, but I think these are the same people that don't want to accept the music's ingenuity.

North Country Sketches -

Composed in 1914, and clearly in Delius' mature style, this particular work was written on the outbreak of World War I and there's a certain understated sadness to this work to my ears. Each movement represents, in my own view, a different time of the year and the movements are as follows:

1. Autumn
2. Winter Landscape
3. Dance
4. The March of Spring

For me, this one of Delius' finest orchestral works. The orchestration is unbelievably good and the "Winter Landscape" movement in particular captures the season's coldness and gives the impression of a desolate landscape where only the icy chill of the wind can give you a feeling of life. The first movement "Autumn" is just gorgeous with lush harmonies and towards the end some modulations that hint at the "Winter Landscape" movement. "Dance" is a fun movement and I think it exemplifies summertime. The heat from the sun isn't far off and people enjoying themselves outside at a dance party of some kind could be what's implied by this movement. The last movement "The March of Spring" is pretty much what the title suggests: spring is here again. Embrace life and live it with passion. "North Country Sketches" contains some absolutely beautiful harmonies, melodies, rhythms, and I really think it gives the listener another feel for the mastery Delius had over the orchestra.

For the new Delius listener, this is a highly recommendable recording. Most long-time Delians will already have these performances in their collection or at least I hope they do!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 12, 2014, 07:41:53 PM
Now, I don't think a person who doesn't like Delius' music could have written this review.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 12, 2014, 07:55:55 PM
Here's an interesting upcoming November release from MTT/San Francisco SO:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81CE0cGOViL._SL1500_.jpg)

Features Delius' On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. This may very well be the only time I've heard of MTT conducting any Delius.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on October 13, 2014, 01:29:36 AM
Let's hope this is the start of a trend! Going back further in time I note that there is a cd available from Sony of Ormandy conducting Delius and Vaughan Williams. Delius getting the 'Philadephia sound'! Has anyone heard this I wonder? If it was an all Delius cd I would have bought a copy by now. Not that I don't like VW,of course!
North Country Sketches is probably my favourite orchestral work by Delius if I had to pick one!  I particularly like Beecham's recording on Sony. The mono sound,very good for it's time,seems to add to the feeling of mystery,bleakness and remoteness evoked by parts of this work. Beecham's feeling for the ebb and flow and atmosphere of the piece more than compensates for the mono sound,I might add. For a stereo recording I like the Mackerras recording;although I have to break ranks here and admit that my favourite stereo recording is the emi Groves which isn't usually rated by Delians at all! I like the couplings too. The fact that the Groves recording was the first one I ever heard of this piece might have something to do with it,of course! ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 13, 2014, 07:34:20 AM
Let's hope this is the start of a trend! Going back further in time I note that there is a cd available from Sony of Ormandy conducting Delius and Vaughan Williams. Delius getting the 'Philadephia sound'! Has anyone heard this I wonder? If it was an all Delius cd I would have bought a copy by now. Not that I don't like VW,of course!
North Country Sketches is probably my favourite orchestral work by Delius if I had to pick one!  I particularly like Beecham's recording on Sony. The mono sound,very good for it's time,seems to add to the feeling of mystery,bleakness and remoteness evoked by parts of this work. Beecham's feeling for the ebb and flow and atmosphere of the piece more than compensates for the mono sound,I might add. For a stereo recording I like the Mackerras recording;although I have to break ranks here and admit that my favourite stereo recording is the emi Groves which isn't usually rated by Delians at all! I like the couplings too. The fact that the Groves recording was the first one I ever heard of this piece might have something to do with it,of course! ;D

I hope this MTT recording does signal more conductors to look at the composer's work. I have that Delius/RVW Ormandy disc but it's been ages since I've listened to it. It must not have made much of an impression on me because I don't remember the performances. :) North Country Sketches is a fine work indeed. I recall several fine performances like Hickox, Handley, and Mackerras. I think I even enjoyed that Groves performance (I believe it's in the 150th Anniversary set on EMI). Another great work that deserves a modern update is Hassan. Are you familiar with this one, cilgwyn? The only stereo performance of the work in its entirety is Handley's on EMI.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 13, 2014, 07:47:18 AM
Quick!  Someone get some Genesis onto his CD player!

"I know what I like . . . ."
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on October 13, 2014, 08:40:20 AM
I hope this MTT recording does signal more conductors to look at the composer's work. I have that Delius/RVW Ormandy disc but it's been ages since I've listened to it. It must not have made much of an impression on me because I don't remember the performances. :) North Country Sketches is a fine work indeed. I recall several fine performances like Hickox, Handley, and Mackerras. I think I even enjoyed that Groves performance (I believe it's in the 150th Anniversary set on EMI). Another great work that deserves a modern update is Hassan. Are you familiar with this one, cilgwyn? The only stereo performance of the work in its entirety is Handley's on EMI.
I have the Beecham performance of Hassan. Reasonably priced s/h copies of the Handley cd appear to be as rare as the proverbial hens teeth! Most of the time it's not even available at all. Currently the only copy on Amazon is ex-library. I suppose everyone wants to hold onto the copy they've got!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on October 13, 2014, 08:49:31 AM
Plus, you can read all of my posts about Delius over the past few years, I'm not sure why I let negative opinion rule my own thinking? I simply listened to the naysayers when I should have trusted my own thoughts and opinions to begin with.

Furiously trying to re-establish your creds here today I see, MI.

I'm generously open to receiving you again as a genuine and passionate Delian.

It's just that given your often ecstatic response to the music previously, I was startled to see you then renounce that fervor so flippantly (and even shamefully).

Perhaps sometime you can describe what lies behind this "complicated history" with the composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 13, 2014, 10:18:55 AM
I have the Beecham performance of Hassan. Reasonably priced s/h copies of the Handley cd appear to be as rare as the proverbial hens teeth! Most of the time it's not even available at all. Currently the only copy on Amazon is ex-library. I suppose everyone wants to hold onto the copy they've got!

Ah, but this Handley performance was included in the 150th Anniversary set on EMI. To buy the original, however, is quite a rare thing indeed. Extremely difficult to obtain and you'll certainly pay a hefty price if there's one available.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 13, 2014, 10:24:29 AM
Furiously trying to re-establish your creds here today I see, MI.

I'm generously open to receiving you again as a genuine and passionate Delian.

It's just that given your often ecstatic response to the music previously, I was startled to see you then belie that fervor so flippantly (and even basely).

Perhaps sometime you can describe what lies behind this "complicated history" with the composer.

Actually, I'm not trying to re-establish anything and, again, this isn't some secret club where only the few meet and discuss the composer. There is as much criticism of Delius as there is of Messiaen or even Mozart. What lies behind this complicated history I have with Delius was the inability to ignore the criticism and, in doing this, I gave in when I should have stood my ground. I was wrestling with doubt when there shouldn't have been doubt at all. But I understand now the negative criticism against the composer and have finally accepted to ignore it. After all, Delius was love on first listen for me. I believe the first work I heard was In a Summer Garden and this was all it took. That introduction alone took me some place else entirely and moved me deeply. I can only say this has happened with a few other composers.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on October 13, 2014, 10:34:08 AM
An honorable repentance, - sufficient for returning to the fold. 

WELCOME BACK.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 13, 2014, 10:37:46 AM
An honorable repentance, - sufficient for returning to the fold. 

WELCOME BACK.

Thanks, J. It feels good to be back. One question I have is what ever happened to that GMG member from South Africa that had got bitten by the Delius bug? I forget his screen name at the moment.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 13, 2014, 10:42:23 AM
"South Africa" and "bitten by the bug" together makes me think of the beginning of Diamonds Are Forever . . . .
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 13, 2014, 10:45:56 AM
"South Africa" and "bitten by the bug" together makes me think of the beginning of Diamonds Are Forever . . . .

 :P
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 13, 2014, 09:40:48 PM
Hey J., have you seen the Bridcut BBC documentary on Delius? Here's your chance if you missed it:

http://www.youtube.com/v/uTVhBhPzPQA

I've already weighed in with my own critique of the film several pages back, but, overall, I found it quite fulfilling and enjoyable.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 14, 2014, 04:46:10 AM
:P

The devious Mssrs Wint & Kidd
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: North Star on October 14, 2014, 04:54:14 AM
The devious Mssrs Wint & Kidd
One is never too old to learn from a master, Mr. Kidd.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 14, 2014, 05:07:15 AM
One is never too old to learn from a master, Mr. Kidd.

8)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on October 15, 2014, 10:13:15 AM
Hey J., have you seen the Bridcut BBC documentary on Delius? Here's your chance if you missed it:

http://www.youtube.com/v/uTVhBhPzPQA

I've already weighed in with my own critique of the film several pages back, but, overall, I found it quite fulfilling and enjoyable.

I hadn't seen it, - thanks for posting. Watching just now, my impression is a program somewhat lacking in focus and continuity, - a kind of jumbled and fragmented sequence of information and reflection without really presenting in any dramatic and compelling way the coherence and direction of Delius's character and life.
Nonetheless, having never before heard Andrew Davis, Mark Elder, & Anthony Payne speak, I now have some dimensional sense of them as human beings previously lacking (I've never cared in the least for Davis as a Delius interpreter, but he rather impressed me in the manner of his reflections).  Also incidentally, I was never aware Delius had explicitly referred to fathering a child with a Negro mistress in Florida, as apparently he did in correspondence with Percy Grainger.  I believed it was never more than speculation.  Has this fact indeed been validated somehow, does anyone know? 

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on October 15, 2014, 06:05:22 PM
I hadn't seen it, - thanks for posting. Watching just now, my impression is a program somewhat lacking in focus and continuity, - a kind of jumbled and fragmented sequence of information and reflection without really presenting in any dramatic and compelling way the coherence and direction of Delius's character and life.
Nonetheless, having never before heard Andrew Davis, Mark Elder, & Anthony Payne speak, I now have some dimensional sense of them as human beings previously lacking (I've never cared in the least for Davis as a Delius interpreter, but he rather impressed me in the manner of his reflections).  Also incidentally, I was never aware Delius had explicitly referred to fathering a child with a Negro mistress in Florida, as apparently he did in correspondence with Percy Grainger.  I believed it was never more than speculation.  Has this fact indeed been validated somehow, does anyone know?

Yes, the film is jumbled and fragmented but so was Delius' life. :) Born in England, lived in Florida, spent most of his life in the south of France, and made regular pilgrimages to Norway. I thought Bridcut did an excellent job, as anyone really could, of keeping track of such a nomadic life. One of the main problems I had with the film was Bridcut barely scraped the surface of the Fenby/Delius partnership, but anyone could read the book Delius As I Knew Him for more information on this period of the composer's life.

As for fathering a child, there's actually a documentary about this particular area of Delius' life. It deals with Tasmin Little (surely one of the great Delius interpreters) and her belief that after this 'negro mistress' fled Florida upon Delius' return, this left an undeniable imprint on him and, as a result, his music began to turn more inward and became steeped in sadness.

Here's the Little documentary if you haven't seen it:

Part 1 -

http://www.youtube.com/v/0RocX8MvqcE

Part 2 -

http://www.youtube.com/v/w95C2Vwt-Dc
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: delius98 on November 04, 2014, 01:16:33 PM
I just found this forum and have enjoyed reading the posts about my favorite composer, Delius.   

I have a website devoted to the music of Delius, and invite everyone to visit: www.thompsonian.info/delius.html

Lots of links, information and audio files.

I am eagerly awaiting delivery of my copy of the new book "Delius and his Music" by Martin Lee-Browne and Paul Guinery, which will analyze and discuss each of Delius' works.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Brewski on November 04, 2014, 01:23:46 PM
Welcome, delius98, and I hope you enjoy yourself here. (PS, though I'm now in NYC, I used to live in Texas.)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moonfish on November 04, 2014, 09:00:34 PM
Hey J., have you seen the Bridcut BBC documentary on Delius? Here's your chance if you missed it:

http://www.youtube.com/v/uTVhBhPzPQA

I've already weighed in with my own critique of the film several pages back, but, overall, I found it quite fulfilling and enjoyable.

Thanks for posting that MI!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 04, 2014, 09:02:24 PM
Thanks for posting that MI!

My pleasure, Moonfish. :) Have you seen the ones on RVW, Elgar, or Britten per chance? These are great documentaries as well. Bridcut has continuously given us one great work after another.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moonfish on November 04, 2014, 09:08:15 PM
My pleasure, Moonfish. :) Have you seen the ones on RVW, Elgar, or Britten per chance? These are great documentaries as well. Bridcut has continuously given us one great work after another.

No! I am always out of time (seemingly), but noticed the Britten film the other day. Did you like it?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on November 04, 2014, 09:11:50 PM
No! I am always out of time (seemingly), but noticed the Britten film the other day. Did you like it?

Yes, the Britten one titled Britten's Endgame is an exquisitely made documentary. I haven't seen the other Britten doc. Bridcut made titled Britten's Children, but Endgame is a must-see.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moonfish on November 04, 2014, 09:12:41 PM
Yes, the Britten one titled Britten's Endgame is an exquisitely made documentary. I haven't seen the other Britten doc. Bridcut made titled Britten's Children, but Endgame is a must-see.

Duly noted!  :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2015, 04:59:35 PM
Delius's music seems to say, “Progress is not an issue for the artist, Being is.” Future, but without a promise of a better future or an afterlife, humans should have a hearty satisfaction in the now. The now is rather about accepting the next now. Delius' compositions tell me we can hope for a better NOW, and one of the most evocative aspects of Delius' music is this ability to create moments of Now; moments when music isn’t about progress (yet somehow there is progress in the music anyways).

I was reading some early entries into this thread and I ran across this post and fully agree with what you're saying here, Leo. Delius was very much about the present moment. He expressed himself deeply and with his own sense of musical intuition. There are no histrionics in his music. It exists on some other spiritual plane.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Leo K. on January 21, 2015, 01:18:42 AM
I was reading some early entries into this thread and I ran across this post and fully agree with what you're saying here, Leo. Delius was very much about the present moment. He expressed himself deeply and with his own sense of musical intuition. There are no histrionics in his music. It exists on some other spiritual plane.
Thanks John, - gosh I haven't heard Delius in awhile, I'm going to have to return to his work soon! It will be nice to return to his world.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 21, 2015, 06:37:58 PM
Thanks John, - gosh I haven't heard Delius in awhile, I'm going to have to return to his work soon! It will be nice to return to his world.

Indeed, Leo. Delius has a way of transporting you to another time and place but he also makes you forget about the idea of time. It's clearly irrelevant in Delius' sonic universe.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moonfish on January 21, 2015, 11:29:26 PM
Indeed, Leo. Delius has a way of transporting you to another time and place but he also makes you forget about the idea of time. It's clearly irrelevant in Delius' sonic universe.

Is Delius viewed as the ultimate pastoral composer weaving all his works around nature?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 22, 2015, 07:42:26 AM
Is Delius viewed as the ultimate pastoral composer weaving all his works around nature?

I'm not sure if I like the term 'pastoral' but his music does reflect the beauty of nature. Do you know any of Delius' music, Peter?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moonfish on January 22, 2015, 10:26:13 AM
I'm not sure if I like the term 'pastoral' but his music does reflect the beauty of nature. Do you know any of Delius' music, Peter?

Not very much I'm afraid.  :'(  However, I just need to take the time to listen to some of his works.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 22, 2015, 07:13:34 PM
Not very much I'm afraid.  :'(  However, I just need to take the time to listen to some of his works.

Give a listen to The Walk to the Paradise Garden, Brigg Fair, and the Florida Suite a listen first. These can be found easily on YouTube. At least you'll be able to get a taste of his music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on January 24, 2015, 05:17:19 PM
Delius has a way of transporting you to another time and place but he also makes you forget about the idea of time. It's clearly irrelevant in Delius' sonic universe.

Given the frequent characterization of Delius's music as intensely expressive of transience, evanescence, and loss in both the human and natural worlds (consider Appalachia, Sea Drift, Songs of Sunset, Songs of Farewell, et.al.) one might make an argument for its suffusion with time and its passing, - that rather than being irrelevant, it is central. 

To say Delius "makes you forget about the idea of time" seems a problematic statement that requires a bit in the way of explanation or at least clarification.



Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2015, 09:10:21 PM
Anyway...I listened to Songs of Farewell last night and was quite moved by the listening experience. It's a wonder this work even saw the light of day. Poor ol' Fenby and his superhuman level of patience, tolerance, and, most of all, his belief in this man's music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on January 24, 2015, 10:17:40 PM
BTW, you "forgetting about how much time has actually elapsed" (while listening to Delius's music, - as MI said happened in a clarifying statement now deleted by him)  is something virtually any activity can induce that we become engrossed with regardless of its actual "content".  I suppose the same occurs when you listen to Shostakovich, Prokofiev, or any other of your favorite composers.  It's hardly an insight about Delius's music in particular it seems to me (without at least some further qualification) but simply a more generalized psychological observation of your apparent entrancement with it.  The place or significance of time in the music itself and the fact of you forgetting how much time has elapsed while listening to it can hardly be identified.


Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 24, 2015, 10:20:59 PM
BTW, "forgetting about how much time has actually elapsed" (while listening to Delius's music, - as MI said happened in a clarifying statement now deleted by him)  is something virtually any activity can induce that we become engrossed with regardless of its actual "content".  I suppose the same occurs when you listen to Shostakovich, Prokofiev, or any other of your favorite composers.  It's hardly an insight about Delius's music in particular it seems to me (without at least some further qualification) but simply a more generalized psychological observation of your apparent entrancement with it.  The place or significance of time in the music itself and the fact of you forgetting how much time has elapsed while listening to it can hardly be identified.

Okay.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on January 25, 2015, 11:40:02 AM
Given the frequent characterization of Delius's music as intensely expressive of transience, evanescence, and loss in both the human and natural worlds (consider Appalachia, Sea Drift, Songs of Sunset, Songs of Farewell, et.al.) one might make an argument for its suffusion with time and its passing, - that rather than being irrelevant, it is central. 

To say Delius "makes you forget about the idea of time" seems a problematic statement that requires a bit in the way of explanation or at least clarification.

Not that a case couldn't be made for the experience of timelessness or the transcendence of time in Delius's music.  It all depends on how you understand those elusive and multifaceted ideas ("time" and "transcendence") and bring them into relationship relative to the juxtaposed elements in Delius's soundscapes.  I'm only suggesting that it's not so straightforward, - there are contraries or at least different dimensions to the music that draw one in different directions and lead to alternative feeling responses (as with any great music).  One has to make an argument rather than just an assertion, - or at least some elaboration is helpful in trying to understand what you mean.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 25, 2015, 07:45:10 PM
Not that a case couldn't be made for the experience of timelessness or the transcendence of time in Delius's music.  It all depends on how you understand those elusive and multifaceted ideas ("time" and "transcendence") and bring them into relationship relative to the juxtaposed elements in Delius's soundscapes.  I'm only suggesting that it's not so straightforward, - there are contraries or at least different dimensions to the music that draw one in different directions and lead to alternative feeling responses (as with any great music).  One has to make an argument rather than just an assertion, - or at least some elaboration is helpful in trying to understand what you mean.

To me, Delius' music isn't earthy but rather 'in the clouds' floating. I can't really elaborate on this because that would require theoretical knowledge of the actual music, which I don't possess. The music, in many cases, is slow-moving and the kinds of harmonies he used seems to stretch and fill out the overall soundscape while his melodies take flight and seem to always be in evolution. I can't really explain it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 30, 2015, 07:55:21 PM
I forgot about Fred's birthday on the 29th! :-[ I'll definitely be listening to a few works over the weekend, but the Super Bowl is on Sunday, so I'll have to divert my attention to this year's game. Anyway, Happy Birthday, Fred!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2015, 07:36:47 PM
I was looking through some things tonight and ran across this:

(http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/19/35/2d/19352dcac64548f2932f42e8ff61d1e9.jpg)

But only I don't own the stamp, I own the postcard. Does any other Delian have this Royal Mail collectible?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 03, 2015, 07:41:15 PM
Also tonight, I dove back into the Heritage box set. What treasures this set contains!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sean on February 03, 2015, 11:51:05 PM
A quick mention for a very fine LP I bought in the 80s, Handley doing Brigg Fair, In a summer garden, Eventyr and A Song of summer on EMI, the best of introductions to Delian sensitivity. He exaggerates tempo changes a bit at times but understands the idiom like few others.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 04, 2015, 07:33:22 AM
A quick mention for a very fine LP I bought in the 80s, Handley doing Brigg Fair, In a summer garden, Eventyr and A Song of summer on EMI, the best of introductions to Delian sensitivity. He exaggerates tempo changes a bit at times but understands the idiom like few others.

Yes, Handley's Delius is quite good indeed. Here's the recording in question:

(http://eil.com/images/main/Delius+%2D+Brigg+Fair+%2F+A+Song+of+Summer+%2F+In+a+Summer+Garden+%2F+Eventyr+%2D+LP+RECORD-525691.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sean on February 04, 2015, 08:21:24 AM
Thank you, very nice to see the cover again, it's been over 25 years. Helped inspire enthusiasm for In a summer garden.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 06, 2015, 08:32:23 PM
Cross-posted from the 'Purchases' thread:

Quote
Not a CD purchase but a music-related purchase nonetheless:



Wasn't aware of this book's existence until tonight whenever I was browsing through some of Delius' photographs on Google. Looks very interesting.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Christo on February 08, 2015, 12:38:38 PM
Poor ol' Fenby and his superhuman level of patience, tolerance, and, most of all, his belief in this man's music.

Did you read Eric Fenby's book Delius as I knew him ? I did, many years ago, and the story of their cooperation against all odds  - Delius, the Nietzschean, blind, paralyzed yet unbroken, Fenby, the devout Catholic, not only completely devoted, but also very capable - is a classic.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moonfish on February 08, 2015, 01:57:20 PM
Did you read Eric Fenby's book Delius as I knew him ? I did, many years ago, and the story of their cooperation against all odds  - Delius, the Nietzschean, blind, paralyzed yet unbroken, Fenby, the devout Catholic, not only completely devoted, but also very capable - is a classic.

That sounds like a fantastic book! Thanks for bringing it up Christo! I love biographies and have just started to dig into composers...
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on February 08, 2015, 02:48:48 PM
That sounds like a fantastic book! Thanks for bringing it up Christo! I love biographies and have just started to dig into composers...

Ken Russell's 1968 film adaptation of Fenby's book titled "A Song of Summer" is moving and compelling also, - easily viewed in its entirety on YouTube, Moonfish.  Check it out.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moonfish on February 08, 2015, 03:22:16 PM
Ken Russell's 1968 film adaptation of Fenby's book titled "A Song of Summer" is moving and compelling also, - easily viewed in its entirety on YouTube, Moonfish.  Check it out.

On my list of films to watch!   :)    Thank you!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2015, 08:51:20 PM
Did you read Eric Fenby's book Delius as I knew him ? I did, many years ago, and the story of their cooperation against all odds  - Delius, the Nietzschean, blind, paralyzed yet unbroken, Fenby, the devout Catholic, not only completely devoted, but also very capable - is a classic.

Absolutely, Johan. A great read for sure. It certainly heightened my appreciation for the composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2015, 09:41:11 PM
On my list of films to watch!   :)    Thank you!

I honestly didn't care much for the film, but I don't care much about 'biopics' anyway. Peter, you've got to watch this as soon as possible (if you haven't already):

https://www.youtube.com/v/uTVhBhPzPQA
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Moonfish on February 08, 2015, 10:56:34 PM
I honestly didn't care much for the film, but I don't care much about 'biopics' anyway. Peter, you've got to watch this as soon as possible (if you haven't already):

https://www.youtube.com/v/uTVhBhPzPQA

No, I haven't and I definitely need to! Thanks John! So many great documentaries about composers out on the web! It seems like films such as these should be commercially available.  >:(
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 08, 2015, 11:13:56 PM
No, I haven't and I definitely need to! Thanks John! So many great documentaries about composers out on the web! It seems like films such as these should be commercially available.  >:(

You're welcome, Peter. I will say that this Bridcut documentary on Delius didn't introduce anything new to me, but it does a nice job of presenting this composer's fragmented history in a compelling way. Newcomers to this music will do well to check this film out.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 10, 2015, 12:11:02 PM
Received the book Delius And His Music today. Man, this one is quite heavy. :) Looks like it is laid out really well. Some great pictures throughout and musical examples of works. It's also nice to have a full list of his oeuvre in chronological order.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on February 14, 2015, 10:02:30 PM
Bridcut's documentary on the BBC was so great, but I have found the earlier Discovering Delius film (available as an extra the A Village Romeo & Juliet DVD from Decca) is also worth watching. The segments with Mackerras conducting were quite good, but my favorite part was watching Tasmin Little perform parts from the Violin Concerto. My fellow Delians you've to watch this documentary. It doesn't introduce anything new, but it's still entertaining to watch.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: ritter on April 02, 2015, 10:36:45 AM
For all the avid Delians out there (among whom, I'm afraid, I most definitely don't count myself), it might interest you that the enterprising Wexford Festival in Ireland is staging Koanga in October this year. More information here (http://www.wexfordopera.com/programme/event/koanga)

Cheers,
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on April 02, 2015, 06:47:54 PM
For all the avid Delians out there (among whom, I'm afraid, I most definitely don't count myself), it might interest you that the enterprising Wexford Festival in Ireland is staging Koanga in October this year. More information here (http://www.wexfordopera.com/programme/event/koanga)

Cheers,

Great. I hope a recording comes out of it. Koanga is a magical opera. Thanks for the information (even if you're not a fan of his music). ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on May 04, 2016, 02:01:31 AM
I finally bagged the Handley emi cd of Hassan. It has taken me ages to find a copy. I notice it is now unavailable again! My copy was in lovely condition,so thank you very much to that seller & the fair price (I didn't have to sell my kidneys! ;D). I enjoyed the Beecham,but this is one instance where stereo sound really opens up a score,'Beecham magic',or not! Anyway,even if you like Beecham's recording you need to hear Delius in more modern recordings,as well. This is a lovely score,and the story of it's creation,and creators,included with the booklet makes a very interesting read. This is one to put on with Beni Mora for afters,perhaps!! (Or before?!)
Which reminds me. I finally bagged the emi/cfp cd of Sargent's BBCSO recording ofThe Planets,which includes Beni Mora and Perfect Fool,also recorded by Sargent. You've just got to keep looking,haven't you?!! A great month for collecting! :) I still remember my Lp with the Space vehicle on the front. The first Lp I ever owned!!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on October 30, 2016, 06:28:16 AM
I enjoyed the Beecham,but this is one instance where stereo sound really opens up a score,'Beecham magic',or not! Anyway,even if you like Beecham's recording you need to hear Delius in more modern recordings,as well.

