One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Frederick DELIUS (1862-1934)
Appalachia (arr. Eric Fenby) (1896) [38.02]
Two Aquarelles (1917) (Lento, ma non troppo [2.24], Gaily, but not quick [2.19])
Irmelin Prelude (1890-92 rev. 1931) [5.09]
Dance Rhapsody No. 1 (1908) [13.06]
Dance Rhapsody No. 2 (1916) [8.00]
Romance (1896) [6.48]
Over the Hills and Far Away (1895-97) [13.39]
Florida Suite (1888) (Daybreak [12.35]; By the River [6.34]; Sunset [9.54]; At Night [8.37])
North Country Sketches (1913-14) (Autumn [8.09]; Winter Landscape [4.17]; Dance [6.28]; The March of Spring [8.04])
Romance: Julian Lloyd Webber (cello); Bengt Forsberg (piano)
Appalachia: Daniel Washington (baritone) Chorus of Welsh National Opera
Orchestra of Welsh National Opera/Sir Charles Mackerras
rec. Abbey Road studios, London, September 1996; Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, 1989-1990
PRESTO DECCA 473 716-2 [76.09 + 78.47]

The great irony here is in the title of this Decca series, The British Music Collection for Delius himself said, “I don’t claim to be a British composer.” Spoken as a true cosmopolitan, for Delius’s music reflects his love of America, France and Scandinavia as well as a nod towards England. Instead of the shorter pieces that are included on CD 1 this collection would have seemed more representative, for me anyway, if it had included his reading of the early large-scale orchestral work, Paris. It can be found as part of the Decca 8 CD Delius Edition 478 3078. Our editor, Rob Barnett, found this reading too relaxed and preferred, as I do, Mackerras’s earlier, 1991 EMI recording (Classics for Pleasure 5758032).

Mackerras’s Appalachia is uneven and disappoints compared to the classic readings of Beecham, Barbirolli and recently Sir Andrew Davis. Mackerras is ponderous in the opening Molto moderato and doom-laden with heavy drum beats in the opening of the final movement with its plaintive baritone and chorus in the closing pages. More successful are the shorter pieces making up the rest of CD 1 especially the two Dance Rhapsodies. No. 1, the longest and most densely scored for large orchestra, is very atmospheric and vital in Mackerras’s reading and suggests Arabian, Slav and Celtic dances. Rhapsody No. 2 has that gorgeously wistful melody.

CD 2 opens with Mackerras’s lusty reading of Over the hills and far away. Although Mackerras might suggest that the hills are likely to be in Yorkshire, there is every likelihood that in fact they were Norwegian in the composer’s mind. The slower wistful, nostalgic section tends to sag a little.

The Florida Suite is for the most part successful, atmospheric and scintillating, evocative of Florida’s natural surroundings. The famous La Calinda tune in the opening ‘Daybreak’ movement is rendered exquisitely with resplendent woodwind playing. The opposite concluding movement ‘At Night’ is equally atmospheric with its soft mellow melody tenderly spun. The ‘Sunset’ third movement’s dance is wildly abandoned. The concluding North Country Sketches takes us to the composer’s birth region, the English county of Yorkshire. Delius himself reminisced about walking and riding a pony “over the open hills and dales that could be both bleak and lonely and yet austerely beautiful.” We are aware of this special beauty of isolation in these sound pictures. We begin with ‘Autumn’ and the impression of winds soughing in the trees, then the still iciness as ‘Winter’ imposes its unrelentingly iron grip on the landscape. Finally, after the ‘Dance’ movement, in the final ‘The March of Spring’ we have the return of life to the ‘woodlands, meadows and silent moors’, with the rapturous evocation of bird song, the joyous movements of animals and insects.

A 2 CD set with many plus points and a bargain for those just beginning to appreciate the special beauty that is Delius.

Ian Lace

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger