Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Brigg Fair
Dance Rhapsody no. 2
On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Summer Night on the River
A Song before Sunrise
Intermezzo: Fennimore and Gerda
Irmelin Prelude
Summer Evening
Florida Suite: Dance

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham
EMI CDM5 67552 2  [76.45]
Crotchet    Amazon UK    Amazon US

Delius and Beecham go together as one of the great musical collaborations, and the reappearance of these performances in EMI's 'Great Recordings of the 20th Century' series is no co-incidence. The sound has been freshened with the application of the latest technology, and it is certainly direct and colourful, if occasionally somewhat lacking in atmosphere.

Of course Beecham's special understanding of Delius is felt strongly in these performances, whether on the larger scale in Brigg Fair or in the more evocative shorter pieces such the First Cuckoo and Summer Night on the River, where the string playing is not only quite magical but finely judged too. Indulgence is never on the agenda and the beauty of the music is allowed to speak for itself. Hearing this disc makes it seem all the stranger that much of this music is so seldom performed today. Who, for instance, could fail to respond to the beautiful Irmelin Prelude?

Terry Barfoot

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