+1  :)

I have immersed myself in his music in the past few days. I'm meeting with friends in a couple of weeks and the topic of our musical encounter will be Delius.

The "delian phrase" is sinuous, airborne. It needs air to breathe and take flight. Balances must be carefully gauged by the conductor and sound engineers (beware of bass heavy textures).  When it comes to recordings, I want to "hear" that airiness. Beecham's mono recordings do not allow it to bloom. His stereo recordings are better in that regard.

Most Delius recordings are not new ("recent" ones are some 30 years old in many cases). This is a case where dated sound make a disservice to the composer, even with conducting as masterly as Beecham, Barbirolli, Sargent.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: zamyrabyrd on April 23, 2017, 07:47:12 AM
I am interested in the influence of Delius on other composers of his time, or the other way around, particularly in writing "American" music. Chronologically he seems to be a few years ahead of say, Dvorak, who came to the US in 1892. Delius wrote his Florida Suite in 1887 and Hiawatha tone poem in 1888. Appalachia: an American rhapsody is dated 1896. He was a trail blazer with his opera Koanga, that used African-American folk music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: cilgwyn on June 05, 2017, 02:13:02 AM
This opera gets some flak from critics;but there is a lyrical intensity and beauty to the sounds of Delius' orchestration and unlike some of VW's operas (which I do quite like) the inspiration seems consistent,and I don't feel I need to worry about the wooliness of the libretto. In fact,I don't bother with the libretto at all,when I listen to it. The voices soar ecstatically on the sails of Delius' lush lyricism. It almost feels like a symphony with voices at times (right though those fair scenes,with carolling voices) and it has an odd atmosphere which is quite different to VW's bluff pastoralism. Also the ending is tragic,and I like happy endings;but it's all done so movingly,it's hard not to blink back a tear. Robert Tear is NOT one of my favourite singers,but contrary to an old Penguin (or Gramophone?) review he's on pretty good form here (what happened?! ;D). I tend to agree with MI,in his Delius days,that this is it's finest recording! :)

(http://i.imgur.com/xU0aEKw.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 11, 2019, 06:00:50 PM
Wow, there haven’t any new posts since 2017?!?!? Not really surprised, but, to my fellow Delians, this will be most useful:

https://delius.music.ox.ac.uk/catalogue/welcome.html (https://delius.music.ox.ac.uk/catalogue/welcome.html)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: J on January 12, 2019, 10:10:49 AM
Wow, there haven’t any new posts since 2017?!?!? Not really surprised, but, to my fellow Delians, this will be most useful:

https://delius.music.ox.ac.uk/catalogue/welcome.html (https://delius.music.ox.ac.uk/catalogue/welcome.html)

Any new Delius recordings (or even books) since then?  Andrew Davis had been doing a series for Chandos some years ago which seems to have ceased, and there was another set on Danacord with Bo Holten (I find neither conductor compelling Delians, or offering a challenge to old favorites), but I'm unaware of other more recent issues.

We still need a comprehensive and definitive biography.  The Browne & Guinery volume "Delius and His Music" referred to earlier is exceptional for contextualizing and analyzing all of the Music, but is in no sense "a Life", - the biographical sections merely provide staging and connective for its compositional focus.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 12, 2019, 08:14:09 PM
Any new Delius recordings (or even books) since then?  Andrew Davis had been doing a series for Chandos some years ago which seems to have ceased, and there was another set on Danacord with Bo Holten (I find neither conductor compelling Delians, or offering a challenge to old favorites), but I'm unaware of other more recent issues.

We still need a comprehensive and definitive biography.  The Bowne & Guinery volume "Delius and His Music" referred to earlier is exceptional for contextualizing and analyzing all of the Music, but is in no sense "a Life", - the biographical sections merely provide staging and connective for its compositional focus.

Yeah, there hasn’t been much in the way of recent biographies or anything. I still feel that Eric Fenby's Delius As I Knew Him tells me more about the composer than a biography ever could and it’s a first-hand account of the composer, which makes it even more special. In terms of recordings, I still go back to the performances from Fenby, Barbirolli, Mackerras, Davies, Hickox, Del Mar, Elder, and Handley (never have been keen on Beecham’s traversal of Delius even though I respect and admire his dedication to the composer’s cause).

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: mjwal on January 14, 2019, 09:09:41 AM
Considering and re-considering Delius over the years - in fact, I didn't succumb to his lure until some time in the mid-70s when I met another music-lover and Delius fan in Frankfurt am Main - I have gone on and off his dreamy music, with phases of intense involvement - entrancement is perhaps an apter expression. There are certain works in certain recordings which can always enchant me, to wit:
Irmelin Prelude, particularly well-done in Mark Elder's recording with the Hallé, which also contains delightful performances of 'The walk to the paradise garden' and Brigg Fair, as well as some Butterworth and Grainger; lovely recordings of some songs by Sarah Walker, Felicity Lott and Rolfe-Johnson on a disc conducted by Fenby, and -my favourite - the setting of Dowson's 'Cynara' as sung by John Shirley Quirk with the Royal Liverpool Phil. directed by Charles Groves. I simply do not know where you can find this jewel now (except on You Tube).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 14, 2019, 09:39:18 AM
Considering and re-considering Delius over the years - in fact, I didn't succumb to his lure until some time in the mid-70s when I met another music-lover and Delius fan in Frankfurt am Main - I have gone on and off his dreamy music, with phases of intense involvement - entrancement is perhaps an apter expression. There are certain works in certain recordings which can always enchant me, to wit:
Irmelin Prelude, particularly well-done in Mark Elder's recording with the Hallé, which also contains delightful performances of 'The walk to the paradise garden' and Brigg Fair, as well as some Butterworth and Grainger; lovely recordings of some songs by Sarah Walker, Felicity Lott and Rolfe-Johnson on a disc conducted by Fenby, and -my favourite - the setting of Dowson's 'Cynara' as sung by John Shirley Quirk with the Royal Liverpool Phil. directed by Charles Groves. I simply do not know where you can find this jewel now (except on You Tube).

To the bolded text, you can find that performance in this still in-print set:



Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: aukhawk on January 15, 2019, 06:40:10 AM
I find it impossible to separate Delius in my mind from the (in)famous Ken Russell film, which made a big impression on a 20-year-old me shortly before I joined the BBC as a sound engineer.  I like Sea Drift best, also Brigg Fair and First Cuckoo, but I suppose that about covers it.
I eventually worked with Ken Russell for two days, as dubbing mixer on one of his later television films - it was late in his career and the fire was long gone I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on January 15, 2019, 06:36:10 PM
I love that Ken Russell film. For a more factual take the BBC documentary has lots going for it.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 15, 2019, 08:12:56 PM
I love that Ken Russell film. For a more factual take the BBC documentary has lots going for it.

Are you referring to the John Bridcut documentary? If yes, then I fully concur. It’s really a fantastic introduction to the composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on January 16, 2019, 01:38:35 AM
I feel that I should like Delius more than I do. Maybe I've been put off by VW's disparaging comment, describing Delius's music as being like 'a curate improvising' or something like that. Having said that there are some works which I rate very highly including the Piano Concerto in its various versions, 'In a Summer Garden' which is a most beautiful work and I find the end of his 'Requiem' very moving.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 16, 2019, 07:37:05 AM
I feel that I should like Delius more than I do. Maybe I've been put off by VW's disparaging comment, describing Delius's music as being like 'a curate improvising' or something like that. Having said that there are some works which I rate very highly including the Piano Concerto in its various versions, 'In a Summer Garden' which is a most beautiful work and I find the end of his 'Requiem' very moving.

That’s a harsh criticism from Vaughan Williams. I never understood the purpose of other composers putting down other composers in public. Behind closed doors, that’s fair game, but I think it shows bad taste to publicly call out another composer. But, obviously, RVW is far from the only composer to insult another composer’s music. Delius has done plenty of it himself and this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Anyway, like you, there are many works from Delius I still think of highly. A few of them: Songs of Sunset, Sea Drift, In a Summer Garden, Appalachia, A Song of the High Hills, the Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto, Double Concerto, Three Preludes, A Village Romeo and Juliet, and Two Pieces for Small Orchestra (On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring/Summer Night on the River).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on January 16, 2019, 08:10:47 AM
Are you referring to the John Bridcut documentary? If yes, then I fully concur. It’s really a fantastic introduction to the composer.

The one that starts with the burial procession at night. Plenty of performances and interviews from Philipe Graffin, Bo Holten and the Aarhus Orchestra, Andrew Davis etc.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on January 16, 2019, 01:17:33 PM
That’s a harsh criticism from Vaughan Williams. I never understood the purpose of other composers putting down other composers in public. Behind closed doors, that’s fair game, but I think it shows bad taste to publicly call out another composer. But, obviously, RVW is far from the only composer to insult another composer’s music. Delius has done plenty of it himself and this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Anyway, like you, there are many works from Delius I still think of highly. A few of them: Songs of Sunset, Sea Drift, In a Summer Garden, Appalachia, A Song of the High Hills, the Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto, Double Concerto, Three Preludes, A Village Romeo and Juliet, and Two Pieces for Small Orchestra (On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring/Summer Night on the River).
Yes, I agree. VW was quite dismissive of Bridge as well, especially the later work and also Bruckner, but I guess that there was little exposure to Bruckner's music in England during VW's lifetime.
I also like the North Country Sketches.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 16, 2019, 07:44:02 PM
The one that starts with the burial procession at night. Plenty of performances and interviews from Philipe Graffin, Bo Holten and the Aarhus Orchestra, Andrew Davis etc.

Yep, that’s the Bridcut documentary. Great stuff, indeed.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 16, 2019, 07:44:28 PM
Yes, I agree. VW was quite dismissive of Bridge as well, especially the later work and also Bruckner, but I guess that there was little exposure to Bruckner's music in England during VW's lifetime.
I also like the North Country Sketches.

Man, I forgot about North Country Sketches. I love this work!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Oates on January 17, 2019, 03:37:45 AM
That’s a harsh criticism from Vaughan Williams. I never understood the purpose of other composers putting down other composers in public. Behind closed doors, that’s fair game, but I think it shows bad taste to publicly call out another composer. But, obviously, RVW is far from the only composer to insult another composer’s music. Delius has done plenty of it himself and this isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Anyway, like you, there are many works from Delius I still think of highly. A few of them: Songs of Sunset, Sea Drift, In a Summer Garden, Appalachia, A Song of the High Hills, the Violin Concerto, Piano Concerto, Double Concerto, Three Preludes, A Village Romeo and Juliet, and Two Pieces for Small Orchestra (On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring/Summer Night on the River).

I don't think that RVW stated this in public actually - probably in a letter that was subsequently quoted after RVW's death. I have never quite understood why he should take against Delius. I love both composers and see a lot of affinity and shared inspirations.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on January 17, 2019, 05:52:42 AM
Listened to yesterday: A BBC Scotland broadcast of a little-known opera by Delius , The Magic Fountain. Magnificent music, from Delius’ Florida period (Daybreak from the Florida Suite appears as a leitmotif throughout). For some reason the engineers seem to have placed a mic right next to the sarrusophone (probably a contrabassoon). There is but one commercial recording and it’s very hard to find at a reasonable price (and Amazon reviews pan the performance of the vocalists). The BBC performance boasted a strong cast, particularly the soprano and bass.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 17, 2019, 08:00:13 AM
I don't think that RVW stated this in public actually - probably in a letter that was subsequently quoted after RVW's death. I have never quite understood why he should take against Delius. I love both composers and see a lot of affinity and shared inspirations.

