Frederick Delius (1862-1934) is often called an "English impressionist," a term which implies that he can be lumped together with Debussy or Ravel. But just as Debussy isn't Ravel and Ravel isn't Debussy, Delius is an artist unlike any other.
He has never been a world-renowned figure, and his music doesn't have the power or universality of Beethoven or Mozart, but for those who love Delius, he is one of the sublime creators in the history of music. I, for one, love his music, and these exemplary performances of some of his best-known works present this singular creative mind at his very best.
Delius has some superficial similarities to Debussy and Ravel, but his highly personal harmonic thinking and his penchant for subtle but pronounced melodies make his music among the most accessible and rewarding of any in the classical repertory. The titles of his pieces, from "In a Summer Garden" to "On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring," demonstrate his preoccupation with beauty and the evocation of nature. His work is subdued, quietly passionate, and immediate in its rewards. In Delius, refinement rather than hysteria is the defining element.
This recording has been justifiably praised as one of the finest Delius discs available, and other than the great recordings of Thomas Beecham (Delius' first and best champion and interpreter), you can't do better than Andrew Davis and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Look into Delius, and I think you'll see why his music sparks such fanatical devotion in his admirers.