I have recently acquired a taste for early 20th century British classical composers. Butterworth and Vaughan-Williams are a delight but this is the stand-out play. Soothing yet strong, easy on the ear, yet deep. A must listen for fans of this era.
This celebration of Delius' music includes some of his finest works from some of his finest interpreters: favourites like 'On Hearing the first cuckoo..' sis alongside comparative rarities such as 'Cynara' and 'Late Swallows' from the likes of Barbirolli, Beecham, Handley and Hickox. Wonderful stuff! Sound quality (as burned onto blank CDs is excellent. Five stars' worth indeed!
More than two and a half hours of Delius might seem daunting to some. Ghastly chromatic harmonies, yes there are a few. But not many, for this album is full of surprises and many rewards. Just look through the list of titles and see how many times the words 'summer' and 'song' appear. The first surprise is that this album contains not only sumptuous orchestral music but choral: a most enchanting two-minute piece for wordless choir "To Be Sung On A Summer Night". Absolutely beautiful.
The next surprise is the outstanding quality of the woodwind playing from various British orchestras, that wonderful lyrical style that distinguished 'English' players from those on the Continent. Sadly this is gradually being replaced by a sort of Euro style as players move between countries. Who were these wonderful players? We may never know, but the unmistakable playing of Terence MacDonagh, Beecham's principal oboist, can be heard in Sleigh Ride.
Overall this album deserves its title 'Essential Delius'. It captures the very special mood of this powerful, romantic, visionary, and unique composer: 'summer in a bottle', and frankly for £2.49 you can't go wrong.
Having heard a programme on the BBC about Delius, I was curious, only remembering `On hearing the cuckoo in spring`. I have been used to associating Amazon with books but lo, an excellent selection of CDs including Delius was available. I chose the `essential Delius` and it is well worth getting. Amazon.co.uk were their usual excellent selves in delivery of the product.
What an exquisite couple of discs!!! Sadly Delius has suffered relative neglect here along with other very fine 'British' composers like EJ. Moeran, Arnold Bax, John Ireland and Sir Granville Bantock. I accept Delius was from German stock and lived much of his life in France but many musicians regard him as quintessentially British, English even! These two discs offer a reasonable cross section of his work and how beautiful much of it is too. When I was a child during the mid 1940s I had an uncle who played Delius very frequently on 78rpm shellack discs using equipment with thorn needles which always seemd to require re-sharpening in the middle of each side of the 12" discs. Happy memories!!
This edition apperas to be a re release and is excellent value for money!!
A charming collection of the works of Delius. Despite his living in France there is something quintessentially English in his compositions. Perhaps distance adds charm but he is certainly a great miniaturist