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FREDERICK DELIUS  

(1862 - 1934)

Born in 1862 in Bradford of German parentage, Frederick Delius was sent by his father to Florida to be an orange grower. There he developed further his earlier musical interests and eventually persuaded his father to support him during a period of musical study at the Leipzig Conservatory, where he met Grieg. With continued paternal support he moved thereafter to Paris and in 1897 settled at Grez-sur-Loing with the painter Jelka Rosen, who later became his wife. His final years brought blindness and paralysis, the result of an early syphilitic infection, and his later music was dictated to the young English musician Eric Fenby, who became his amanuensis. Delius had a strong champion in the conductor Sir Thomas Beecham, who did much to bring his music before the British public. The musical language of Delius, with a characteristic harmony and lyricism of its own, often has a rhapsodic intensity of feeling.

Stage Works

The stage works of Delius include the lyric drama Koanga, a love story set on a Mississippi plantation, where the heroine, the slave girl Palmyra, rejects the advances of the overseer in favour of a prince of her own tribe, Koanga. La Calinda, from this opera, is a well-known orchestral excerpt. The opera A Village Romeo and Juliet, based on a novel by Gottfried Keller, is generally known to concert audiences because of the familiar orchestral interlude ‘The Walk to the Paradise Garden’, which is played as the lovers walk together to a village inn. From the later opera Fennimore and Gerda comes an orchestral Intermezzo, arranged after the death of the composer by Eric Fenby. The opera Irmelin, first performed under Beecham only in 1953, offers an orchestral prelude for concert repertoire. Incidental music for James Elroy Flecker’s Hassan has again provided items for concert repertoire.

Orchestral Music

Popular orchestral works by Delius must include Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody and the rhapsody In a Summer Garden. On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring and Summer Night on the River constitute two pieces for small orchestra, with a further work, A Song Before Sunrise, composed for similar forces. Légende, for violin and orchestra, is a useful work for violinists, and it may also be heard in a violin and piano version. A rhapsodic violin concerto, a cello concerto, and a double concerto for both instruments together are nowadays heard rather less frequently.

Choral and Orchestral Music

Music by Delius for singers and orchestra includes Appalachia, his variations on a traditional plantation song, and his Walt Whitman settings Sea Drift and Songs of Farewell. The remarkable A Mass of Life, based on Nietzsche, expresses the composer’s own creed.

Chamber Music

Delius wrote three numbered violin sonatas, the third first performed and recorded by the violinist May Harrison with the composer Arnold Bax as pianist. The cellist Beatrice Harrison gave the first performance of Delius’s Cello Sonata, accompanied by the composer Hamilton Harty.

