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4.0 out of 5 stars The perfect compilation if you want just a taster, 1 Dec 2010
By 
Ralph Moore "Ralph operaphile" (Bishop's Stortford, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Delius: The Royal Philharmonic Collection (Audio CD)
With the exception of Elgar, my compatriot composers are not amongst my favourites, but I have at least enough regard for the delicate, perfumed effusions of Delius to want at least one compilation containing a survey of his best orchestral miniatures - and this disc fits the bill.

There are at least half a dozen first class recordings on the super-bargain Tring label and its derivatives made by the RPO during the early-to-mid 90's; these include Handley's Rachmaninov 2, Shipway's Mahler 5 and a Gershwin/Ravel/Debussy anthology; here is another. They are all in superb, warm, detailed sound and feature an orchestra in top form. The sumptuous textures of Delius's sighing strings, grainy bassoons and rippling harps emerge with remarkable clarity, permitting the listener to trace the many influences over his music despite the peculiarly British individuality of his voice: that wistful, nostalgic, pastoral idyll occasionally overshadowed by cloud which reaches its apotheosis in Elgar's and Vaughan Williams' symphonic slow movements.

The predecessors acknowledged as informing his sound-world music are Grieg and Wagner, but to my ears the most obvious are Bizet - many allusions, unconscious or not, to the "L'Arlésienne" suite - and Debussy's "Prélude et l'après-midi d'un faune", although Delius often moves from gauzy impressionism to either a more robust Romanticism or a more folksy jollity as per the Bizet. Hills, gardens, fairs, villages, sunrises and sunsets, cuckoos and Spring - you get the picture and charming it is, too - are his stock in trade, although the steamier, more exotic rhythms of the music from "Koanga" and "Hassan" and the more impassioned love music "A Walk to the Paradise Garden" from "A village Romeo and Juliet" provide contrast to the prevailing bucolic mood, containing an ascending chord reminiscent of the Liebestod from "Tristan und Isolde". I was particularly taken by the Prelude to his first opera "Irmelin", a rarer piece, as is the rather episodic and disjointed early work "Over the Hills and Far Away".

I do not need any more Delius in my collection; what I have heard of him over the years, even if I do not exactly recall what, has led me to believe that this beautifully played and judiciously selected compilation of his "lollipops" will serve my needs and I leave a deeper appreciation of his more recherché works to the aficionados.
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4.0 out of 5 stars So who is the conductor here?, 3 Jun 2013
By 
Colin W. Lees "Colin" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Delius: The Royal Philharmonic Collection (Audio CD)
I've owned this disc for some years but it was only recently that I transferred it to my iPod. When I put it into the computer, I found that the iTunes listing showed the conductor of each track to be Yuri Simonov, current director of the Moscow Philharmonic. I know little about how CDs are produced but I do recall that the deceptions perpetrated by pianist Joyce Hatto and her husband were exposed when the digital information displayed on the CD player named pianists other than Miss Hatto. I suppose that in the case of this disc, there's been a genuine error somewhere but I'd still like to know who actually conducted these pieces.
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Delius: The Royal Philharmonic Collection
Delius: The Royal Philharmonic Collection by Frederick Delius (Audio CD - 2000)
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