It’s quite strange, indeed, but also if his quote about Delius is taken from a letter, then this is even worse because it’s ‘written into eternity’ so to speak and I think every composer must be somewhat aware that whenever a letter is sent out with their name on it that it’ll become public knowledge at some point or another.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 17, 2019, 08:02:28 AM
Listened to yesterday: A BBC Scotland broadcast of a little-known opera by Delius , The Magic Fountain. Magnificent music, from Delius’ Florida period (Daybreak from the Florida Suite appears as a leitmotif throughout). For some reason the engineers seem to have placed a mic right next to the sarrusophone (probably a contrabassoon). There is but one commercial recording and it’s very hard to find at a reasonable price (and Amazon reviews pan the performance of the vocalists). The BBC performance boasted a strong cast, particularly the soprano and bass.

I haven’t heard this opera before, but it probably has more to do with the availability of the only recording of it then anything else.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on January 17, 2019, 11:08:47 AM
The BBC production is on youtube.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 17, 2019, 07:34:28 PM
The BBC production is on youtube.

Cool, I’ll have to check it out at some juncture. Thanks.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on January 17, 2019, 07:48:37 PM
Yes, I agree. VW was quite dismissive of Bridge as well, especially the later work and also Bruckner, but I guess that there was little exposure to Bruckner's music in England during VW's lifetime.
I also like the North Country Sketches.

Well, he was entitled to his opinion. He was an artist, not a journalist, and I’d expect strong opinions from him, and not necessarily judiciously expressed, especially in a private communication. I’d only fault him if he went so far as to try to thwart another composer’s career
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Biffo on January 18, 2019, 05:34:49 AM
Well, he was entitled to his opinion. He was an artist, not a journalist, and I’d expect strong opinions from him, and not necessarily judiciously expressed, especially in a private communication. I’d only fault him if he went so far as to try to thwart another composer’s career

RVW was also scathing about Richard Strauss (Liszt plus one) and Gustav Mahler (a tolerable imitation of a composer). He was very supportive of numerous young composers.

Must listen to North Country Sketches again soon.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 12, 2019, 03:48:35 PM
I figured it was high time I raised this thread from the fiery pit of eternal damnation, which I’m sure many of you would like for it to remain. ;) Anyway, I couldn’t help but to read this article again:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9383360/The-chromatic-slithering-of-Delius-leaves-me-cold.html (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9383360/The-chromatic-slithering-of-Delius-leaves-me-cold.html)

My problem with the article isn’t the fact that the writer dislikes Delius’ music but the fact that he felt the need to even write the article in the first place and publish it. It’s one thing to say you dislike a composer, but to devote a whole article as to why you dislike a composer seems over-the-top. Also, this Delian DOES NOT consider him English. He’s only English in that he was born in Bradford, but, for me, Delius will forever remain a composer without a specific country.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on May 12, 2019, 03:53:16 PM
Indeed, what a loser and what a waste of time  ???.

+1 re: him being a composer without a specific country.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 12, 2019, 04:07:51 PM
Indeed, what a loser and what a waste of time  ???.

+1 re: him being a composer without a specific country.

Ha! I’m not sure if I’d call the writer a loser, but it certainly does raise one’s eyebrow, doesn’t it?

There seems to be no new Delius recordings on the horizon, which I suppose shows how popular he is. ;) I have a few questions for you, André: what was the first work you heard by Delius? Was this work love on first listen? What would you say are your favorite works from Delius? Would you say Delius’ music is difficult for people to understand? If yes, why do you feel this way?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on May 12, 2019, 05:20:21 PM
I will sleep over this and get back to you tomorrow  ;)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 12, 2019, 07:24:29 PM
I will sleep over this and get back to you tomorrow  ;)

Sounds like a plan. 8)

Since you’re thinking this one over, how about I go first?

1. What was the first work you heard by Delius?

In a Summer Garden. I had to hit the repeat button as soon as it was over. I probably even listened to it again. The Delian sound-world consumed me from the opening measures. I’ve been a huge fan of his music ever since even though I did go through a period of questioning his importance in my own life, but this is nonsense as one truly never forgets composers who have meant the most to you.

2. Was this work love on first listen?

Absolutely!

3. What would you say are your favorite works from Delius?

A difficult question, but here are some long-standing favorites: In a Summer Garden, Songs of Sunset, Sea Drift, Appalachia, Mass Of Life, Requiem, Violin Concerto, Double Concerto, Violin Sonata No. 3, A Village Romeo & Juliet, Two Pieces for Small Orchestra (On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, Summer Night on the River), Brigg Fair, Piano Concerto, Three Preludes for Piano, To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water, Hassan, String Quartet, Koanga, and Song of the High Hills. All of these works have impressed me over and over through the years, but I’m sure there are others, but I’ll stick with this particular group of works for now.

4. Would you say Delius’ music is difficult for people to understand? If yes, why do you feel this way?

This is a complicated question. I’ve known many Delians and several of them lurk here, but there seems to be an unjust backlash when the name Delius is uttered. It’s curious to know why this is the case. Basically, I’m of the opinion nowadays that people who don’t ‘get’ Delius are people that don’t really understand where the composer is coming from musically. In his mature works, his compositional voice is, without question, unique and singular. The listeners that seem to not like him are puzzled by the lack of drama in his music. His music doesn’t exactly hit you over the head, although the opening bars to Mass Of Life are a notable exception. To me, he is one of the first composers to write ambient music. Not background music, but music that relies heavily on atmosphere and texture to convey a particular feeling or mood. His chromatic harmony also seems to give listeners a problem (or so I’ve read). To me, I think it gives the music color and each sliding chordal voicing is like a different hue of whatever color is being sounded. It gives the music this sense of forward motion. Since one of my interests in music is harmony, Delius was a composer whose musical language I absorbed completely. He still surprises me, too. There were moments when I was listening to Mass Of Life today where I had forgotten how brilliant it was with these unexpected, shifting harmonies, but also the sheer melodicism of the music. I’ve read that Delius isn’t fun to play for an orchestra, but that’s because he didn’t care anything about making his music fun to play, but, rather, he wanted it to say something to the listener. He, I’m assuming, wanted his music to tell a story and unfortunately the vessel in which this story must be told isn’t always pleasurable for the performer, but for this listener, it most certainly is. [I’ve heard similar things said about Bruckner as well] Anyway, this is more or less my two cents on this particular topic.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 12, 2019, 08:24:06 PM
I generally like Delius and I think has a distinct compositional voice and technique. It involves weaving the music from simple motifs, building an all encompassing lyricism. But it leaves him with a limited toolbox, a narrow range of expression. I like the music a lot, but a little goes a along way..

I learned the music from the magnificent Barbirolli collection and never felt a need to look farther. Probably “A Walk to the Paradise Garden and Briggs Fair are my favorite pieces.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 12, 2019, 08:35:49 PM
I generally like Delius and I think has a distinct compositional voice and technique. It involves weaving the music from simple motifs, building an all encompassing lyricism. But it leaves him with a limited toolbox, a narrow range of expression. I like the music a lot, but a little goes a along way..

I learned the music from the magnificent Barbirolli collection and never felt a need to look farther. Probably “A Walk to the Paradise Garden and Briggs Fair are my favorite pieces.

This is a criticism I’ve read many, many times. Of course, I respect your opinion, but I don’t hear any narrow range of expression or a limited toolbox in works like Hassan, Appalachia, or Paris, The Song of a Great City to give three examples. Even a large work like Mass Of Life and Song of the High Hills have surprising turns of phrase that will leave one saying “Where in the world did this come from?” What I do agree with is that many of his works have a certain soundscape that one either has fully accepted or continues to remain indifferent to. I think one of the general problems is a lot of his music is slow-moving. Those expecting Stravinskian rhythms will be sorely disappointed. This is music to dream by and to appreciate in a different way than one might appreciate Janáček or Shostakovich. I recommend looking beyond that Barbirolli set and try some works that you haven’t heard before. My only hope is that you’ll keep an open-mind and understand that Delius doesn’t do what you feel he should do. One simply needs to go with the musical flow and forget everything else.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Biffo on May 13, 2019, 12:10:54 AM
There is a lot in these recent postings to digest so I may come back later, but for now -

I don't think of Delius as 'English', pastoral or otherwise - his influences were many and he has a unique voice
A Mass of Life and the Requiem have always eluded me, I don't like his choral writing in these works.
Sir Mark Elder and the Halle have recorded Brigg Fair and several shorter works but nothing substantial. The premature death of Richard Hickox was a grievous loss.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: aukhawk on May 13, 2019, 01:08:06 AM
They've also recorded Sea Drift. 

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51vInZAc6wL._SX425_PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__.jpg)

Prompted by this thread, I've just set aside half an hour to listen to this wonderful music (spoilt at the end of this recording by the audience applause).  Over the years I've listened to several recordings of Sea Drift but can never really get away from the magic of the old Thomas Beecham version ...

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51AtZR2VWiL._SX450_.jpg)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Biffo on May 13, 2019, 01:18:43 AM
They've also recorded Sea Drift. 

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51vInZAc6wL._SX425_PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__.jpg)

Prompted by this thread, I've just set aside half an hour to listen to this wonderful music (spoilt at the end of this recording by the audience applause).  Over the years I've listened to several recordings of Sea Drift but can never really get away from the magic of the old Thomas Beecham version ...

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51AtZR2VWiL._SX450_.jpg)

Thanks for reminding me of Sea Drift etc from the Halle; this is a disc I have been dithering about for a while.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 04:53:38 AM
There is a lot in these recent postings to digest so I may come back later, but for now -

I don't think of Delius as 'English', pastoral or otherwise - his influences were many and he has a unique voice
A Mass of Life and the Requiem have always eluded me, I don't like his choral writing in these works.
Sir Mark Elder and the Halle have recorded Brigg Fair and several shorter works but nothing substantial. The premature death of Richard Hickox was a grievous loss.

I’ve ‘kind of’ liked Mass of Life for a long-time, but it finally clicked with me yesterday and so I must count it as amongst the other works that I have loved for years. Requiem is a strange kettle of fish, but I loved it on first-listen about 10 years ago. It doesn’t exactly reveal its’ secrets so easily, but I what a glorious noise it makes. Yeah, Elder has recorded a good bit of Delius, but I wouldn’t count him amongst my favorite Delian conductors. As aukhawk pointed out, he also recorded Sea Drift to mixed results, IMHO. I think the best recorded performance of Sea Drift I’ve heard has been from Thomas Hampson with Hickox (+ the BBC National Orchestra of Wales) on a BBC Music Magazine free CD:

(https://img.discogs.com/3RpEnTG9QJ7i4-8p82kX8zwDiXE=/fit-in/600x598/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-3643678-1338627006-6869.jpeg.jpg)

To say it’s exquisite would be an understatement. Track it down if you can.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 05:02:17 AM
They've also recorded Sea Drift. 

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51vInZAc6wL._SX425_PJautoripBadge,BottomRight,4,-40_OU11__.jpg)

Prompted by this thread, I've just set aside half an hour to listen to this wonderful music (spoilt at the end of this recording by the audience applause).  Over the years I've listened to several recordings of Sea Drift but can never really get away from the magic of the old Thomas Beecham version ...

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51AtZR2VWiL._SX450_.jpg)

I never have cared much for Beecham’s Delius. He’s a conductor that lacked a certain nuance and sensitivity that this music, IMHO, most definitely requires. Anthony Collins was a much better Delian than Beecham.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: aukhawk on May 13, 2019, 05:16:47 AM
It's just that in Sea Drift you're completely at the mercy of the baritone - and of those I've heard I like Bruce Boyce best.

Thanks for reminding me of Sea Drift etc from the Halle; this is a disc I have been dithering about for a while.

It's a fine recording - and when I mentioned the applause, it's not that intrusive, there is a respectful silence first - it's just that when you're sitting there deciding whether to cut your own throat now, or wait until after lunch - the last thing you need is a standing ovation !
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 05:20:30 AM
It's just that in Sea Drift you're completely at the mercy of the baritone - and of those I've heard I like Bruce Boyce best.

I understand, but I will say that the orchestral accompaniment in Sea Drift is quite important and Beecham drives the music a bit too hard for my liking. Of course, we both love the work and that’s what really matters here.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Biffo on May 13, 2019, 07:19:29 AM
I have ordered the Halle/Elder disc and also decided to give the Mass of Life another try with a used copy of the Hickox version - hopefully a modern recording will overcome some of my reservations
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dima on May 13, 2019, 07:29:32 AM
I figured it was high time I raised this thread from the fiery pit of eternal damnation, which I’m sure many of you would like for it to remain. ;) Anyway, I couldn’t help but to read this article again:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9383360/The-chromatic-slithering-of-Delius-leaves-me-cold.html (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/classicalmusic/9383360/The-chromatic-slithering-of-Delius-leaves-me-cold.html)

My problem with the article isn’t the fact that the writer dislikes Delius’ music but the fact that he felt the need to even write the article in the first place and publish it. It’s one thing to say you dislike a composer, but to devote a whole article as to why you dislike a composer seems over-the-top. Also, this Delian DOES NOT consider him English. He’s only English in that he was born in Bradford, but, for me, Delius will forever remain a composer without a specific country.

I don't respect such views as in the article.
Music for someone is like sport - you must curse the opposing team, and praise your team. The same is with composer's fans.
I don't know much of Delius music but orchestral music of Delius is almost genius. I know that Elgar is more popular in Britain.
But from my point of view they are comparable composers, from whom I prefer Delius.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 13, 2019, 07:33:50 AM
This is a criticism I’ve read many, many times. Of course, I respect your opinion, but I don’t hear any narrow range of expression or a limited toolbox in works like Hassan, Appalachia, or Paris, The Song of a Great City to give three examples. Even a large work like Mass Of Life and Song of the High Hills have surprising turns of phrase that will leave one saying “Where in the world did this come from?” What I do agree with is that many of his works have a certain soundscape that one either has fully accepted or continues to remain indifferent to. I think one of the general problems is a lot of his music is slow-moving. Those expecting Stravinskian rhythms will be sorely disappointed. This is music to dream by and to appreciate in a different way than one might appreciate Janáček or Shostakovich. I recommend looking beyond that Barbirolli set and try some works that you haven’t heard before. My only hope is that you’ll keep an open-mind and understand that Delius doesn’t do what you feel he should do. One simply needs to go with the musical flow and forget everything else.

You don't have to sell me on Delius, except for the Mass of Life I've heard everything you've mentioned and I find a lot of it exquisite. I'm not interested in the vocal music, but I still have his chamber music to explore (violin sonatas, cello sonata, string quartet). I'll get to it eventually.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 07:53:29 AM
I have ordered the Halle/Elder disc and also decided to give the Mass of Life another try with a used copy of the Hickox version - hopefully a modern recording will overcome some of my reservations

Excellent! Mass Of Life is an incredible work, but it does require patience. It’s also Delius’ largest, and longest, work. The Hickox recording is exquisite.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 07:55:08 AM
I don't respect such views as in the article.
Music for someone is like sport - you must curse the opposing team, and praise your team. The same is with composer's fans.
I don't know much of Delius music but orchestral music of Delius is almost genius. I know that Elgar is more popular in Britain.
But from my point of view they are comparable composers, from whom I prefer Delius.

I still say the article was pointless and downright nasty. As I stated previously, if you don’t like a composer, that’s alright with me, but to dedicate a whole article to your disdain for a composer is ridiculous. Good that you like Delius. He rewards the listener the more you dig into his oeuvre.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 07:56:06 AM
You don't have to sell me on Delius, except for the Mass of Life I've heard everything you've mentioned and I find a lot of it exquisite. I'm not interested in the vocal music, but I still have his chamber music to explore (violin sonatas, cello sonata, string quartet). I'll get to it eventually.

Great to hear, Scarpia. 8) Sorry, it seems I’ve been trying to sell listeners on Delius for years. Perhaps I should just throw in the towel? :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 08:06:51 AM
By the way, I would love for all the participants (sans those who dislike Delius ;) ) to answer these questions:

1. What was the first work you heard by Delius? Was this work love on first-listen?

2. What would you say are your favorite works from Delius?

3. Would you say Delius’ music is difficult for people to understand? If yes, why do you feel this way?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 13, 2019, 08:11:37 AM
Great to hear, Scarpia. 8) Sorry, it seems I’ve been trying to sell listeners on Delius for years. Perhaps I should just throw in the towel? :)

You don't get it. Barbirolli sold me on Delius decades ago. Music sells music, not words. :)

Delius was Barbirolli's last recording. He had serious heart disease. He collapsed on the podium in the middle of the session and was taken to Hospital. He checked himself out of the hospital and returned to Kingsway Hall to finish the recording. He lived another two weeks after that.

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 08:24:14 AM
Good to hear, Scarpia.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on May 13, 2019, 09:02:29 AM
By the way, I would love for all the participants (sans those who dislike Delius ;) ) to answer these questions:

1. What was the first work you heard by Delius? Was this work love on first-listen?

2. What would you say are your favorite works from Delius?

3. Would you say Delius’ music is difficult for people to understand? If yes, why do you feel this way?

1. Probably In a Summer Garden (Barbirolli) I think that a friend had it on LP when I was at university - yes, love on first listen. Oddly I associate it with having a youthful crush on a barmaid in a local pub whom I never had the courage to talk to. In this respect I identified strongly with Charlie Brown.  ::)

2. In a Summer Garden, the Piano Concerto, Paris, North Country Sketches, Brigg Fair, Requiem

3. No, quite approachable if your in the right frame of mind I think.

Prob my first Delius LP:
(http://)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 09:31:33 AM
1. Probably In a Summer Garden (Barbirolli) I think that a friend had it on LP when I was at university - yes, love on first listen. Oddly I associate it with having a youthful crush on a barmaid in a local pub whom I never had the courage to talk to. In this respect I identified strongly with Charlie Brown.  ::)

2. In a Summer Garden, the Piano Concerto, Paris, North Country Sketches, Brigg Fair, Requiem

3. No, quite approachable if your in the right frame of mind I think.

Prob my first Delius LP:
(http://)

Very nice, Jeffrey. In a Summer Garden was the first work I heard as well, but only I heard Mackerras’ performance of it on Decca. What to you think of the string concerti: Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, and Double Concerto?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on May 13, 2019, 11:18:59 AM
Very nice, Jeffrey. In a Summer Garden was the first work I heard as well, but only I heard Mackerras’ performance of it on Decca. What to you think of the string concerti: Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, and Double Concerto?
Hi John. I like the VC but am less familiar with the others - but the Piano Concerto is my favourite.
This LP gave me a lot of pleasure:
(http://)

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Dima on May 13, 2019, 11:52:12 AM
By the way, I would love for all the participants (sans those who dislike Delius ;) ) to answer these questions:

1. What was the first work you heard by Delius? Was this work love on first-listen?

2. What would you say are your favorite works from Delius?

3. Would you say Delius’ music is difficult for people to understand? If yes, why do you feel this way?

1. Gennady Rozhdestvensky have made special concerts in Moscow introducing russian listeners to English music (it was
about 10 concerts). He made also lectures on this concerts. There I listened to Delius for the first time. It was concerto
for piano. It was played by Viktoriya Postnikova. My impressions was: Postnikova played this concerto as it was the
greatest concerto in the world, but it was just rather interesting work as I thought. I have the recording of this concert
with Postnikova, but still didn't relisten it. I will listen it one day, because today my view on Delius changed radically.

2. As I have said I don't know many of his works, but when my friend sent me for relaxing two parts from Florida Suite I
was impressed much. These parts:
a) Delius - Florida Suite: III. Around the Plantation ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daavjUkUzss )
b) Florida Suite: At Night ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rI1OsWSb5ls )

3. These music I think is for those who prefer slow beautiful relaxing music.

P.S. I'm going to watch the film about Delius life because I don't know nothing about him.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 02:05:42 PM
Okay, I’m back to hating Delius. :P
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: SymphonicAddict on May 13, 2019, 03:22:27 PM
I don't think that Delius will be one of my favorite British (or whatever nationality) composers, but I do enjoy some works of his, being my overall favorite Florida Suite. In spite of being an early work, it's a sincere, pastoral, lovely and bucolic piece of a significant inspiration. Besides it, the violin sonatas, Appalachia and the String Quartet are other firm favorites. I've listened to the most of his orchestral works, whilst they are pleasant, they don't grab me as much as I wanted.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 03:26:44 PM
I don't think that Delius will be one of my favorite British (or whatever nationality) composers, but I do enjoy some works of his, being my overall favorite Florida Suite. In spite of being an early work, it's a sincere, pastoral, lovely and bucolic piece of a significant inspiration. Besides it, the violin sonatas, Appalachia and the String Quartet are other firm favorites. I've listened to the most of his orchestral works, whilst they are pleasant, they don't grab me as much as I wanted.

I truly have a love/hate relationship with the composer and I understand completely where you’re coming from and really anyone who doesn’t like a lot of his music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: SymphonicAddict on May 13, 2019, 04:38:04 PM
I truly have a love/hate relationship with the composer and I understand completely where you’re coming from and really anyone who doesn’t like a lot of his music.

Why do you mention 'hate'? Don't you like completely his music?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: springrite on May 13, 2019, 04:44:04 PM
Okay, I’m back to hating Delius. :P
It must be fun to be your lover, with frequent sabbaticals in between and many inevitable reunions.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 04:50:50 PM
It must be fun to be your lover, with frequent sabbaticals in between and many inevitable reunions.

Ssshhhh....don’t tell them. :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on May 13, 2019, 04:52:21 PM
Why do you mention 'hate'? Don't you like completely his music?

Not completely, no. I have periods where I like it, but then, at other times, I wonder what the in the world was he thinking and why I’m even listening?

Edit: I think I have finally just moved on from Delius as his music doesn’t fulfill me any longer. I don’t know how to explain it. There are just so many better composers than Delius and ones that have a lot of variety in their music to keep me on my toes. But I suppose the most important thing is I’m not head-over-hills in love with his music like I am say Debussy’s. I truly believe there’s only but a handful of composers that end up being favorites after all of the dust has settled. Delius was a composer I liked a lot early on, but I realize now that I’ve simply moved on and my tastes over time have become much more refined, but I’ve also become a lot more critical of other composers as well. Whether this is a good or bad is not for me to say, but it’s how I have felt for the past two years or so.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 13, 2019, 06:03:51 PM
I don't think that Delius will be one of my favorite British (or whatever nationality) composers, but I do enjoy some works of his, being my overall favorite Florida Suite. In spite of being an early work, it's a sincere, pastoral, lovely and bucolic piece of a significant inspiration. Besides it, the violin sonatas, Appalachia and the String Quartet are other firm favorites. I've listened to the most of his orchestral works, whilst they are pleasant, they don't grab me as much as I wanted.

I’m somewhere close to that. Some of his miniatures are absolutely unique. Walk to the Paradise Garden, etc, but the long form works don’t really resonate, except for Briggs fair, which I remember as an extended rhapsody of folk inspired music. As I said somewhere above, a very fine composer with a limited scope. I’m curious about the chamber music.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 13, 2019, 06:12:54 PM
It must be fun to be your lover, with frequent sabbaticals in between and many inevitable reunions.

“I love you” (goes to mail box, returns) “I hate you.”  Yes, would be epic. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on May 13, 2019, 11:22:14 PM
My views are similar to Cesar's I think. Delius has never been one of my favourite composers and some of his most popular works like A Walk to the Paradise Garden I don't like at all. However, the Piano Concerto and In a Summer Garden are works that I think very highly of, also the North Country Sketches. He is sometimes compared to Moeran but I much prefer Moeran's music on the whole.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: aukhawk on May 13, 2019, 11:26:00 PM
P.S. I'm going to watch the film about Delius life because I don't know nothing about him.

Spoiler

Delius:  Fenby, I feel a tune coming on - take this down - [in a monotone] TAAAA TA TAA, TAAAA TA TAA

Fenby:  [quietly to himself] **^@#~%* !!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 14, 2019, 06:43:27 AM
My views are similar to Cesar's I think. Delius has never been one of my favourite composers and some of his most popular works like A Walk to the Paradise Garden I don't like at all. However, the Piano Concerto and In a Summer Garden are works that I think very highly of, also the North Country Sketches. He is sometimes compared to Moeran but I much prefer Moeran's music on the whole.

Don't like the "Walk?" How can that be?  :o

I have a recording of the piano concerto, paired with the Ireland concerto. Maybe I should pull it out.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Roasted Swan on May 14, 2019, 07:00:30 AM
He is sometimes compared to Moeran

Where?!  I've read most of the Delius and all of the Moeran literature and I can't remember a detailed comparison being made anywhere.  Quite quite different - Moeran influenced by folksong/the Elizabethans and Sibelius in his symphony.  Delius none of the above.  Neither do they share the same aesthetic. 

Not sure the occasional similar harmonic progression counts as being comparable.......  The only tangible link is they both knew Philip Heseltine/Peter Warlock well
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Florestan on May 14, 2019, 07:06:17 AM
The only Delius I've heard so far is Idylle de Printemps from this:

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/198/MI0003198319.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I quite liked it --- nay, it sounded right up my alley, actually. So where do I get from here?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Roasted Swan on May 14, 2019, 11:37:12 AM
The only Delius I've heard so far is Idylle de Printemps from this:

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/198/MI0003198319.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I quite liked it --- nay, it sounded right up my alley, actually. So where do I get from here?

Probably with a collection of the shorter works in a similar vein to the Idylle you mention.  This Naxos disc is an exceptionally well programmed and played selection and NOT just of the miniature "pops".  There are some rare gems here as well as things such as "The Walk to the Paradise Garden" which - pace Vandermolen - capture the very essence of Delius



After that the bigger orchestral works - Appalachia / Songs of the High Hills / North Country Sketches are all wonderful works and very typical of his pantheistic vision.  In many ways his "Mass of Life" is the work which embodies his life's creed the best - but its not the easiest work to assimilate.  If you do fancy it my favourite performance is the blazing live version on Intaglio featuring a young Te Kanawa's UK debut (or very early performance at least)

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 14, 2019, 11:40:51 AM
I quite liked it --- nay, it sounded right up my alley, actually. So where do I get from here?

IMHO, no one surpasses Barbirolli



The well known miniatures and two of the large scale pieces.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on May 14, 2019, 01:58:41 PM
An excellent set indeed, lots of Delius miles will be covered with it  :).

Sea Drift and the Florida Suite should be sought too.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Roasted Swan on May 14, 2019, 10:04:29 PM
IMHO, no one surpasses Barbirolli



The well known miniatures and two of the large scale pieces.

Wasn't the Appalachia in this box Barbirolli's very last recording....?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Biffo on May 14, 2019, 11:54:20 PM
Wasn't the Appalachia in this box Barbirolli's very last recording....?

Barbirolli collapsed while recording Appalachia but recovered and carried on. The following day (18th July 1970) he completed Appalachia and the recorded Brigg Fair.

He carried on rehearsing and giving concerts including Elgar 1 in King's Lynn (24th July), his last live recording. His last performance was of Beethoven 7.  He rehearsed Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem and Beethoven's Eroica on 28th July and died the same night of a massive heart attack.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Roasted Swan on May 15, 2019, 01:03:43 AM
Barbirolli collapsed while recording Appalachia but recovered and carried on. The following day (18th July 1970) he completed Appalachia and the recorded Brigg Fair.

He carried on rehearsing and giving concerts including Elgar 1 in King's Lynn (24th July), his last live recording. His last performance was of Beethoven 7.  He rehearsed Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem and Beethoven's Eroica on 28th July and died the same night of a massive heart attack.

thankyou for clarifying that.  A curious rather poignant aptness that Delius and Appalachia in particular were indeed part of Barbirolli's final studio recording given that Delius is very much pre-occupied with the idea of transience parting and farewell.  There is that extraordinarily rapturous climax at the end of Appalachia; "t'wards the morning lift a voice, let the scented woods rejoice and echoes swell across the mighty stream" before the music fades to quiet reflection - quite possibly my favourite moment in all Delius along with the closing pages of "A Village Romeo & Juliet" which inhabit a very similar emotional world.....
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 15, 2019, 07:19:31 AM
Wasn't the Appalachia in this box Barbirolli's very last recording....?

Proof that no one reads my posts!  :)

You don't get it. Barbirolli sold me on Delius decades ago. Music sells music, not words. :)

Delius was Barbirolli's last recording. He had serious heart disease. He collapsed on the podium in the middle of the session and was taken to Hospital. He checked himself out of the hospital and returned to Kingsway Hall to finish the recording. He lived another two weeks after that.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: aukhawk on May 16, 2019, 02:01:09 AM
Delius was Barbirolli's last recording. He had serious heart disease. He collapsed on the podium in the middle of the session and was taken to Hospital. He checked himself out of the hospital and returned to Kingsway Hall to finish the recording. He lived another two weeks after that.

That must have cost a fortune, at MU session rates.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Biffo on May 16, 2019, 02:21:16 AM
That must have cost a fortune, at MU session rates.

Barbirolli collapsed just before the afternoon 3 hour session was due to start. An ambulance was called but Barbirolli was determined to carry on. After consulting his doctor, Michael Linnet, on the phone he went home to rest. Presumably the session was cancelled; there was no hospital visit and no orchestra waiting round for him. He returned next day to finish Appalachia and then recorded Brigg Fair - his last studio recording.

Source: Barbirolli Conductor Laureate by Michael Kennedy
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on May 16, 2019, 07:08:29 AM
Barbirolli collapsed just before the afternoon 3 hour session was due to start. An ambulance was called but Barbirolli was determined to carry on. After consulting his doctor, Michael Linnet, on the phone he went home to rest. Presumably the session was cancelled; there was no hospital visit and no orchestra waiting round for him. He returned next day to finish Appalachia and then recorded Brigg Fair - his last studio recording.

Source: Barbirolli Conductor Laureate by Michael Kennedy

There you go, reading books, when I was trying to recall what I read in the CD booklet notes. I returned to the booklet just now, less detailed that what you found out. One interesting detail, a photograph of Barbirolli in the control room listening to playback of the tapes of Appalachia with the record producer. He's got a cigarette in his mouth. Just the cure for a man who had been passing out with heart attacks.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on May 16, 2019, 07:06:03 PM
I don't think that Delius will be one of my favorite British (or whatever nationality) composers, but I do enjoy some works of his, being my overall favorite Florida Suite. In spite of being an early work, it's a sincere, pastoral, lovely and bucolic piece of a significant inspiration. Besides it, the violin sonatas, Appalachia and the String Quartet are other firm favorites. I've listened to the most of his orchestral works, whilst they are pleasant, they don't grab me as much as I wanted.

Very much agree with this. The lovely Florida Suite may not be mature Delius, but it's by some distance the work of his which I return to the most. I'd also add North Country Sketches and the Piano Concerto to my list of favorite Delius works.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: kyjo on May 16, 2019, 07:08:26 PM
The only Delius I've heard so far is Idylle de Printemps from this:

(https://cps-static.rovicorp.com/3/JPG_500/MI0003/198/MI0003198319.jpg?partner=allrovi.com)

I quite liked it --- nay, it sounded right up my alley, actually. So where do I get from here?

Andrei, you'd absolutely LOVE the Florida Suite!!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Roasted Swan on May 21, 2019, 03:24:06 AM
I've been thinking about buying this disc for ages and recently took the plunge.



Very good versions of both works recorded in Chandos' favoured slightly recessed SA-CD sound.  I must admit I prefer the immediacy and 'bite' of their older house-recording style.  I read somewhere that they might be giving up on the SA-CD/muti-channel format.

As far as performances go I'm not always that enamoured of Davis in Delius but this is one of his better discs.  Would it automatically supplant other/older/favourite versions?.......

 


 



no ..... but glad to have it for comparison (if pushed for one I'd go for the BBC Radio Classics version)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Maestro267 on May 21, 2019, 04:06:54 AM
How convenient this thread should show up. I picked up a disc last week of Delius orchestral works, including Paris: The Song of a Great City, Brigg Fair and In A Summer Garden (BBC SO/A. Davis). I vaguely recall hearing Paris at a Prom some time ago.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vers la flamme on January 17, 2020, 03:31:47 PM
Anyone been listening to Delius lately?

My opinions on this composer keep going back and forth. I was initially really impressed, when I heard the Florida Suite. I was excited that a composer created a work in tribute to my home state. So then, perhaps jumping the gun a little bit, I bought a 2CD with the Florida Suite and another hour and a half of other Delius works, conducted by Charles Mackerras. I listened to the 2CD once and hated it, thought it was the most tedious, boring music I'd ever heard.

Fast forward to a few days ago, I ended up getting this set for dirt cheap:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/811bJrzKTcL._SL1200_.jpg)

Having spent the past week listening to it, I find that the Delius works included are my favorites on the whole 2CD. What's going on? Is the blame for my initial underwhelmedness to lie with Mackerras? Or was I just not in the right mood then, and I am now? Well, those questions are for me to figure out myself, but I'm happy to count myself as one of those who appreciate Delius' music. My favorite of the works I've heard is "The Walk to Paradise Garden" from A Village Romeo and Juliet. One of these days, a couple of years down the line, perhaps, when I understand opera better, I will hear the whole opera.

Meanwhile, what are some other Delius works worthy of consideration? I really do not know much about this composer.

Finally, just a random question, do you consider Delius to be a late Romantic composer, like an Elgar, or a Modernist composer like a Vaughan Williams? Both? Just curious.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Roasted Swan on January 18, 2020, 12:18:21 AM
Anyone been listening to Delius lately?

My opinions on this composer keep going back and forth. I was initially really impressed, when I heard the Florida Suite. I was excited that a composer created a work in tribute to my home state. So then, perhaps jumping the gun a little bit, I bought a 2CD with the Florida Suite and another hour and a half of other Delius works, conducted by Charles Mackerras. I listened to the 2CD once and hated it, thought it was the most tedious, boring music I'd ever heard.

Fast forward to a few days ago, I ended up getting this set for dirt cheap:

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/811bJrzKTcL._SL1200_.jpg)

Meanwhile, what are some other Delius works worthy of consideration? I really do not know much about this composer.

Finally, just a random question, do you consider Delius to be a late Romantic composer, like an Elgar, or a Modernist composer like a Vaughan Williams? Both? Just curious.

I think Delius is an artist (NB: NOT composer) of his age and place.  And by place I do really mean end of the 19th Century Paris.  For all of where he came from/trained etc I think that kind of cafe bohemian lifestyle with creatives from all the Arts mingling is the essence of who he was.  Sprinkle in a fair dash of Grieg/Scandanavian hills etc light the blue touch paper and off you go.

Your question about Late Romantic/Modernist is a good one and I think the answer is both.  Delius is most fascinated with the concept of transient beauty - all things decay and die and then there is nothing.  So the key is to preserve the moment of ultimate beauty.  Its not a preservation in aspic - its the capturing of one moment.  Most of his greatest works contain what might be called "gestures of farewell" - an acknowledgement of passing.  The Walk to the Paradise Garden is a good example - in the context of the opera (although a late addition to the work to cover a scene change!) it represents the two young lovers biding farewell to the world before the their suicide pact - which in turn is "witnessed" by oarsmen on the river 'passing by'.  Likewise - Appalachia - one of his greatest works I feel - is a set of variations on a song about departure and climaxes towards the end with a great choral rapturous cry.

Delius is most certainly not a virtuoso orchestrator in the manner of many late-19th century composers but goodness me he is individual - mainly achieved by his harmonic progressions.  Harmonically he writes little if anything many of his contemporaries weren't emulating or writing in a more advanced manner  - but his juxtaposition of chord to chord is unique and instantly recognisable.  The Straussian "Paris" is probably the nearest he got to try and write a typical big tone poem - some of it is stunning but as often the case with Delius its the 'mood' moments rather than the big set pieces that work best.  Vocal music is inextricably linked with so much of his music so if you are not into opera or choral works much will not engage you (I enjoy the sheer energy of much of Mass of Life but struggle to engage with its philosophy for example).  However, I would say "A Late Lark" is stunning - and for me very moving.  Of the other bigger orchestral works "A Song of the High Hills" captures much of essence of Delius.

Mackerras I have to say I like in Delius - more robust than others.  The idea that his music is this delicate scented-hankie music is quite wrong but it is elusive.  Also his greatest limitation is also his greatest strength which is that he does have a limited expressive range.  Most of his music does revisit a certain mood or outlook.  When you are in the mood it is amazing, if not then there is little to engage.  He remains one of my favourite composers because I think he is a visionary and I respond to his aesthetic.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vers la flamme on January 18, 2020, 05:47:57 AM
I think Delius is an artist (NB: NOT composer) of his age and place.  And by place I do really mean end of the 19th Century Paris.  For all of where he came from/trained etc I think that kind of cafe bohemian lifestyle with creatives from all the Arts mingling is the essence of who he was.  Sprinkle in a fair dash of Grieg/Scandanavian hills etc light the blue touch paper and off you go.

Your question about Late Romantic/Modernist is a good one and I think the answer is both.  Delius is most fascinated with the concept of transient beauty - all things decay and die and then there is nothing.  So the key is to preserve the moment of ultimate beauty.  Its not a preservation in aspic - its the capturing of one moment.  Most of his greatest works contain what might be called "gestures of farewell" - an acknowledgement of passing.  The Walk to the Paradise Garden is a good example - in the context of the opera (although a late addition to the work to cover a scene change!) it represents the two young lovers biding farewell to the world before the their suicide pact - which in turn is "witnessed" by oarsmen on the river 'passing by'.  Likewise - Appalachia - one of his greatest works I feel - is a set of variations on a song about departure and climaxes towards the end with a great choral rapturous cry.

