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Delius: Mass of Life; Idyll [Double CD]

Andrew Kennedy Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
Price: £12.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Delius: Mass of Life; Idyll + Essential Delius
Price For Both: £22.48

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Product details

  • Performer: Janice Watson, Alan Opie, Catherine Wyn-Rogers, Andrew Kennedy
  • Orchestra: The Bach Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Composer: Frederick Delius
  • Audio CD (28 May 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Double CD
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B007P1837E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 83,909 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. A Mass of Life: Part I: O Du mein Wille! (Chorus)Janice Watson 5:24£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. A Mass of Life: Part I: Erhebt eure Herzen (Baritone)Janice Watson 1:59£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. A Mass of Life: Part I: In dein Auge schaute ich jungst (Chorus, Tenor, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone)Janice Watson13:50Album Only
Listen  4. A Mass of Life: Part I: Wehe mir! (Baritone, Chorus)Janice Watson 2:37£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. A Mass of Life: Part I: Nacht ist es (Chorus, Baritone)Janice Watson 8:44Album Only
Listen  6. A Mass of Life: Part II: Auf den Bergen -Janice Watson 5:26£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. A Mass of Life: Part II: Herauf! nun herauf (Chorus, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Tenor)Janice Watson 4:21£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. A Mass of Life: Part II: Susse Leier! (Baritone)Janice Watson 4:43£0.89  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. A Mass of Life: Part II: Lento - La la la (Chorus) - Lasst vom Tanze nicht ab (Baritone, Chorus)Janice Watson18:25Album Only
Listen  2. A Mass of Life: Part II: Heisser Mittag schlaft (Chorus, Baritone, Mezzo-Soprano, Soprano, Tenor)Janice Watson14:32Album Only
Listen  3. A Mass of Life: Part II: Gottes Weh ist tiefer (Baritone, Chorus)Janice Watson 4:27£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. A Mass of Life: Part II: Kommt! Lasst uns jetzo wandeln! (Chorus, Baritone, Tenor, Mezzo-Soprano, Soprano)Janice Watson13:16Album Only
Listen  5. Prelude -Janice Watson 3:09£0.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Prelude and Idyll: Idyll: Once I passed through a populous city (Baritone, Soprano)Janice Watson16:36Album Only


Product Description

Product Description

Long an admirer of Nietzsche's poetry, Frederick Delius composed A Mass of Life while at the height of his powers, blending passages from Also Sprach Zarathustra into orchestral textures of great expressive depth and striking beauty. Written in his final years, the Prelude and Idyll sourced music from a long discarded opera, transforming a story of lust and vengeance into one which emphasizes the transience of life and love.

Product Description

Janice Watson, soprano - Catherine Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-soprano - Andrew Kennedy, ténor - Alan Opie, baryton - The Bach Choir - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra - David Hill, direction

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy addition 29 May 2012
By pierre
Format:Audio CD
This is a very likeable and well recorded performance of the Mass of Life - excellent singing from the large choir and really beautiful playing from the orchestra - Alan Opie is quite outstanding amongst the soloists in his mammouth role in the work and is well supported by the other soloists, in particular Andrew Kennedy in the tenor role - the recording is full and spacious and captures the essence of the music very successfully - the balance is particularly good and at the price this is a real bargain. The notes by Lyndon Jenkins are very informative and add some interesting thoughts on this work. The perfomance is taken at a good pace by David Hill who keeps everything moving which will keep your attention - even if you are not a devoted Delian you will have your eyes opened to this wonderful composer's work by this new recording and hopefully you may want to investigate his music further (there is a lot more to Delius than the 1st Cuckoo). The Idyll performance is less successful than the Mass and does not match the Meredith Davis recording on EMI made many years ago - so one star removed - but superlatives for the Mass - buy and enjoy !
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delius Mass of Life 12 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Both the previous reviewers are clearly knowledgable about the musical qualities of the "Mass", so I won't try to upstage them. Let me concentrate instead on the underlying philosophy of the piece. The text is, of course, taken from Nietzsche's "Thus Spake Zarathustra", and actually reflects Delius' own philosophy of life. Like Nietzsche, Delius eschewed organised religion, believing that man is a free spirit who must make his own way in the world, and that, for the "higher man" (Ubermensch) who is able to transcend his sense of obligation to a power greater than himself, the sea of possibilities is virtually infinite, and a source of ultimate joy. These sentiments are depicted in the wonderfully affirmative nature of much of Delius' music - for instance, in the barnstorming introductory section where chorus and orchestra blaze out a paean to the human Will, and the passion for life.

But few are they who have sufficient resolve to shake free the shackles that keep man in servitude, to reach out to the life of true freedom. The quest involves single-minded dedication and hardship, and the "higher man" must plough a lonely furrow, often mocked and despised by others. Here the music is more remote and contemplative. There are two beautiful orchestral interludes in which Delius depicts Zarathustra among the solitude of the mountains, or alone at dusk in meditative mood.

"A Mass of Life" was completed around 1905, although some passages date back to the 1890s. Listening to the music today, it is easy to forget its own milieu when audiences were steeped in the nineteenth century classics. No other English composer was writing music like this at the time.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good indeed 7 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD
This version of A Mass of Life is surely as good as any. The soloists certainly sound impassioned, especially Andrew Kennedy near to the start, soaring over the Orchestra, and of course Alan Opie in his huge Role. The famale parts are also well taken, though to my ears Catharine Wyn-Rogers can occasionally sound a little raw. That said she makes sense of the text and weaves her way through the music with admirable energy.

So why not 5 stars? Well, maybe it's the download, but I don't think so. When listening through earphones (mine are of very high quality indeed and cope with even grander scale sound) I became aware of some distortion in the choral sound. The biggest climaxes just slightly overwhelm the microphones. I'll transfer to CD and listen on my main system shortly, and hope that this will hide the problem a little more, but I doubt that it will.

Buy with confidence, overall, though because the majority of it sounds really very beautiful. A particular nod of congratulations to the Horns at the start of Part II. These parts are high and exposed, yet they are played with gentle precision, allowing the sense of stillness and contemplation to dominate.

Excellent conducting by Hill and tremendously powerful choral singing make this a bargain indeed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thus spake Delius 4 Sep 2012
By Entartete Musik TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
You have to surrender to Delius. There is no music headier or more hedonistic than that of the German-born Bradford boy who died in Northern France. At the summit of his dreamy achievement is A Mass of Life which has been given an enticing new recording in this year marking the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth.

Delius was obsessed with Nietzsche and this piece, composed between 1904-5 is one of his most personal works. Charting the life of man, as seen in the course of one day, its vast orchestral and vocal forces summon up a world not dissimilar to that of Schoenberg's Gurrelieder or Mahler's 8th Symphony. It will always remain something of an acquired taste, yet its neglect feels markedly unfair when taken on the strength of this recording.

Given the wall of sound that Delius unleashes on the ear, it is to Hill's great credit that he steers through the treacle, eliciting detail and newly clarified textures. The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra sounds wonderfully velvety, though woodwind solos provide a welcome note of refinement. More often than not, however, the sound muddies those waters and the Bach Choir sounds oddly distant (considering its size).

The soloists fare better. Alan Opie takes the lion's share. And while there's more tenderness to Benjamin Luxon's approach with Charles Groves on EMI (sometimes available), Opie has a solidity that works wonderfully in the otherwise sumptuous context of the work. Janice Watson's voice grows in warmth all the time and both she and Catherine Wyn-Rogers add a welcome erotic tinge to their solos. Surrounded by these maturer voices, tenor Andrew Kennedy can sound a little fresh-faced, though he sings equally well.
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