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Delius: Appalachia / The Song Of The High Hills Hybrid SACD, SACD

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Conductor: Sir Andrew Davis
  • Composer: F. Delius
  • Audio CD (28 Mar. 2011)
  • Please Note: Requires SACD-compatible hardware
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, SACD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B004Q2TWQG
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,139 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Appalachia - Various Performers
  2. The Song of the High Hills - Various Performers

Product Description

Product Description

This is a Hybrid SACD

Review

The music of Delius (1862-1934), full of wistful, pre-first world war English exoticism, is edging back into fashion, now some historical perspective has been achieved. He escaped the family wool business in Bradford merely to find industrial inspiration elsewhere: black tobacco-factory workers in Virginia. One of their old slave spirituals is woven into the rhapsodic Appalachia, which has banjo-like strings and a surging brass theme to suggest the great Mississippi river, which Delius probably never saw. The BBC forces and Andrew Davis conjure exactly the rich transcendence Delius would have enjoyed. The Song of the High Hills, suggested by a visit to the mountains of Norway, is performed with equal lustre. --The Observer,27/03/11

Appalachia, inspired by a Negro slave song and by the landscape around the Mississippi, shows Delius to be as much in his element as he was in the clear, mountainous Norwegian terrain that sparked The Song of the High Hills. Both works, in their different ways, conjure up an evocative atmosphere, harnessing a mastery of orchestral and wordless vocal colour that Andrew Davis and his BBC forces translate into musical pictures, rich in texture and poignant in emotion. **** --Daily Telegraph,01/04/11

Davis's dilgent control of the extraordinary material makes for compelling listening.More please,Sir Andrew ! GRAMOPHONE RECCOMENDED --Gramophone,June'11

A fine new recording,each piece complementing the other. **** --Classic fm Magazine,June'11

Both works have a distinguished history on disc but I've heard nothing to beat these glorious new performances. Performance ***** Recording ***** --BBC Music Magazine,June'11

This work poses considerable difficulties for any artists who would perform it,and for any record company that would record it,but with such preperation as the Barbican Hall performance a week before this recording was made.it should be clear that this is no 'cold start' account:it is fully the equal of the live inspired live performance that preceded it and in terms of the gramophone is by far the finest balanced,and therefore even more closely attuned to the composer's score,that has ever been issued. IRR OUTSTANDING --IRR,June'11

Both works have a distinguished history on disc but I've heard nothing to beat these glorious new performances. Performance ***** Recording ***** --BBC Music Magazine,June'11

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Two of the finest orchestral compositions of the 20th Century, much underplayed and underrated, given a most splendid performance by the BBC Symphony Orchestra & Chorus under Sir Andrew Davis. Those who are not familiar with these works will be much rewarded by getting to know them especially if the background of Delius's life is studied. The recordings are especially fine technically and acoustically. Thoroughly recommended.
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Superb interpretation of the wonderful music of Frederick Delius. I simply love his ability to move me and take me back to my English childhood.
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An extremely enjoyable recording, except for the warbling in the middle. Otherwise an admirable addition to my Delius collection. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x98c996c0) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98ca4bdc) out of 5 stars Superlative Delius from Andrew Davis. 19 May 2011
By Fountainhead - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Both Appalachia and A Song of the High Hills are among Delius' greatest choral/orchestral works. Neither has been over recorded (has ANY Delius ever been over recorded?) so this new disc is quite welcome. Although I generally admire Andrew Davis' conducting (particularly of Elgar), his earlier recordings of Delius seemed rather lackluster to me. Here, however, he shows himself perfectly attuned to Delius' unique style, and completely understands the composer's harmonic idiom, with it's particular demands of pacing, shaping, and flexibility. Both the playing and singing are superlative, and the recorded sound, while falling just short of Chandos' highest standards, is nonetheless very good.

As for comparisons, Beecham's mono Appalachia remains a classic. Barbirolli's account is somewhat more warmly expressive than Davis, and he brings out the sense of heartbreak at the conclusion more vividly, but tempos tend to drag and ensemble is often slack. Although I like Mackerras' Delius as a whole, something in his reading of Appalachia doesn't quite click for me; the spark just isn't there. My memory of Hickox's reading is that it's very fine but marred by weird balances in the recording. As for A Song of the High Hills, Fenby's account remains the touchstone for me; an absolutely transcendent account of a transcendent work. I've never found Beecham convincing in this piece, or in any other of Delius' more visionary scores, and Groves is embarrassingly pedestrian. Mackerras is superlative, however, and I would place Davis on a par with him; I would have liked a slightly longer pause following the initial entrance of the chorus, and the choral climax seems a bit underpowered, but in all other respects this is a superior reading.

As both of these works are ones which Hickox never recorded for Chandos, I would assume that Davis is being used here to fill in some gaps. It's a shame if that's all there is to it, for I'd love to hear more Delius from Davis and these forces. Chandos saw fit to record a second Bax cycle with Vernon Handley, and it was more than worth the effort. So how about a new recording of A Mass of Life? Just a thought.

Warmly recommended.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98ca4c3c) out of 5 stars Southern comfort 10 May 2011
By Sean William Menzies - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Delius is back with a vengeance. This disc is extraordinarily good. I don't have SACD so I cannot review the sonics on that kind of a soundscape but for normal stereo it is lush and gorgeous, the listener is enveloped in the music. Delius' textures of the Mississippi, the mists at dawn, the dust in the trees, the hard work on land and the final slave chorus really brings tears to the eyes. The Song of the High Hills is a still summer evening in Norway that just glows from end to end.

A solid disc, beautifully produced and packaged. Delius wrote music for people here on earth; what a relief after decades of the domestic squabbles of gods and goddesses!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98ca4f18) out of 5 stars A Welcome Issue 2 Aug. 2011
By Peter Zubulake - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was quite excited (an understatement) when I saw this disc had come out. Both Appalachia and The Song of the High Hills are among Delius's most accomplished scores. The performances here I would say are equal to the best available. I listened to this on my SACD player as well as my regular cd player. In both cases, the sound quality lives up to the high standard Chandos maintains in most all their releases. Whether you own no other recordings of these works or all previous versions, I believe you will want to investigate this altogether superlative issue.
HASH(0x98ca4e10) out of 5 stars Staggering "Song of the High Hills," Decent "Appalachia" 25 Mar. 2013
By Transfigured Knight - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Andrew Davis is no stranger to Delius having released a recording of miscellaneous orchestral works under the Teldec label back in the 90s. Davis, along with Bo Holten and Lloyd-Jones, seem to be the only conductors performing right now that are interested in keeping the Delius' flame alive, so, with this in mind, giving this particular recording a three-star rating kind of leaves me with a sour taste in my mouth because so few new recordings of his music have been released, but there's a reason for the rating which I will detail now.

"Appalachia" has no shortage of great performances with Barbirolli/Halle and Hickox/LSO mainly being the performances I return to most often for this work, but I didn't feel much of a connection to the music from Andrew Davis in his performance. Perhaps he doesn't have a strong affinity for it? Who really knows, but I think his performance overall is quite superficial and lacks the depth of feeling I get from Barbirolli and Hickox. To be even more honest, there isn't a perfect performance of "Appalachia" just like there's no perfect performance of Stravinsky's "Le sacre du printemps." It's a matter of finding the right feeling for the work which I feel Davis hasn't done. Many of his interpretative statements seem to be rather declamatory when they should simply be trying to dig deeper and tap into the emotional essence of this music. For this performance, I give it two stars.

"The Song of the High Hills" fares much better I think mainly because I believe the musical language coincides with Davis' approach to conducting and getting clean textures out of orchestral density. This music is much more complex than "Appalachia," which relies on simpler harmonic and melodic ideas to get its' message across. What we get with "The Song of the High Hills" is mature Delius as the piece was written in 1911 (the same year his popular "Two Pieces for Small Orchestra" was written) whereas "Appalachia" was written around 1903. As I mentioned, "The Song of the High Hills" is much more complicated with its almost constant chord changes. Davis' performance goes much better this time around and I think one reason it does is because he knew how to navigate through this dense musical soundscape and delivers a clearer-headed performance. Another great performance is Eric Fenby with the Royal Philharmonic on the Unicorn label. That is a performance worth looking into.

I would only recommend this recording to die-hard Delians, but Delians will want to hear Davis' "The Song of the High Hills."
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