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Record Box

Over the hills

Delius before the first cuckoo,
with BASIL RAMSEY


Naxos    8.553535

Delius Orchestral Works (c) 1996 HNH International Ltd

 

Early music by Delius was romantic as in the soundworld of much German music of the late 19th century. The individual sophistication which is typified by, say, On hearing the first cuckoo in Spring was well into the 20th century - 1912 in this case. The first period therefore was an extended apprenticeship giving Delius a foundation on which his style was formed and refined to a later maturity. Then his insidious illness led to the engagement of the young Eric Fenby as amenuensis. His support and work became invaluable to both Delius and latterly to us. 1934 was a sad year for British music: it brought the deaths of Delius, Elgar, and Holst.

This CD programme of the pre-1900 music of Delius shows the general anonymity of music that swam with the tide of romanticism. Nevertheless, this is of quality and has style. An extract from the Fantasy-Overture Over the hills and far away from around 1896 shows the sensitivity of Delius' feelings [listen - track 5, 2:00-2:56] and his growing control of orchestral colour. Likewise, the opening of Idylle de Printemps shows similar dexterity with texture and colour [listen - track 6, 0:00-1:00].

 

 

Copyright © 25 October 2000 Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK

 

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Record Box is Music & Vision's regular Wednesday series of shorter CD reviews