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Delius as I Knew Him [Paperback]

Eric Fenby
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
Price: £16.45 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 Mar 2007
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fenby Press (15 Mar 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1406762326
  • ISBN-13: 978-1406762327
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 21.3 x 13.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 849,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A memoir to treasure 11 July 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a truly remarkable story that will appeal, whether or not the reader has any interest in 'serious' music. Fenby brings to life the atmosphere of tension that prevailed in the home of Frederick Delius, a self-absorbed egotist. Although his attitude to the then-blind and paralysed composer bordered on reverence, Fenby never loses his clear-headedness when assessing Delius' faults and idiosyncrasies.

This is a wonderfully-written book that shows Fenby to have been both sensitive and extremely tough. He had to be both to deal with a unique and difficult genius like Delius. The author was fortunate to enter a milieu that brought him into close contact with some of the great names in the music world of the late 1920s and early 30s: Edward Elgar, Peter Warlock, and Percy Grainger. His portraits of these and other musical luminaries are charming and insightful.

Although it was my love of Delius' music that drew me to this book, I found 'Delius as I Knew Him' most rewarding for its insights into its author, who was clearly a good and selfless man.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fenby: Delius as I Knew Him 3 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a reprint of a book that was written as long ago as 1936, and is a fascinating account of Eric Fenby's relationship with Delius as his amanuensis during the final six years of the composer's life. The story of how Fenby, a young musician from Yorkshire, wrote to the blind and paralysed Delius offering his services is well-known, and was immortalised in the film "Song of Summer", but there are insights in the book that no film could reproduce. The work is in four sections. The first of these ("An Interlude in the Life of Frederick Delius", pp.1-127) and the fourth ("The Sundown", pp.213-34) are best read consecutively, as they deal respectively with Fenby's arrival at the composer's home in Grez-sur-Loing, the day-to-day routine, and Delius' decline and death (at which Fenby was present). The image is one of a unique, if often fraught and difficult relationship, in which the composer's creative spirit was revived, making possible some important late works (Songs of Farewell, A Song of Summer, Cynara, Violin Sonata No.3) which would otherwise never have been written. Delius comes across as an aloof, solitary figure who lived for his art, and who depended very much on his longsuffering wife Jelka to organise his daily routine and facilitate his creative periods. In her own way she was as indispensable as Fenby in ensuring that those final works were written. Along the way we meet a string of interesting visitors, including Sir Thomas Beecham, Balfour Gardiner, Philip Heseltine (alias Peter Warlock), Percy Grainger, and "old Raspberry" (actually E.J. Moeran, although Fenby seems not to have known this [p.59]). Even Elgar and Bax put in brief appearances.

The second section of the book ("How He Worked", pp.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 21 Nov 2009
Format:Hardcover
This is a supurb book designed to outline and make present the problems Fenby undertook in dealing with Deilius' illness and their combined efforts to realize Delius' special needs as a composer in horrendous pain and whose life was coming to an end. A wonderfully calm and generous rendition by Eric Fenby on the composer he knew and loved.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
As other reviewers here on Amazon have explained this is a remarkable book. I think that this must rank as one of the greatest ever first hand biographical portraits of human creativity. I can only think of Cosima Wagner's Diaries in the field of music which have the same impact and which provide a similar level of direct insight into the mind of a great creative artist.

The subject matter is quite extraordinary if not unique. A young idealistic musician goes off from his home in Yorkshire to live with a blind and paralysed composer and his wife and help him compose the works that lie locked unformed in the head of the blind and paralysed man. The composer of course is Frederick Delius who himself is a quite extraordinary figure in musical history and was and emerges from these pages as a very strong willed fierce personality despite his infirmities. The book tells the story of how great adversities were overcome, how personaility clashes were resolved and how finally their joint ambition was fulfilled and the music emerged onto the page and then into the concert hall and then finally we have them recorded for our enjoyment at home. Every music lover owes Eric Fenby a debt of gratitude and every one music lover or not owes him adebt for recording so closely what it was like to work witha genius (albeit a very maladroit and awkward genius like Delius)

The setting of the story is the house and garden of Frederick amnd Jelka Delius at Grez-sur-Loing some miles south of Paris. There are three main characters Frederick and Jelka Delius and Fenby. There are visitors such as Percy Grainger and the great Cellist Barjansky.
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