Sunday, December 06, 2009

Delius, the vernal master

Frederick Delius (1862-1934) is another one of those British composers who are far more famous at home than abroad. The latter part is undeserved, because (unless you are really allergic to the pastoral vein running through most of this British music) this is well-crafted, tuneful and rewarding music, and in the end a quite individual blend of romanticism and impressionism. You can hardly ask for a better introductory disc to the works of Delius than this programme compiled on one Naxos disc. Ten of his delightful miniatures, none lasting longer than 10 minutes, often inspired by spring, and including his most famous works, such as The walk to the paradise garden, and On hearing the first cuckoo in spring. Interestingly, they are laid out in chronological order on the CD, spanning most of his career (1889-1934). Great and well-recorded performances by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under David Lloyd-Jones. If you want only one Delius disc in your collection, make it this one.