Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934)
A Delius Collection of Rare Historic Recordings
Performers include Sir John Barbirolli, Sir Eugène Goossens, Constant Lambert, Isobel Baillie & Heddle Nash.
rec. ADD Mono
Full Track List at end of Review
rec. 1929-55
Danacord’s way with Delius has been pretty well documented on MusicWeb International. Their Holten-directed Norwegian (review review) and Danish (review review) collections are invaluable. They are to follow this up with three more CDs, one each for the British, French and American works for singers, chorus and orchestra. The trio will be out ready for the 2012 Delius Anniversary year. Out of the blue Jesper Buhl preludes these promised CDs - in the same month as his 2CD collection of Woldike Haydn symphonies - with this Beecham-less Delius collection. They are what I understand to be some of the rarest historic recordings. Many of these miniatures are now available for the first time on CD. The generous notes are provided by Lyndon Jenkins.
We start with a sumptuous pulse-racer of a La Calinda from Constant Lambert. Similar celerity is heard in Isobel Baillie’s Gerald Moore-accompanied Love’s Philosphy. Moore here does a better than passable imitation of Golovanov at full throttle. Sidney Beer’s 1944 Irmelin Prelude is memorable for some closely-placed woodwind and some Hollywoodian golden violins. After that aureate halo Pini and Parry lead us plangently through the Caprice and Elegy we know so much better from the Beatrice Harrison recording on Testament. The Boyd Neel strings smooth the way for the rather unmemorable but agreeable Air and Dance. Much the same can be said of Barbirolli’s full-hearted 1948 Two Aquarelles. I do not recall hearing Joan Stuart before. She is the soprano inThe Violet and Sweet Venevil, two songs that inhabit the gestures and contours of classic English song without being specially Delian in any way. The same might be said of the clarion clear Indian Love Song. Heddle Nash is rather prim of tone for To the Queen of My Heart. Collins takes the way of Beer in the famous Cuckoo which surges with bullion vibrant string playing among other delights. From very far back in misty recording antiquity we hear Evlyn Howard-Jones in the 1929 recording of the Three Preludes for solo piano. The first of these is dedicated to Howard-Jones. Goossens’ Walk to the Paradise Garden is a specially languid reading - it feels very expansive indeed. A reading to relish. Steady-toned Danish violinist Henry Holst premiered the Walton Violin Concerto in the UK. He later recorded the Bax violin sonatas with Frank Merrick. Gerald Moore and Holst here take the slow-pulsed Légende quite steadily. Finally we return to Barbirolli and this time with A Song of Summer which is far more worthy of his tender attentions that the earlier diptych. This sounds splendidly pellucid and the Halle bask in the warmth of it all though at sustained climaxes the sound becomes distressed though the mind soon mends the rasping distortion.
Dedicated Delians - are there any others? - will need to get this disc.
Rob Barnett 
Dedicated Delians - are there any others? - will need to get this disc of Delius rarities.
Full Track List 
La Calinda [3:29]
Hallé Orchestra/Constant Lambert
Recorded 30 July 1941: HMV C3273

Irmelin Prelude [5:03]
National Symphony Orchestra/Sidney Beer
8 June 1944: Decca K1834

Caprice & Elegy [6:43]
Anthony Pini, cello - Wilfrid Parry, piano
1955: Argo RG47

Air and Dance [4:33]
The Boyd Neel String Orchestra
20 October 1938: Decca X147

The Violet [2:32]
Joan Stuart, soprano - Gordon Watson, piano
1955: Argo RG46

Sweet Venevil [2:54]
Joan Stuart, soprano - Gordon Watson, piano
1955: Argo RG46

On hearing the first Cuckoo in Spring [6:18]
London Symphony Orchestra/Anthony Collins
23 & 25 February 1953: Decca LXT2788

Indian Love Song [3:12]
Maggie Teyte, soprano - Rita Mackay, piano
Decca LXT6126

To the Queen of my Heart [3:07]
Heddle Nash, tenor - Gerald Moore, piano
7 December 1934: Columbia SDX7

Love's philosophy [1:48]
Isobel Baillie, soprano - Gerald Moore, piano
31 May 1945: Columbia DB2178

Two Aquarelles (arr. Fenby) [3:49]
Hallé Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli
1 April 1948: HMV C3864

Three Preludes for piano [3:34]
Evlyn Howard-Jones, piano
4 April 1929: Columbia 5444

The Walk to the Paradise Garden [9:23]
[A Village Romeo and Juliet (arr. Beecham)]
Cincinatti Symphony Orchestra/Eugène Goossens
14 February 1946: RCA Victor 11-9493

Légende for violin & piano [8:40]
Henry Holst, violin - Gerald Moore, piano
7 August 1942: Columbia DX1094

A Song of Summer [11:02]
Hallé Orchestra/Sir John Barbirolli
2 February 1950: HMV DB9609/70