Over the hills
Delius before the first cuckoo,
with BASIL RAMSEY
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
CD INFORMATION - NAXOS 8.553535
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