These three major concertos by Frederick Delius involving solos string instruments are here brought together on the same disc for the first time. The Violin Concerto, Double Concerto, and Cello Concerto are performed by exclusive Chandos artists strongly associated with British repertoire. Sir Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra have already released one Delius disc this year (CHSA 5088 Appalachia and The Song of the High Hills), of which International Record Review (IRR) said: I am absolutely certain that this is the greatest performance and recording of Delius Appalachia which has ever been put on disc... it would be hard if not impossible to imagine a more magnificent performance of this masterpiece... the playing is unfailingly beautiful and infused with sensitivity, brilliance of technique and vividness of colour. Tasmin Little, who won the Critics Choice Award at this years Classic BRIT Awards, is the soloist in the Violin Concerto. This is not a virtuosic showpiece in the ordinary sense; instead the solo part stays harmonically connected with the orchestra throughout; in fact, it seems to grow out of its textures. The work is composed in a single long span, divided into three clear sections in which different moods succeed one another, sometimes passionately spontaneous, sometimes dreamlike, sometimes fiery. Paul Watkins is the soloist in the Cello Concerto, which Delius regarded as his personal favourite among his concertos. It was the last work that he was able to complete in his own hand before experiencing the onset of the devastating effects of syphilis: paralysis and blindness. Tasmin Little and Paul Watkins join forces in the rarely performed and recorded Double Concerto, which represents Delius at his most inspired: the work is warmly evocative as well as strong and memorable. The soloists get to showcase their abilities in music that is both passionate and tranquil. This as a Hybrid SACD.
Delius's three string concertos make a striking sequence.Written in his later life(1915-21),they are all single-movement works lasting 20-25 minutes,with a rhapsodic quality that has caused them to be patronised as unrigorous.The musicologist Deryck Cooke, however,went to enormous trouble,in an analytical chapter of his book Vindications,to demonstrate the themetic intergration and solid basis of the Violin concerto.All the same,a magical sensuous flow is the presiding quality of this superior performance by Little.Watkins is no less captivating in the Cello Concerto,with its heart-easing slow second section. --Sunday Times,02/10/11
Delius's three concertos for stringed instruments were all composed when the composer was in his 50s. The Double Concerto for violin and cello came first in 1916; the Violin Concerto followed immediately, though it was not performed until 1919, and the Cello Concerto was completed in 1921. In performance, too, they all sound as if they were carved out of the same creative block, in which conventional concerto dialogues are replaced by less confrontational rhapsodising with soloists, and orchestra combining to unfold Delius's long-limbed melodies. None of the concertos has ever been particularly popular, even among Delius's admirers. But if ever a disc was going to make a case for any of these pieces, it's this one. There is wonderfully idiomatic support from Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony, as both Tasmin Little's account of the Violin Concerto and Paul Watkins's of the cello work seize every opportunity to inject incisiveness and dramatic shape into the music. --Guardian,27/10/11
Recommended in Classic fm's Christmas CD Guide --Classic fm,Dec'11
No self-respecting Delian can afford to be without this indispensable issue. --Gramophone,Dec'11
"This exceptional recording has exceeded my expectations... a really important CD of Delius s music: a truly outstanding issue." --International Record Review - October 2011
Masterly accounts of Delius's concertos for strings, together for the first time on disc. --The Strad,Dec'11