Delius is most certainly not a virtuoso orchestrator in the manner of many late-19th century composers but goodness me he is individual - mainly achieved by his harmonic progressions.  Harmonically he writes little if anything many of his contemporaries weren't emulating or writing in a more advanced manner  - but his juxtaposition of chord to chord is unique and instantly recognisable.  The Straussian "Paris" is probably the nearest he got to try and write a typical big tone poem - some of it is stunning but as often the case with Delius its the 'mood' moments rather than the big set pieces that work best.  Vocal music is inextricably linked with so much of his music so if you are not into opera or choral works much will not engage you (I enjoy the sheer energy of much of Mass of Life but struggle to engage with its philosophy for example).  However, I would say "A Late Lark" is stunning - and for me very moving.  Of the other bigger orchestral works "A Song of the High Hills" captures much of essence of Delius.

Mackerras I have to say I like in Delius - more robust than others.  The idea that his music is this delicate scented-hankie music is quite wrong but it is elusive.  Also his greatest limitation is also his greatest strength which is that he does have a limited expressive range.  Most of his music does revisit a certain mood or outlook.  When you are in the mood it is amazing, if not then there is little to engage.  He remains one of my favourite composers because I think he is a visionary and I respond to his aesthetic.

Excellent post, Roasted Swan. You've given me a lot to think about, and these words may contain the key to what is drawing me into Delius' music. When you talk about transient beauty, this is a very fascinating aspect of life on earth to me, perhaps the most fascinating, and it is also one of the most difficult things to capture in art. To relate to a very different composer, I think something similar is at the core of Brahms' music, this transience, only captured in a different way (more long-form, snapshots of a lifetime through many different moments – whereas perhaps Delius is capturing only one of these moments in a given work?–in some of his music, I feel like he is trying to capture or recreate a single memory.)

Anyway, I think the idea of capturing a single moment like this, in stillness, perhaps, is a very Modernist idea, and indeed something to come right out of its time and place. But I'm starting to think that Delius' music is greater than I thought. I shall have to spend a lot more time with it over the years, but for now, I'm glad that at least I do not hate it anymore  ;D

I wonder why you say "artist, NOT composer". Could you spell it out for me?

Oh, and re: Mackerras, I will have to give him another shot.

Thanks again for the most enlightening words!
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Traverso on January 18, 2020, 07:47:36 AM
Indeed excellent post,listening now to Koanga 
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2020, 07:58:02 AM
I wonder why you say "artist, NOT composer". Could you spell it out for me?

Probably because he paints instead of ‘composes’ if you get my drift. I had a strong Delius phase many years ago and he was even my favorite composer at one point, but this was before I ‘saw the light’ so to speak and realized that he wasn’t as endearing and musically inventive as Debussy (and so many others around this particular time). Karl Henning once said that “Delius was a poor man’s Debussy”. I soon realized that this criticism wasn’t far-fetched. One of the problems with Delius’ music for me, besides its general one mood atmosphere, is you can tell that the music wasn’t carefully thought out and this is backed up by his avoidance of making notational tempi markings or giving the perform any kind of instruction on how he wanted the music to sound. In fact, there were no guidelines in any of Delius’ music. Sir Thomas Beecham, an ardent champion of the composer, edited a lot of his manuscripts and added in a lot of technical information that Delius failed to put into the music, which I thought was interesting because now I’m hearing more of Beecham’s ideas than the composer’s own. The more I started reading about Delius, the more I started realizing what a poor composer he was. Also, he couldn’t write a rhythm to save his life and me being a former percussionist finds this to be a fatal flaw in his music. It’s just a lot of rhapsodizing and then ‘poof!’ the work is over. It took me quite some time to come down from the clouds to admit I was wrong about Delius, but nowadays, I’m more than happy to point out what I have a problem with and why I believe he’s just not a good composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vers la flamme on January 18, 2020, 08:02:59 AM
Probably because he paints instead of ‘composes’ if you get my drift. I had a strong Delius phase many years ago and he was even my favorite composer at one point, but this was before I ‘saw the light’ so to speak and realized that he wasn’t as endearing and musically inventive as Debussy (and so many others around this particular time). Karl Henning once said that “Delius was a poor man’s Debussy”. I soon realized that this criticism wasn’t far-fetched. One of the problems with Delius’ music for me, besides its general one mood atmosphere, is you can tell that the music wasn’t carefully thought out and this is backed up by his avoidance of making notational tempi markings or giving the perform any kind of instruction on how he wanted the music to sound. In fact, there were no guidelines in any of Delius’ music. Sir Thomas Beecham, an ardent champion of the composer, edited a lot of his manuscripts and added in a lot of technical information that Delius failed to put into the music. The more I started reading about Delius, the more I started realizing what a poor composer he was. Also, he couldn’t write a rhythm to save his life and me being a former percussionist finds this to be a fatal flaw in his music. It’s just a lot of rhapsodizing and then ‘poof!’ the work is over. It took me quite some time to come down from the clouds to admit I was wrong about Delius, but nowadays, I’m more than happy to point out what I have a problem with and why I believe he’s just not a good composer.

Well, if you're comparing Delius to Debussy, of course you're not going to like his music. He's his own man from a completely different background. As far as all of the technical details you mention, those things don't bother me as long as the music sounds good. Admittedly, while it is sounding good to me now, I already admitted that I once found his music tedious and pointless, and perhaps I will return to that perception of him in the future. Until then, I am content to enjoy the sounds of his music regardless of any perceived shortcomings.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2020, 08:05:43 AM
Well, if you're comparing Delius to Debussy, of course you're not going to like his music. He's his own man from a completely different background. As far as all of the technical details you mention, those things don't bother me as long as the music sounds good. Admittedly, while it is sounding good to me now, I already admitted that I once found his music tedious and pointless, and perhaps I will return to that perception of him in the future. Until then, I am content to enjoy the sounds of his music regardless of any perceived shortcomings.

Well, that’s good for you. I personally have figured out why I believe he’s not a good composer and shared them with you. For better or for worse, this is my stance on his music. If you enjoy some of his music, then more power to you.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on January 18, 2020, 08:38:24 AM
Yesterday I hesitated to post my thoughts on the question. Elusiveness is part of Delius’ composing mind, so characteristics of style are hard to pinpoint.

I’m glad Roasted Swan posted his comment, to which I absolutely concur. ‘Transient beauty’, ‘preserve the moment of ultimate beauty’ nails it very well, indeed perfectly IMO. In this regard Delius was an obsessed man, and in the end if his mind and his music go in circles, well it's a circle of beauty in all its variations.

The Nocturne section of Mass of Life and Sea Drift epitomize this as much as the other works mentioned.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Roasted Swan on January 18, 2020, 10:59:30 AM
Excellent post, Roasted Swan. You've given me a lot to think about, and these words may contain the key to what is drawing me into Delius' music. When you talk about transient beauty, this is a very fascinating aspect of life on earth to me, perhaps the most fascinating, and it is also one of the most difficult things to capture in art. To relate to a very different composer, I think something similar is at the core of Brahms' music, this transience, only captured in a different way (more long-form, snapshots of a lifetime through many different moments – whereas perhaps Delius is capturing only one of these moments in a given work?–in some of his music, I feel like he is trying to capture or recreate a single memory.)

Anyway, I think the idea of capturing a single moment like this, in stillness, perhaps, is a very Modernist idea, and indeed something to come right out of its time and place. But I'm starting to think that Delius' music is greater than I thought. I shall have to spend a lot more time with it over the years, but for now, I'm glad that at least I do not hate it anymore  ;D

I wonder why you say "artist, NOT composer". Could you spell it out for me?

Oh, and re: Mackerras, I will have to give him another shot.

Thanks again for the most enlightening words!

The reason I say Artist is in the sense of someone absorbed by the Arts.  Some composers you (well I do!) imagine functioning wholly and exclusive in the sphere of music.  Delius was part of that time when literature influenced art influenced music etc and I suspect that Paris (as with Vienna at the same time) was an extraordinary place to be where all the Arts "cross pollinated".

Andre's mention of Sea Drift and the Nocturnes in the Mass are good shouts.  I always twitch a bit when someone says a particular composer is "bad" since the frame of reference is never set.  Mirror Image is a percussionist so he doesn't like Delius - a perfectly understandable point of view.  I have a friend who spent 30 years as harpist in a major British Orchestra - hated Elgar because they feel Elgar writes badly for the harp (I have no idea I will take their word for it).  But if you turn that argument around - how well did a composer achieve their set goal - then the measure of "good" or "bad" must shift.  I believe that Delius achieved what he himself set out to do.  He never chose to write a set of Preludes and Fugues or a standard Symphony so why compare to composers who did?!

The question about his music "needing" editing by Beecham is a proverbial barrel of worms.  Mark Elder - I'm pretty sure it was him! - in a TV documentary was pretty scathing about the choices Beecham imposed on the music - I seem to remember him referencing Sea Drift.  Of course it is not as extreme as say the early editions of Bruckner with the "improvements" sincere but misguided.  But I do wonder if Beecham "smoothed" out some of the edges and muscularity in Delius.  Beauty can still be cruel......
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on January 18, 2020, 01:46:16 PM
Some worthy videos to watch/hear on Youtube

- Fenby’s testimony on his years with Delius. Approx one hour.
Part one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWO58FmUANU (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWO58FmUANU)
Part two:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGeXyy2V8PM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gGeXyy2V8PM)

The superb docu-fiction film by Stanley Kubrick, with Fenby again, this time portrayed by an actor (actually a principal dancer from the Royal Ballet) :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMMqkb1WKpg (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMMqkb1WKpg)

A performance of Sea Drift at the 2012 Proms, with Bryn Terfel, conducted by Mark Elder (in two parts), with the text in subtitles:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zBisvlTp00 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zBisvlTp00)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgeq5uUH29w (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgeq5uUH29w)

A film of A Village Romeo and Juliet - Thomas Hampson is excellent as the Dark Fiddler :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwI0BfXRuDE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwI0BfXRuDE)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 18, 2020, 08:26:35 PM
The reason I say Artist is in the sense of someone absorbed by the Arts.  Some composers you (well I do!) imagine functioning wholly and exclusive in the sphere of music.  Delius was part of that time when literature influenced art influenced music etc and I suspect that Paris (as with Vienna at the same time) was an extraordinary place to be where all the Arts "cross pollinated".

Andre's mention of Sea Drift and the Nocturnes in the Mass are good shouts.  I always twitch a bit when someone says a particular composer is "bad" since the frame of reference is never set.  Mirror Image is a percussionist so he doesn't like Delius - a perfectly understandable point of view.  I have a friend who spent 30 years as harpist in a major British Orchestra - hated Elgar because they feel Elgar writes badly for the harp (I have no idea I will take their word for it).  But if you turn that argument around - how well did a composer achieve their set goal - then the measure of "good" or "bad" must shift.  I believe that Delius achieved what he himself set out to do.  He never chose to write a set of Preludes and Fugues or a standard Symphony so why compare to composers who did?!

The question about his music "needing" editing by Beecham is a proverbial barrel of worms.  Mark Elder - I'm pretty sure it was him! - in a TV documentary was pretty scathing about the choices Beecham imposed on the music - I seem to remember him referencing Sea Drift.  Of course it is not as extreme as say the early editions of Bruckner with the "improvements" sincere but misguided.  But I do wonder if Beecham "smoothed" out some of the edges and muscularity in Delius.  Beauty can still be cruel......

I do wonder what Delius’ music would sound like had Beecham not scribed his corrections in the scores. I do still think highly of Songs of Sunset and believe this to be Delius’ crowning achievement. Perhaps I was a bit harsh towards his music earlier. I think the problem with his own original manuscripts was there were nothing indicating how he wanted his music to be performed (i. e. no tempo markings, no accent marks, whether he wanted pianissimo here or there, etc.). This makes it difficult to determine how to play his music. I think the early championing that Beecham did had positive and negative effects. The positive was obviously more listeners became aware of this composer’s music, but the main negative is Beecham’s editions are what are now the standards for these works. Only when Elder recorded Sea Drift did he decide to start over again from scratch and forget Beecham’s suggestions. I personally don’t understand how a composer could not explain how he wanted his music to sound. There’s a video of Beecham where the interviewer asked him if he ever discussed the music with Delius and he said no because he couldn’t tell him anything about them. One of the important jobs of any composer is to make sure the notation is up to par for the performer, otherwise, it’s nothing more than notes on a sheet of paper, but also get his ideas across to the conductor (if said composer is still living of course). The documentary that everyone should see is one in which you mention but not by name, Composer Lover Enigma by John Bridcut (his Britten, RVW, and Elgar documentaries are all excellent). I think vers la flamme should see this documentary for a better understanding of the composer.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vers la flamme on January 19, 2020, 04:27:21 AM
^Awesome, I'll have to check it out. Do you know if there's anywhere it can be watched online?
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 19, 2020, 07:34:38 AM
^Awesome, I'll have to check it out. Do you know if there's anywhere it can be watched online?

