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Delius: Sea Drift / Songs of Sunset CD

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Product details

  • Performer: Bryn Terfel, Sally Burgess
  • Orchestra: Waynflete Singers, Southern Voices
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Composer: Frederick Delius
  • Audio CD (1 Oct. 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B000000AT3
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,871 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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

Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Sea DriftBryn Terfel26:04Album Only
  2. Songs of Farewell: No. 1. How sweet the silent backward tracings! (Double Chorus)Bournemouth Symphony Chorus 4:31£0.79  Buy MP3 
  3. Songs of Farewell: No. 2. I stand as on some mighty eagle's beak (Chorus)Bournemouth Symphony Chorus 4:40£0.79  Buy MP3 
  4. Songs of Farewell: No. 3. Passage to you! O secret of the earth and sky! (Chorus)Bournemouth Symphony Chorus 3:33£0.79  Buy MP3 
  5. Songs of Farewell: No. 4. Joy, shipmate, joy! (Double Chorus)Bournemouth Symphony Chorus 1:30£0.79  Buy MP3 
  6. Songs of Farewell: No. 6. Now finale to the shore (Chorus)Bournemouth Symphony Chorus 3:56£0.79  Buy MP3 
  7. Songs of Sunset: No. 1. A song of the setting sun! (Chorus)Sally Burgess 3:23£0.79  Buy MP3 
  8. Songs of Sunset: No. 2. Cease smiling, Dear! a little while be sad (Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone)Sally Burgess 4:46£0.79  Buy MP3 
  9. Songs of Sunset: No. 3. Pale amber sunlight fails (Chorus)Sally Burgess 4:25£0.79  Buy MP3 
10. Songs of Sunset: No. 4. Exceeding sorrow consumeth my sad heart! (Mezzo-Soprano)Sally Burgess 3:42£0.79  Buy MP3 
11. Songs of Sunset: No. 5. By the sad waters of separation (Baritone)Sally Burgess 4:48£0.79  Buy MP3 
12. Songs of Sunset: No. 6. See how the trees and osiers lithe (Chorus)Sally Burgess 3:34£0.79  Buy MP3 
13. Songs of Sunset: No. 7. I was not sorrowful, I could not weep (Baritone)Sally Burgess 4:45£0.79  Buy MP3 
14. Songs of Sunset: No. 8. They are not long, the weeping and the laughter (Mezzo-Soprano, Baritone, Chorus)Sally Burgess 3:22£0.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Sea Drift, Songs of Farewell & Songs of Sunset de Frederick Delius / Sally Burgess, mezzo-soprano, Bryn Terfel, baryton, Waynflete Singers, Southern Voices, Chœur et Orchestre symphonique de Bournemouth, dir. Richard Hickox


When this all-Delius disc was first released in 1993 as part of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's centenary celebrations, it took a Gramophone Award and for reasons that should be obvious even to listeners with no natural sympathy toward Delius. Sea Drift is the masterpiece of its composer but lives up (or rather down) to its title all too literally, with a loose ebb and flow of musical invention that barely satisfies the ear's demand for a defined shape. Like the Songs of Sunset and the later Songs of Farewell, it's awash with melancholic musing on the transience of life and certainty of death; and its salvation in performance is a sense of sustained forward movement without which the whole thing falls apart, as it often does. But not here, in the hands of a conductor who feeds constant, measured energy into the slow and sometimes dangerously somnolent progress of the writing. This is Richard Hickox in his element and at his best: entirely sympathetic to the idiom but with an equally clear sense of the disciplinary action required to make it work. With stunning solo contributions from a radiantly young Bryn Terfel and (in Songs of Sunset) Sally Burgess, this is the finest recording of the repertory. --Michael White

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 July 2010
Format: Audio CD
I first fell in love with Delius' Sea Drift when I was about sixteen when, amongst other things, it caused me to read a poet from cover to cover for the first time. The poet in question was Walt Whitman and his famous anthology was Leaves of Grass (Oxford World's Classics). Whitman's epic poem illuminates the awakening of a young boy to the immensities of nature, and to the immensity of his own feelings in which it is reflected. Through his solitary observations of a pair of mating sea birds, (species unspecified), on the wild shores of New York State, throughout one unforgettable summer, he becomes acquainted with nature's beauties in all her moods of weather and light. Then, when one of the pair fails to return one day, through his intense empathy with the surviving bird, he comes to know nature in her harsher aspects of cruelty and loss. Out of the synthesis of all these feelings a mystical perspective on the oneness of all of life emerges, which was to be the celebratory theme which was to inform all of his work. This perspective was to miraculously survive, and if anything be strengthened, even when tested by the full horrors of the Civil War, later in his adult life. This vast treasury of emotions in the poem, and its cosmic outlook, both inner and outer provide a perfect subject for the composer of nature in all her aspects par excellence, Frederick Delius. Furthermore, Whitman's avoidance of strict metrical formats, and his reliance instead on strange cross-rhythms, and the sheer momentum of words themselves provides Delius with structures that provide the foundation of a form that straddles the boundary between chaos and cosmos.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andrew C. Mitchell TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 Aug. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What an intensity of love and loss! It would be good to know the reason for the intensity of the feelings summoned up by poetry about a sea bird losing its mate. Was it, as some have written, that he had deep feelings for a lover whom he left in America? Bryn Terfel certainly sings the turmoil to be found in Sea Drift and Richard Hickox and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Choirs heighten the tension on the heart strings. Then, for the Songs of Farewell (poetry of Walt Whitman chosen by Delius wife Jelka Rosen), there is the tearmaking and rending parting of a double chorus with Waynflete Singers, Southern Voices and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus. Without the aid of Eric Fenby, Delius (blind and paralysed) could not have made this tender music. There is a departure with no return. But for me the ardent sensual desire and passion of Songs of Sunset makes it one of Delius greatest works,- rich and lushly poetic. There is eroticism in the music derived from Ernest Dowson's poetry. Sally Burgess and Bryn Terfel duet this warmly and with abandon. Delius knows the feelings and his music can make much of ' O red pomegranate of thy perfect mouth' and the desolation of loss 'By the sad waters of separation' and ' They are not long, the days of wine and roses'. This is great music and singing of ecstasy, longing and loss.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By H. M. Tobe on 20 Nov. 2008
Format: Audio CD
I would like to restrict my "review" to the Songs of Sunset although the other selections, Sea Drift and Songs of Farewell, are very worthwhile too. Bryn Terfel is excellent, Sally Burgess also good, but not excellent. In spite of the fact that this recording(the Hickox one) is much younger I would prefer the one directed by Sir Charles Groves with John Shirley-Quirk and Janet Baker.Somehow the older recording seems more exciting:to be found on the following cd:Mass of Life
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Choral Music of Frederick Delius 15 July 2006
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There is a rather unkind Tee shirt often sold at music festival in the summer, a shirt with the statement 'Dull, Duller, Delius'. Yes, Frederick Delius did compose some rather ponderous music, but the three works here represented (among a throng of others including his opera 'A Village Romeo and Juliet') go a long way in testing that criticism.

'Sea Drift for baritone, chorus & orchestra is one of the unique works for soloist and massed forces. The settings of poems by Walt Whitman are bathed in Delius' water music and majestic manner of addressing the voice with orchestra and chorus. Byrn Terfel is the baritone of choice for this work and he is magnificent. Richard Hickox conducts the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus is a deeply moving performance. Terfel not only is in glorious vocal estate but also enunciates the texts clearly for maximum communication.

Included are two other choral 'Songs of Farewell, for double chorus & orchestra', here performed by Bournemouth Sinfonietta and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Southern Voices with Waynflete Singers, with Sally Burgess.

'Songs of Sunset, for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra', with Sally Burgess and Bryn Terfel is once again based on Walt Whitman's poetry and while it is not as dramatic a work as 'Sea Drift' it is beautifully performed. In all this is a clearly fine recording. Grady Harp, July 06
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Incredible In Every Way Imaginable 10 Oct. 2009
By Transfigured Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This collection brings together some of Delius' more popular choral works:

Sea Drift - Written between 1903-1904 is a work for baritone, chorus, and orchestra. What beautiful work this is! The few opening minutues are just remarkable, perhaps ravishing is the word for it. The texts used in this composition are various excerpts from Walt Whitman's poem "Leaves of Grass" that talk about the sea. Delius set these texts with a lush, harmonic backdrop. The melodies are absolutely gorgeous. The piece follows the structure of verses and after the verse, the chorus comes in to answer that previous verse. It's become one of my favorite Delius compositions these past few months.

Songs of Farewell - Written in 1930 in the final phase of Delius' life, which he was paralyzed and blind for the last three years of his life and he died in 1934. "Songs of Farewell," written for double chorus and orchestra, is one of the finest achievements of Delius' entire career in my opinion. It manages to capture Delius in almost a restful, peaceful place. The texts are, like "Sea Drift," based on texts by Walt Whitman. The music again accompanies the chorus with a beautiful harmonic backdrop and counter melodies.

