Choral Music of Frederick Delius
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There is a rather unkind Tee shirt often sold at music festival in the summer, a shirt with the statement 'Dull, Duller, Delius'. Yes, Frederick Delius did compose some rather ponderous music, but the three works here represented (among a throng of others including his opera 'A Village Romeo and Juliet') go a long way in testing that criticism.
'Sea Drift for baritone, chorus & orchestra is one of the unique works for soloist and massed forces. The settings of poems by Walt Whitman are bathed in Delius' water music and majestic manner of addressing the voice with orchestra and chorus. Byrn Terfel is the baritone of choice for this work and he is magnificent. Richard Hickox conducts the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus is a deeply moving performance. Terfel not only is in glorious vocal estate but also enunciates the texts clearly for maximum communication.
Included are two other choral 'Songs of Farewell, for double chorus & orchestra', here performed by Bournemouth Sinfonietta and Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Southern Voices with Waynflete Singers, with Sally Burgess.
'Songs of Sunset, for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus & orchestra', with Sally Burgess and Bryn Terfel is once again based on Walt Whitman's poetry and while it is not as dramatic a work as 'Sea Drift' it is beautifully performed. In all this is a clearly fine recording. Grady Harp, July 06
Incredible In Every Way Imaginable
J. Rich | 10/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This collection brings together some of Delius' more popular choral works:
Sea Drift - Written between 1903-1904 is a work for baritone, chorus, and orchestra. What beautiful work this is! The few opening minutues are just remarkable, perhaps ravishing is the word for it. The texts used in this composition are various excerpts from Walt Whitman's poem "Leaves of Grass" that talk about the sea. Delius set these texts with a lush, harmonic backdrop. The melodies are absolutely gorgeous. The piece follows the structure of verses and after the verse, the chorus comes in to answer that previous verse. It's become one of my favorite Delius compositions these past few months.
Songs of Farewell - Written in 1930 in the final phase of Delius' life, which he was paralyzed and blind for the last three years of his life and he died in 1934. "Songs of Farewell," written for double chorus and orchestra, is one of the finest achievements of Delius' entire career in my opinion. It manages to capture Delius in almost a restful, peaceful place. The texts are, like "Sea Drift," based on texts by Walt Whitman. The music again accompanies the chorus with a beautiful harmonic backdrop and counter melodies.
Songs of Sunset - Written in 1906 is a work for for soprano and baritone solo, mixed chorus and orchestra based on texts by Ernest Dowson. It is very beautiful piece, though, it's not one of my favorite Delius compositions. It has some very nice sections, especially with the chorus.
The performances from Bryn Terfel, the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, and the Waynflete Singers are all superb. The conducting of Richard Hickox is second to none on this recording. Hickox, along with Mackerras, are among the finest Delius conductors of the last 30 years. Hickox really showed an affinity for this music and I'm forever grateful for his dedication to keeping Delius' music alive. The audio quality, unlike one reviewer said, is fantastic.
Anyone who thinks Delius is dull or boring is certainly missing out I think. He may not be as bombastic as a Bruckner or a Brahms, but anyone interested in hearing a composer who developed a highly original language of Impressionism should check him out. His music is much more about setting a mood and letting the listener come to his/her own conclusions.
Also checkout the following recordings:
Delius: The Walk to the Paradise Garden
Delius: Requiem/A Mass Of Life
Delius: Orchestral Works
The British Music Collection: Frederick Delius
Delius: Paris, the Song of a Great City; Double Concerto; Cello Concerto
Delius: Orchestral Works"
Great Music, Great Performances
Lloyd M. Shupp | Falls Church, VA United States | 06/21/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In every way, this is an inspired performance of Sea Drift, Delius' great masterpiece. Bryn Terfel is exceptional, vocally and interpretively. The orchestra and chorus are equal partners with Terfel in piercing to the heart and soul of this powerful and emotional testament of bereavement. Have a box of Kleenex nearby. The Songs of Farewell and Songs of Sunset ably complete the disc. Sally Burgess, mezzo soprano, is a joy to hear and goes well with Terfel's robust baritone in the Songs of Sunset.