I can’t seem to find it. The documentary was actually renamed to The Pleasures of Delius.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: André on January 19, 2020, 09:31:04 AM
I can’t seem to find it. The documentary was actually renamed to The Pleasures of Delius.

It’s gone from youtube. We discussed it exactly a year ago on this thread. I would have put it along with the other youtube suggestions in my post above if it had been available. It’s really excellent.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on January 19, 2020, 03:41:25 PM
Good to hear Brigg Fair on the radio this morning.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2020, 07:55:14 AM
It’s gone from youtube. We discussed it exactly a year ago on this thread. I would have put it along with the other youtube suggestions in my post above if it had been available. It’s really excellent.

If I’m remembering correctly, it’s under a strange name and it could very well still be on YouTube. Of course, I own the DVD of this Bridcut documentary, so I don’t have any use for it, but it would be nice to find to be able to link for other members to view.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2020, 11:29:19 AM
Probably because he paints instead of ‘composes’ if you get my drift. I had a strong Delius phase many years ago and he was even my favorite composer at one point, but this was before I ‘saw the light’ so to speak and realized that he wasn’t as endearing and musically inventive as Debussy (and so many others around this particular time). Karl Henning once said that “Delius was a poor man’s Debussy”. I soon realized that this criticism wasn’t far-fetched. One of the problems with Delius’ music for me, besides its general one mood atmosphere, is you can tell that the music wasn’t carefully thought out and this is backed up by his avoidance of making notational tempi markings or giving the perform any kind of instruction on how he wanted the music to sound. In fact, there were no guidelines in any of Delius’ music. Sir Thomas Beecham, an ardent champion of the composer, edited a lot of his manuscripts and added in a lot of technical information that Delius failed to put into the music, which I thought was interesting because now I’m hearing more of Beecham’s ideas than the composer’s own. The more I started reading about Delius, the more I started realizing what a poor composer he was. Also, he couldn’t write a rhythm to save his life and me being a former percussionist finds this to be a fatal flaw in his music. It’s just a lot of rhapsodizing and then ‘poof!’ the work is over. It took me quite some time to come down from the clouds to admit I was wrong about Delius, but nowadays, I’m more than happy to point out what I have a problem with and why I believe he’s just not a good composer.

I think I understand why I have had such a strong period for dislike for Delius: it mainly stems from what other people are telling what I should be hearing instead of relying on my own likings and dislikings as a listener. I think I was pretty nasty (and unfair) to Delius by calling him a poor composer. He certainly wasn’t a poor composer. It’s important for me to understand that like any of my favorite composers, he was his own man and he created his music in his own way. I look at much of his music as a form of sonic poetry or aural painting. The form isn’t really important, but there are themes in his music that run the course of entire pieces and these themes are ran through as many possible variations as one could imagine. I think, like nature, the change over the course of time in Delius is what’s the most compelling in his music. I still refuse to align him to any country. You can hear England, France, Germany, Norway, and America throughout all of his music. In the John Bridcut documentary, The Pleasures of Delius, the idea of pleasure and the immediacy of this pleasure was an ideal that was upheld by the composer until the very end of his life (even when he was paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair, he still gained much pleasure in every day life despite being in constant pain). The sound of nature is what Delius achieved more than any other composer and whether one responds to this or not wasn’t a great concern for him. He wrote the music he wanted to and didn’t give in to what was fashionable and what was trendy and I admire his courage for doing what he wanted.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vers la flamme on January 20, 2020, 11:52:21 AM
I think I understand why I have had such a strong period for dislike for Delius: it mainly stems from what other people are telling what I should be hearing instead of relying on my own likings and dislikings as a listener. I think I was pretty nasty (and unfair) to Delius by calling him a poor composer. He certainly wasn’t a poor composer. It’s important for me to understand that like any of my favorite composers, he was his own man and he created his music in his own way. I look at much of his music as a form of sonic poetry or aural painting. The form isn’t really important, but there are themes in his music that run the course of entire pieces and these themes are ran through as many possible variations as one could imagine. I think, like nature, the change over the course of time in Delius is what’s the most compelling in his music. I still refuse to align him to any country. You can hear England, France, Germany, Norway, and America throughout all of his music. In the John Bridcut documentary, The Pleasures of Delius, the idea of pleasure and the immediacy of this pleasure was an ideal that was upheld by the composer until the very end of his life (even when he was paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair, he still gained much pleasure in every day life despite being in constant pain). The sound of nature is what Delius achieved more than any other composer and whether one responds to this or not wasn’t a great concern for him. He wrote the music he wanted to and didn’t give in to what was fashionable and what was trendy and I admire his courage for doing what he wanted.

I have to say, your change of heart is jarring. From that post deriding Delius' music to now changing your avatar and signature in dedication to his music in two days is a pretty quick 180. ;D But I'm happy to see you seem to be giving his music another chance. I think there is plenty of value there to be had in his works. I really do need to catch that documentary, it sounds fascinating.

I like that you seem to be abiding by Delius' words in that quote you've chosen for your signature. I think that is true as well.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2020, 01:21:22 PM
I have to say, your change of heart is jarring. From that post deriding Delius' music to now changing your avatar and signature in dedication to his music in two days is a pretty quick 180. ;D But I'm happy to see you seem to be giving his music another chance. I think there is plenty of value there to be had in his works. I really do need to catch that documentary, it sounds fascinating.

I like that you seem to be abiding by Delius' words in that quote you've chosen for your signature. I think that is true as well.

Well, this has been more or less my relationship with Delius over the past couple of years. I think it’s best to put what other people think about a composer you love out of your mind. Yes, there are reasons as to why we love the music we love and to question that love is beyond silly, although I’m certainly guilty of trying to figure out how I truly feel about Delius’ music. I’m a listener who ‘goes with the flow’ and it seems this is exactly what Delius had in mind. I think he knew that there would be listeners that would never like his music and I think this is certainly true for many to this day.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Sergeant Rock on January 20, 2020, 01:35:04 PM
I have to say, your change of heart is jarring.

For the veterans here, it isn't jarring at all but simply MI being MI. He does this all the time (going from intense dislike to rapturous fan, and not only with Delius). It's one of the things we love about John ;D :D ;D


Sarge
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2020, 01:45:58 PM
For the veterans here, it isn't jarring at all but simply MI being MI. He does this all the time (going from intense dislike to rapturous fan, and not only with Delius). It's one of the things we love about John ;D :D ;D


Sarge

:P It’s certainly not something I love about myself. Why, oh why must I do this all the time?!?!? I go around and around with myself until I just give up and listen to another composer altogether. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on January 20, 2020, 02:30:40 PM
For the veterans here, it isn't jarring at all but simply MI being MI. He does this all the time (going from intense dislike to rapturous fan, and not only with Delius). It's one of the things we love about John ;D :D ;D


Sarge

I agree with Sarge.
Although sometime our good friend John, if my memory is correct, goes from rapturous fan to intense dislike. Wasn't this the case with Tubin? One moment he was listening to everything by the Estonian composer and then suddenly he announced that he would 'NEVER LISTEN TO ANYTHING BY TUBIN EVER AGAIN!' (He will correct me if I'm wrong). Fortunately my friendship with this extremely thoughtful and generous GMG stalwart has remained much more consistent.
 ;D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2020, 02:45:15 PM
I agree with Sarge.
Although sometime our good friend John, if my memory is correct, goes from rapturous fan to intense dislike. Wasn't this the case with Tubin? One moment he was listening to everything by the Estonian composer and then suddenly he announced that he would 'NEVER LISTEN TO ANYTHING BY TUBIN EVER AGAIN!' (He will correct me if I'm wrong). Fortunately my friendship with this extremely thoughtful and generous GMG stalwart has remained much more consistent.
 ;D

I appreciate your kind words. Your memory is spot-on, Jeffrey. Oh, and I’m back to hating Delius again. :P I just can’t listen to another note! Ughh! I mean every work just blends together and he still couldn’t write a rhythm, which isn’t a complete slight on the composer, but I get tired of his rhapsodizing about cuckoos, spring, and summer nights on a river. ;)

P.S. I like Tubin more than Delius! That’s for sure. :)
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2020, 03:20:40 PM
I think I understand why I have had such a strong period for dislike for Delius: it mainly stems from what other people are telling what I should be hearing instead of relying on my own likings and dislikings as a listener. I think I was pretty nasty (and unfair) to Delius by calling him a poor composer. He certainly wasn’t a poor composer. It’s important for me to understand that like any of my favorite composers, he was his own man and he created his music in his own way. I look at much of his music as a form of sonic poetry or aural painting. The form isn’t really important, but there are themes in his music that run the course of entire pieces and these themes are ran through as many possible variations as one could imagine. I think, like nature, the change over the course of time in Delius is what’s the most compelling in his music. I still refuse to align him to any country. You can hear England, France, Germany, Norway, and America throughout all of his music. In the John Bridcut documentary, The Pleasures of Delius, the idea of pleasure and the immediacy of this pleasure was an ideal that was upheld by the composer until the very end of his life (even when he was paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair, he still gained much pleasure in every day life despite being in constant pain). The sound of nature is what Delius achieved more than any other composer and whether one responds to this or not wasn’t a great concern for him. He wrote the music he wanted to and didn’t give in to what was fashionable and what was trendy and I admire his courage for doing what he wanted.

Whatever I was on when I posted this is beyond me. ??? Anyway, please just ignore this post (which all the veteran members probably have already ;)).
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 20, 2020, 03:51:27 PM
Your constant change of mind is disquieting to say the least.  ;D :P
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2020, 04:46:52 PM
Your constant change of mind is disquieting to say the least.  ;D :P

 :P

Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on January 20, 2020, 08:54:23 PM
I appreciate your kind words. Your memory is spot-on, Jeffrey. Oh, and I’m back to hating Delius again. :P I just can’t listen to another note! Ughh! I mean every work just blends together and he still couldn’t write a rhythm, which isn’t a complete slight on the composer, but I get tired of his rhapsodizing about cuckoos, spring, and summer nights on a river. ;)

P.S. I like Tubin more than Delius! That’s for sure. :)
:)
I also much prefer Tubin. Actually Delius is not a composer whose music I have ever had a strong like or dislike for. There are a few works that I do greatly enjoy including the Piano Concerto, Brigg Fair the North Country Sketches and In a Summer Garden. I also find the end of his Requiem very moving. I think that Vaughan Williams described Delius's music as like 'a curate improvising' but this might have been a bit harsh.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Mirror Image on January 20, 2020, 10:29:57 PM
:)
I also much prefer Tubin. Actually Delius is not a composer whose music I have ever had a strong like or dislike for. There are a few works that I do greatly enjoy including the Piano Concerto, Brigg Fair the North Country Sketches and In a Summer Garden. I also find the end of his Requiem very moving. I think that Vaughan Williams described Delius's music as like 'a curate improvising' but this might have been a bit harsh.

I think a lot of my problem with Delius also stems from his harmonic language. He has produced many lovely harmonies in many of his pieces, but it sure does wear thin when there’s not much happening rhythmically and structurally it just feels the like the same formula for every piece. I’m glad there are people here that like his music, but I mustn’t be counted among them.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Jamie on January 20, 2020, 10:31:16 PM
There is a really awful quality copy of that Bridcut video on YouTube under the title Delius, Composer, lover, enigma.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vandermolen on January 21, 2020, 01:45:11 AM
I think a lot of my problem with Delius also stems from his harmonic language. He has produced many lovely harmonies in many of his pieces, but it sure does wear thin when there’s not much happening rhythmically and structurally it just feels the like the same formula for every piece. I’m glad there are people here that like his music, but I mustn’t be counted among them.
I largely agree with your 'lack of variety' comment.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Florestan on January 21, 2020, 01:46:32 AM
I agree with Sarge.

I too.

Quote
Although sometime our good friend John, if my memory is correct, goes from rapturous fan to intense dislike.

Correct. The most extreme such case was with Poulenc's piano music: in two consecutive (!!!) posts he went from singing its praises to disparaging it strongly. Currently he adores it, though.

But, as Sarge said, this is part of his charm.  :D
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: Ratliff on January 21, 2020, 01:55:23 AM
Delius is a composer who had a unique style, a unique aesthetic, and a unique technique which produced this. Sometimes it is just what I want to hear, often it is not. When it is what I want to hear, there is no substitute. Decrying his supposed inadequacies seems utterly besides the point.
Title: Re: Frederick Delius
Post by: vers la flamme on January 21, 2020, 03:01:43 AM
I just bought this:



For $2.68, free shipping. I couldn't pass it up at that price! Does anyone know whether the CD is any good or not? I suspect from these capab