Songs of Sunset - Written in 1906 is a work for for soprano and baritone solo, mixed chorus and orchestra based on texts by Ernest Dowson. It is very beautiful piece, though, it's not one of my favorite Delius compositions. It has some very nice sections, especially with the chorus.

The performances from Bryn Terfel, the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, and the Waynflete Singers are all superb. The conducting of Richard Hickox is second to none on this recording. Hickox, along with Mackerras, are among the finest Delius conductors of the last 30 years. Hickox really showed an affinity for this music and I'm forever grateful for his dedication to keeping Delius' music alive. The audio quality, unlike one reviewer said, is fantastic.

Anyone who thinks Delius is dull or boring is certainly missing out I think. He may not be as bombastic as a Bruckner or a Brahms, but anyone interested in hearing a composer who developed a highly original language of Impressionism should check him out. His music is much more about setting a mood and letting the listener come to his/her own conclusions.

Also checkout the following recordings:

Delius: The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Delius: Requiem/A Mass Of Life
Delius: Orchestral Works
The British Music Collection: Frederick Delius
Delius: Paris, the Song of a Great City; Double Concerto; Cello Concerto
Delius: Orchestral Works
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Gorgeous 3 July 2010
By G.D. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
There isn't much music out there that achieves anything similar in terms of breathtaking, mesmerizing, aching beauty as do the three works on this disc. This is music that grips you from the opening notes and transports you to a world of dreamlike wonder, and although it could perhaps be complained that Delius achieves the effects at the expense of dynamism and forward momentum, the overall experience is one of pure magic. This Chandos release is also the disc to go to for these works - Beecham's Sea Drift and Songs of Sunset may be irreplaceable, but Hickox has the benefit of warm, well-balanced modern sound, which is certainly a boon in lushly opulent music like this. He (Hickox) has recorded Sea Drift before, but this time around the music flows far more freely, and sounds far more coherent than it did on his previous attempt.

In all three works he and the Bournemouth Chorus and Orchestra (with the Waynflete singers and the Southern voices) achieve some gorgeous atmospheres, moods and subtle shifts of color and temperature; the music is wonderfully paced and shimmers with the warmth of midsummer, faint whiffs of cool winter winds, wistful poignancy and tranquility, as well as wonderful shaping of the ebb and flow of the music and its dramatic climaxes.

Bryn Terfel's voice is marvelously suited to this music. His is a magnificent voice, of course, but he scores as many points by his characterization and range - and not the least his ability to interact with the (glorious) chorus to ravishing and riveting effect. The voice of Sally Burgess is almost ideally suited to this music as well, although the partnership with Terfel in Songs of Sunset might sometimes come close to being a little over the top. Maybe. They are in any case given a superb recording; the sound is warm and clear and very dynamic and this is a glorious disc, very strongly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The sound of dreaming 29 July 2011
By Nicholas Freidin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I first listened to the music of Delius (1862-1934) back in the late 1960s. Infuriating and hypnotic at once. I think it was an orchestral suite derived from his 'A Village Romeo and Juliet', and I tried to turn off the radio but simply could not. I heard sounds of Debussy, with sprinkles of Wagner, yet a unique voice, not far from that mind-numbing 'minimalist' music of more recent years. Delius' piece just got hold of the senses (no added stimulants required).

This CD offers, I think, a good impression of Delius' music - flowing, ethereal and distant - by way of three song cycles beautifully interpreted by Bryn Terfel and Sally Burgess, and the Bournemouth Orchestra and Chorus under Richard Hickox, in the expected brilliant sound of Chandos recordings.

'Sea Drift' (1903-04) and 'Songs of Sunset' ((1906-08) were composed at the height of Delius' creative powers; 'Songs of Farewell' (1930), near the end of his life in pain.

Another world, alluring, languid, dreaming. Yes, you can switch it off, pressing some button, but it won't be easy.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Music, Great Performances 21 Jun. 2010
By Lloyd M. Shupp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In every way, this is an inspired performance of Sea Drift, Delius' great masterpiece. Bryn Terfel is exceptional, vocally and interpretively. The orchestra and chorus are equal partners with Terfel in piercing to the heart and soul of this powerful and emotional testament of bereavement. Have a box of Kleenex nearby. The Songs of Farewell and Songs of Sunset ably complete the disc. Sally Burgess, mezzo soprano, is a joy to hear and goes well with Terfel's robust baritone in the Songs of Sunset.
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