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Art Rock
Art for Art’s Sake, December 2009

Delius, the vernal master

Frederick Delius (1862–1934) is another one of those British composers who are far more famous at home than abroad. The latter part is undeserved, because (unless you are really allergic to the pastoral vein running through most of this British music) this is well-crafted, tuneful and rewarding music, and in the end a quite individual blend of romanticism and impressionism. You can hardly ask for a better introductory disc to the works of Delius than this programme compiled on one Naxos disc. Ten of his delightful miniatures, none lasting longer than 10 minutes, often inspired by spring, and including his most famous works, such as The walk to the paradise garden, and On hearing the first cuckoo in spring. Interestingly, they are laid out in chronological order on the CD, spanning most of his career (1889–1934). Great and well-recorded performances by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under David Lloyd-Jones. If you want only one Delius disc in your collection, make it this one.

Scott Cantrell
The Dallas Morning News, March 2005

All right, so the pastel prettiness of Frederick Delius' miniature tone poems is a guilty pleasure. But if we're free to luxuriate in Monet's rustles and washes of color, why not their musical counterparts? And with daffodils and redbud abloom all over Dallas, the English composer's gentle-voiced cuckoo is right in time and tune. Conductor David Lloyd-Jones and the Scottish orchestra trace a timeline from the early Marche Caprice (1889) to the aptly titled Fantastic Dance (1934). Winter Night (Sleigh Ride) would fit right into a Delibes ballet score, and the American Rhapsody is cheapened by intrusions of "Dixie" and "Yankee Doodle," but The Walk to the Paradise Garden is sheer enchantment. Loving performances are captured in silken, spacious sonics.

Hugh Canning
, November 2004

"...when performed with such tender and passionate advocacy as Lloyd-Jones and the Scottish orchestra lavish on them, his once popular orchestral miniatures...emerge with a beguiling freshness and ravishing impressionistic transparency. At Naxos's super-budget price of £4.99, this is a steal."

Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine, April 2004

"Both have been recorded before, under John Hopkins on Naxos's sister label Marco Polo; but Lloyd-Jones and his Scottish players give them greater warmth and the sense of ebb and flow which distinguishes everything on this disc... It's very enjoyable, and, for anyone interested in tracing the composer's development towards mature mastery, virtually indispensable."

Andrew Achenbach
Gramophone, March 2004

"Lloyd-Jones has the measure of Delius's elusive idiom in both rarities and favorites...Plenty to enjoy here...warm heart conducting from Davis Lloyd-Jones, whose Delian sympathies are not in doubt...the RSNO respond attentively throughout."

Andrew Achenbach

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