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Thread: Delius' Operas?

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Default Delius' Operas?

    I wondered which Delius' operas could you recommend?

    I like his orchestral music because of it's subtlety and the impressionistic scents and visions it sometimes induces in me. Are his operas anything alike?

    I've seen 'Koanga' and 'A Village Romeo and Juliet' in my favourite CD store. Which one to start with?

    I appreciate your help!
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    Suggest "Village Romeo and Juliet" at the start - very Delius and contains that marvellous interlude "Walk to the Paradise Garden" before the last act. It's probably his best.

    I've heard all Delius' Operas - they've never been staged live in or near England in my lifetime - shame on the world! - so I have to rely on recordings - better than nothing.

    Koanga is the least memorable. Fennimore and Gerda is the strangest - the imbalance between its two parts. One to look for is Irmelin - probly only available used now. It was recorded by the BBC Concert Orchestra/DelMar BBC-CD 3002 Bar code 5011755004125.

    If the recording you've seen is the Beecham and it's reasonably priced and good condition...well, it's an old recording and may take a little adaptation to "listen through" the technical limitations of the age...but it's Beecham and definitely worth a listen. He had the magic. I'd take his recording of "Paris" over any other I've heard except possibly Anthony Collins, another old recording.

    Frasier
    Last edited by Frasier; May-04-2007 at 15:30. Reason: typo

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    Can I also suggest, should you be interested in Delius' orchestral vocal music, Cynara?
    It's one of his last (if not THE last) works. A recording is available conducted by Eric Fenby to whom Delius dictated the work when blind and paralysed.

    I think Meredith Davies who conducted "Village" also did Cynara but I can't find it on record at the mo.
    Last edited by Frasier; May-04-2007 at 15:32. Reason: another typo!

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks a lot for recommendations!
    You've heard all of his operas? That's excellent! But I had high hopes for 'Koanga'. The story sounds exotic and temperament... well OK, I haven't heard it so I cannot say.

    I've noticed most of his output is unperformed these days, at least outside Britain. I would like very much to get his chamber works (sonatas and quartets) and the juicy-titled, less famous orchestral works with typical nature names like 'Idylle de Printemps', 'Over the Hills and Far Away', 'A Song of Summer' and 'North Country Sketches'. Also his Requiem seems very attractive to me. However, it seems impossible to get them here.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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    Senior Member Frasier's Avatar
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    Hi again,

    Well, you won't go wrong with Koanga! It's fine - if you had enough money, you'd be rewarded by having both!

    As for his orchestral works...well...Delius isn't the easiest music to play effectively and for a long time, Sir Thomas Beecham ruled - he championed Delius and perhaps thanks to him we hear it at all. A few more recent conductors have tried but never quite got the Delius magic.

    Strange about how only the UK seems to perform it because Delius spent most of his life out of England trying to escape his family who wanted him to be a business man!

    If you don't mind slightly older recordings - these are from the 60s in stereo - there's the Beecham collection that contains his two short orchestral works "On hearing the first cuckoo" and "Summer Night", Brigg Fair, Summer Evening, and one or two fun pieces. They have been in the EMI current catalogue since first issued - 40+ years now. I see that they've added the first movement of the Florida Suite to the programme originally on the LPs.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Delius-Orche...8348503&sr=1-1

    Requiem and Mass of Life are available in a modern recording.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Delius-Chora...8349099&sr=1-4

    Beecham also recorded the Mass - it's available but is a mono recording from the late 1950s, I think.

    Anyway, of other conductors - this is just my opinion but I'd avoid Vernon Handley with Delius. He's a fine conductor and has come up with a winner of a set of Bax Symphonies but for Delius - nope!

    Happy listening!

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    Senior Member Lisztfreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frasier View Post
    Happy listening!
    Thank you very much. So far, listening to Delius' music has been an ethereal and highly pleasant experience - I guess his mixing of styles at the breaking of the century appeals to me.
    ''Oh, the String Quartet - oh, the Divine Scratching!''

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