The one authority
Beecham conducts Delius -
reviewed by PATRIC STANDFORD
'... a very worthy CD, remastered with due care ...'
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.
Copyright © 24 July 2002
Patric Standford, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, UK