I have to confess that
I am in two minds about this new Delius
compilation. Lloyd-Jonesí brisker tempi
might suit Bax but they are not always
sympathetic to the delicate, subtle
sound-world of Delius.
The new album begins
nicely with an attractive crisp reading
of Marche Caprice heard here
with its extra flute and cornet parts.
Also impressive are Lloyd-Jonesís sympathetic
renderings of the three small tone poems
unusually presented together here -
and the effect of their union is stunning.
Three of four seasons are represented
in the collection; what a pity that
the fourth (representing Autumn) has
been lost. It is to be fervently hoped
that the Delius Society will pursue
the hunt and that one day it will be
found. Summer Evening is a sultry,
wistful, pastoral portrait, nicely paced
and balanced: delicacy turning to passion.
This Sleigh Ride is a joyful
celebration of youth and a wonderfully
atmospheric evocation, snow gently whirling
across a peaceful moonlit landscape.
Lloyd-Jones imparts a wondrous ethereal
quality here. The little gem ends with
that Delian quality of regret, regret
for the transience of life and love
Ė paradise lost indeed. Spring Morning
continues this mood with some delicious,
delicate woodwind playing, then soaring
lyricism as the music takes wing and
the soul uplifts.
a forerunner of Appalachia, has
considerable appeal and magic in its
own right. Listen to the pellucid opening
with its running harp figures suggesting,
perhaps, the gentle swell of river waters.
That poignant Appalachian Negro theme
is presented again in variations, but
different to those heard in Deliusís
major work. Then the minstrel-show song,
Dixie, and Yankee Doodle
are presented in rousing perorations,
Delius apparently caught up in the ebullience
and pride of the young nation. There
is also, however, a typically affecting
Delian nostalgic epilogue after the
to the Paradise Garden is beautifully
played, marvellously evocative but this
is not only nature music, it is also
tender love music rising to heartfelt
passion. It should envelop the characters
creating feelings of deepest sympathy
for their plight, I wish I could have
been more moved by this performance.
The remaining items
in the programme are taken at speeds
faster than those of Barbirolli and
Beecham. There are many, many recordings
of On Hearing the First Cuckoo
in Spring - this is not among the
best. The balance of Summer Night
on the River places those fireflies
and gnats too far forward, compromising
its fragile poetry.
A Song before Sunrise
also disappointed at first, too crushingly
hurried I protested but then I began
to be seduced by the eloquence and passion
of this reading.
Fantastic Dance has all the hedonistic
excitement of Paris and the sinuousness
and romantic tenderness of the earlier
Not an entirely successful
album but at Naxosís super bargain price
one can cherry pick and the sound is