Customer Reviews


3 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A special record of some very fine Delius recordings and a track listing, 28 Sep 2012
By 
M. Raynes "Martin Raynes - Daft Tory Backwood... (The barren wastes of Aylesbury) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Delius Collection (Audio CD)
This is a delayed review that I said I would add having initially added a listing of the works and artists that was originally missing from Amazon's page for this Delius Anniversary collection from Heritage. Now that I have had a chance to listen to all the music and in the case of many of the larger works in this collection to compare them with other recordings available to music lovers here at Amazon and elsewhere I think I am able to add a few words to the bare listing of the works.

When looking at the collection as a whole we can see that principally it derives from a series of recording from the 1980s which were made by the now defunct Unicorn Kanchana label under the musical direction of the Eric Fenby in the final years of his distinguished life. Working under Dr Fenby's direction were the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Ambrosian Singers and a small group of soloists both vocal and instrumental. The tenor Anthony Rolfe Johnson, the soprano Felicity Lott, the mezzo Sarah Walker, the bass-baritone Thomas Allen and the violinist Ralph Holmes are the star performers here.

The collection is particularly strong on Delius's work for violin. The Violin Concerto, all three sonatas for violin and piano and two little known works for violin and orchestra - the four movement Suite for violin and orchestra and the Legende for violin and orchestra - are all here. The conductor of the works for orchestra and violin is Vernon Handley and how good it is to be reminded quite how fine an interpreter of Delius he was. The chamber music for violin and piano the soloist throughout is Ralph Holmes and he really allows his violin to take flight in the rhapsodic passages. Delius was of course only really ever proficient on one instrument, the violin, and this collection allows us to experience his unique exploration of the instrument's potential for lines of unbroken seemingly improvised melody. I think many Delians who buy this set will find these works highlights to be enjoyed.

Other highlights are the recordings made by Eric Fenby and the RPO in the 1980s that I mentioned before. The version of the Idyll is to be preferred to the more recent one by David Hill and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. All the works that Fenby helped Delius to revise or create between 1929 and 1934 are here. A fine Song of Summer and an atmospheric Cynara are particular favourites of mine. However to my ears it in the earlier work A Song of the High Hills that the Fenby, the RPO and the Ambrosian Singers really hit the peaks (if you'll forgive the pun) I don't think I have ever heard this extraordinary meditation upon man and nature played and sung better. The whole work makes perfect sense and while listening you can feel how Delius' unique musical mind responds to the experience of being high aloft among the Norwegian mountains. Fenby also conducts a fine recording of a Delius work that many admire but which I have not yet really come to grips with - The Songs of Sunset. For me at least this work seems to convey a weakness of spirit that I find very un-Delian. it is well sung and beautifully played yet I cannot engage with it. Others may be able to guide me as to how best to approach the piece.

One piece that features in the collection that is surely just a curio is the piano concerto. Only if you have nothing at all to do for half an hour would it be worth listeening to this piece. It is the sound of Delius walking up a blind alley.

The collection is filled out with a fairly elderly but still very fine set of middle period orchestral works from Norman del Mar and the RPO.
There are rare recordings of Delius' songs and I doubt if today the funds or the talent would be available to permit performances as loving and pains taking as those recorded here by Felicity Lott, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Sarah Walker, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Eric Fenby. The songs are worth exploring. Just as with his choral music the fire of Delius' musical imagination was often kindled by poetry and while no one could claim that these are among the great art songs of the western musical tradition they are a helpful and in places moving side light on Delius' greater music.

This set of recordings is wisely called a "collection". It makes no pretence to be an "edition" in the way the huge EMI 18 CD Boxed Set (not available it seems as an MP3 download) can be regarded as something approaching a "Delius Edition" since the EMI Anniversary Release is a very extensive balanced representation of the composer's oeuvre. What Heritage offer us in this set is a close loving look at some important aspects of Delius' work. I can strongly recommend this set to anyone who has come across some of the better known works and fallen under the spell of Delius and wants to explore further.

Delius is not easy to pperform really well and one thing I must add is that the RPO and the Ambrosian Singers as well as the solists have all clearly brought all their talent to the table here and there is joyously beautiful playing and singing to be savoured in the performances recorded back in the 1980s and now re-issued on CD and as digital downloads .

I now revert to my earlier listing of the works and performers which I think is still helpful as the main Amazon Page for the collection is still without a listing of the works. I must add that this list is necessary because the labelling of the pieces in this collection is very unreliable on the mp3 download (I imagine the cd's are labelled correctly). For instance Cynara is not one of the Songs of Farwell and The Song of the High Hills is definitely not part of the Dance Rhapsody.

This collection is worth five stars for the re-issue of "The Fenby Legacy" alone. When I buy this and have had a chance to listen to it all, I will review it unless some other customer puts a helpful review on first but I do think Amazon customers need to know what they are getting hence this post. Best wishes to all Delius fans out there.

Delius:
1) Dance Rhapsody No. 1
Ed. Beecham
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Norman Del Mar

2) A Song of the High Hills
Maryetta Midgley, Vernon Midgley
Ambrosian Singers & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

3)Preludes Nos. 1, 2 & 3
Eric Parkin (piano)

4) Polka - Zum Carnival
Eric Parkin (piano)

5)Fantastic Dance
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

6) Dance Rhapsody No. 2
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

7)Irmelin Prelude
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

8) Violin Concerto
Ralph Holmes (violin)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

9) A Song of Summer
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

10) A Late Lark
Anthony Rolfe Johnson
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

11) Piano Concerto in C minor
Philip Fowke (piano)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Norman Del Mar

12) The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Norman Del Mar

13) Songs of Sunset
Thomas Allen, Sarah Walker
Ambrosian Singers, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

14) Idyll 'Once I passed through a populous city'
Thomas Allen, Felicity Lott
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

15) Koanga: La Calinda
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

16) Cello Sonata
Julian Lloyd Webber (cello)

17)Violin Sonata No. 1 in E major
Ralph Holmes (violin)
Eric Fenby

18)Violin Sonata No. 2
Ralph Holmes (violin)
Eric Fenby

19) Violin Sonata No. 3
Ralph Holmes (violin)
Eric Fenby

20) Paris - Song of a Great City
Ed. Beecham
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Norman Del Mar

21) An Arabesque
Thomas Allen
Ambrosian Singers, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

22) Suite for Violin & Orchestra
Ralph Holmes (violin)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

23) Fennimore and Gerda: Intermezzo
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

24) Songs of Farewell
Ambrosian Singers, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

25) Cynara
Thomas Allen
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

26) Aquarelles (2)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

27) Caprice & Elegy
Julian Lloyd Webber (cello)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby

28) Legende
Ralph Holmes (violin)
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Vernon Handley

29) Life's Dance
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Norman Del Mar
plus:

30)Orchestral Songs 28.28

31) Scandinavian, French, English Songs with Piano 43.24
Felicity Lott, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Sarah Walker, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Eric Fenby.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, 10 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Delius Collection (MP3 Download)
Conventional wisdom is that you either love Delius's music or hate it. However, my own reaction varies widely - amongst the items included here there are some wonderful large-scale pieces like The Song of the High Hills and Paris. On the other hand, the world-weary texts set in The Songs of Sunset seem to me to have brought out the least attractive side of the composer. And I've tried to get to grips with the Violin Concerto several times over 40 years in various recordings and live, but it still seems to me to meander on and on: with this download I will give the music another chance. Occasionally VW's barbed comment about Delius's music made to Michael Kennedy comes to my mind: "Sounds like the curate improvising, I'm afraid." But he was surely wrong about the best of Delius.

This set is worth the price (£8 - buy the download before someone notices the mistake!!) for Song of the High Hills alone - I paid about £12 for this CD in the mid 80s. If you're a Delius agnostic try this recording and it may convert you to at least a partial believer. This is a classic early digital Unicorn Kanchana recording from 1983. The record producer, Christopher Palmer, did a great job in getting the perspectives and balance right, though this means that the dynamic range is very wide. There is one track for this work (nearly 30 minutes long) but that is a very good idea as it avoids the risk of the blips that sometimes occur when continuous music is broken into several MP3 files.

I can't agree with the reviewer above who said that the recording quality is of historic interest only - just the opposite, most of the recordings are really excellent. More professional reviewers (Gramophone, MusicWeb International) seem to agree with me. Maybe there is a slight edge to the violin tone in the Violin Concerto, but I'm not sure that is due to the recording engineers.

The selection of music is very wide: the set includes some, but not all, of the short popular Delius pieces and some, but not all, of the composer's masterpieces (no Sea Drift, for example). There are some recordings of hard-to-find pieces, several of which Fenby helped to bring into the light of day. The presentation of information in the downloads is a bit clumsy (Did no-one in Heritage with a bit of knowledge check the presentation?), as noted and corrected by the first reviewer above, but that is not a major drawback.

There is a lot of music here and this set is ridiculously good value. If you buy this and you're new to Delius you will have some work to do tracking down texts. The Chandos online site Classical Shop is very helpful for these! (also try the Ezust Lieder site.)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical value., 8 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Delius Collection (Audio CD)
While I value the group of performances and the performances were excellent, the set was let down by the recording quality and presentation. It did not do the soloists, in particular, justice.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Delius Collection
Buy MP3 Album£7.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews