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Beecham conducts Delius -

'... a very worthy CD, remastered with due care ...'

The Beecham Collection, including unissued recordings - Frederic Delius: Brigg Fair, Sea Drift, etc. © 2001 SOMM Recordings

The focal point of this Delius concert is a previously unissued recording of Sea Drift made on 11 November 1928 at the Portman Rooms, London. The baritone is the late Dennis Noble, strong, mellifluous and remarkably clear, with Beecham's own Manchester Opera Chorus, not always very distinct in this Columbia recording of the early elecrical era, and the London Symphony Orchestra -- how flexibly warm but how different that style of portamento string playing and woodwinds fractionally anticipating the beat. It has however been well enough remastered to allow us to share a performance that swiftly draws one into its inspired world of the tragic poem. Walt Whitman's theme is loss. Two devoted birds come north in May from Alabama to nest, and the unexplained disappearance of the female, leaving 'four light green eggs' and the male searching through sea-spray and sand dune, 'singing uselessly all the night'. I am not sure that it works as word-setting, but the music is a haunting match to the spirit of the text.

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Copyright © 24 July 2002 Patric Standford, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK


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