Box Set Release Catalogue Number
20th Century British Orchestral Masterpieces Naxos 8.505077
Classical Moments 1-3 Naxos 8.506004
The Seasons Naxos 8.504038
View by Role: Classical Composer | Lyricist
Role: Classical Composer 
Album Title
Catalogue No  Work Category 
A TO Z OF CONDUCTORS Naxos Educational
8.558087-90
Orchestral
A TO Z OF STRING PLAYERS Naxos Educational
8.558081-84
Orchestral
ANIMALS IN MUSIC Naxos
8.578281-82
Orchestral
BBC LEGENDS - Great Recordings from the Archive (20 CD Box Set) ICA Classics
ICAB5113
Orchestral
BEST OF BRITISH Naxos
8.570573-74
Orchestral
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL Naxos
8.555029
Orchestral
CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL (A) Naxos International
8.990005
Orchestral
CLASSIC SWOON Naxos
8.578046-47
Orchestral
CLASSICAL CHILL 1 - The Ultimate Collection Naxos
8.570171-72
Orchestral
CLASSICAL MEDITATION Naxos
8.570364-65
Orchestral
CLASSICAL MOMENTS 3: Classical Music to Relax to Naxos
8.555359
Orchestral
CLASSICAL MOMENTS 4: Classical Music for the Home Naxos
8.555360
Orchestral
CLASSICS FOR LOVERS Naxos
8.570013-14
Orchestral
DE LYSE NAETTER - Stemningsfuld musik pa 3 CD'er (The Light Nights - Evocative Music on 3 CDs) Naxos
8.503148DK
Orchestral
DELIUS - Arrangements for piano 4 hands by Peter Warlock BIS
BIS-CD-1347
Instrumental
DELIUS (THE BEST OF) Naxos
8.556837
Orchestral
DELIUS, F. / IRELAND, J.: Songs (arr. for cello and piano) (J. Lloyd Webber, Jiaxin Cheng, Lenehan) Naxos
8.572902
Chamber Music
DELIUS, F.: Appalachia / Sea Drift (arr. T. Beecham) (Williams, Tampa Bay Master Chorale, Florida Orchestra, S. Sanderling) Naxos
8.572764
Choral - Secular
DELIUS, F.: Florida Suite / Over the Hills and Far Away / Idylle Printemps (English Northern Philharmonia, Lloyd-Jones) Naxos
8.553535
Orchestral
DELIUS, F.: Mass of Life (A) / Prelude and Idyll (J. Watson, Wyn-Rogers, A. Kennedy, Opie, Bach Choir, Bournemouth Symphony, D. Hill) Naxos
8.572861-62
Orchestral, Choral - Secular
DELIUS, F.: Violin Sonatas (Complete) (Stanzeleit, Fenyo) Naxos
8.572261
Chamber Music
DELIUS: American Rhapsody / Paa Vidderne / Spring Morning Marco Polo
8.220452
Orchestral
DELIUS: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring Naxos
8.557143
Orchestral
DELIUS: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1 (Beecham) (1927-1934) Naxos Historical
8.110904
Orchestral
DELIUS: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2 (Beecham) (1927-1936) Naxos Historical
8.110905
Orchestral, Choral - Secular, Orchestral
DELIUS: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 (Beecham) (1928, 1938) Naxos Historical
8.110906
Orchestral
DELIUS: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 (Beecham) (1946-1952) Naxos Historical
8.110984
Orchestral
DELIUS: Paris / Brigg Fair / Eventyr / Irmelin / La Calinda Naxos
8.553001
Orchestral
DELIUS: Piano Concerto / RAVEL: Jeux d'eau (Moiseiwitsch, Vol. 6) (1925-1950) Naxos Historical
8.110689
Concertos
DELIUS: Village Romeo and Juliet (A) (Beecham) (1946-1952) Naxos Historical
8.110982-83
Choral - Secular, Orchestral, Opera, Orchestral
DELIUS: Violin Concerto (Tintner Edition 10) Naxos
8.557242
Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral
DELIUS: Violin Concerto / Piano Concerto / Eventyr / A Song before Sunrise (Beecham) Naxos Historical
8.111006
Concertos, Orchestral, Concertos, Orchestral
Discover the Classics, Vol. 2 Naxos Educational
8.554246-47
Orchestral
ELGAR / DELIUS: Violin Concertos (Sammons) (1929, 1944) Naxos Historical
8.110951
Concertos
ELGAR: Serenade for Strings / Elegy / HOLST: St Paul's Suite / HUGHES: Fantasia BIS
BIS-CD-1589
Orchestral
ENGLISH FESTIVAL Naxos
8.550229
Orchestral
ENGLISH STRING MINIATURES, Vol. 2 Naxos
8.555068
Orchestral
ENGLISH STRING MINIATURES, Vol. 4 Naxos
8.555070
Orchestral
English String Music Naxos
8.550823
Orchestral
FANGA DAGEN (Seize the Day) Naxos
8.578216
Orchestral
GREENSLEEVES - English Pastoral Music Naxos
8.557535
Orchestral
HOLST: Planets (The) / DELIUS: Over the Hills and Far Away Naxos
8.571036
Orchestral
Islands of Sanity 2: Islands by Day / Islands by Night Naxos
8.557420-21
Orchestral
KLASSISKA FAVORITER, Vol. 2 Naxos
8.550554
Orchestral
MAGIC OF SPRING (THE) Naxos
8.557785
Orchestral
ROMEO AND JULIET - LOVE ETERNAL Naxos
8.578102
Orchestral
Silent Night Naxos International
8.990006
Orchestral
SOMMER Naxos
8.503045
Orchestral
STORY OF BRITISH CLASSICAL MUSIC (THE) Naxos Educational
8.558193-94
Orchestral
SVEN GORAN ERIKSSONS - Klassiska Favoriter Naxos
8.503135
Orchestral
VARMA RODA STUNDER - Romantisk Klassisk Musik (Warm Red Hours - Romantic Classical Music) (3CD set) Naxos
8.503038
Orchestral
Viola Recital: Magyar, Eniko - BLISS, A. / DELIUS, F. / BRIDGE, F. (The English Viola) Naxos
8.572407
Chamber Music
Viola Sonatas (English) - JACOB, G. / IRELAND, J. / ARNOLD, M. / DELIUS, F. / BERKELEY, L. (Outram, Rolton) Naxos
8.572208
Chamber Music
Vocal Music - STENHAMMAR, W. / ZEMLINSKY, A. / LANGGAARD, R. / HENRIQUES, F. / DELIUS, F. / PETERSON-BERGER, W. (Sange af J.P. Jacobsen) Naxos
8.572070
Vocal
Vocal Recital: Breedt, Michelle - ELGAR, E. / ARNE, T.A. / HORDER, M. / QUILTER, R. / COATES, E. / HARRISON, J. (Shakespeare Inspired) TwoPianists
TP1039077
Vocal
WINTER Naxos
8.557726
Orchestral
Role: Lyricist 
Album Title
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