Delius has written many kinds of music. Least known and recorded are his
operas. As far as I know, Koanga has had no complete recordings, but I believe
that all the others has been recorded. Unfortunately, only two of them are
available generally available on CD today. That is A village Romeo & Juliet
(the opera most recorded) and Fennimore & Gerda.
|A village Romeo and Juliet.
IGS 079/80, 2LP. Various soloists, chorus not given any name, Orchestra of
Sadler's Wells, conducted by Meredith Davies. Recorded live 10th. April 1962 in
Bradford. Label marked "private recording, not for sale".|
|A village Romeo & Juliet. EMI CDZB 75785, mid price. Released 2002.
I was fortunate to get LP recording trough Berkshire records in the US. The
sound could have been much better, but the performance itself are good. I hope
someone will release it on CD one day. I haven't had a record player in years,
so I won't say more about it.
The CD recording was released in 2002 and it's first time it has been
available on CD.
A synopisis of this opera can be found here.
|The Delius collection.
Unicorn-Kanchana UKCD 2071-2077, 7 individual CDs at mid price. More
Dr. Eric Fenby, who died in 1998 at the age of 90, recorded some of Delius'
music in the 1980's and these and other recordings has now been released on CD.
Fenby was Delius' amanuensis from about 1929 until 1934 when Delius died. Thanks
to Fenby, Delius got the opportunity to compose several very good works. Most of
these works are recorded by Fenby in this series.
These CDs are essential to anyone who likes Delius' music. Here we have
many of his orchestral works, choral works, songs, chamber music and
instrumental music and all very good recorded. The sound is very good on all
the CDs and the performances are splendid. I am very happy about these CDs,
and I can't recommend them enough. Go get them!!!!
|Orchestral works. EMI CMS 5
65119 2, 2CD, mid price. Released 1994. More info.|
This is one of the best collections of Delius' music there is. It includes
many of his greatest works with one of the greatest Delius' conductors ever.
All the performances are very good, and the same is the sound. If you don't
know much about Delius' music, this is one of the best places to start.
Excellent recording and many of his best works together at mid price is a very
good offer (I suppose that's why I bought it...). There are also another
Barbirolli/Delius CD, but that includes some earlier recordings. I don't
remember the label, but it's supposed to be good. I highly recommend this CD
to everyone who likes great music!
|Orchestral works. Naxos 8.553001,
budget price. Recorded in 1994. More info. |
This was my very first all-Delius CD. As a Norwegian, the work Eventyr is
very interesting. It's based on Norwegian folklore (or eventyr in Norwegian)
collected by Asbjørnsens and Moe in the last century. It's a very important
part of the Norwegian cultural heritage. Delius liked Norway and Scandinavia
very much, so I think it was very natural for him to choose such a topic for
this work. For me, this work is the highlight of the CD. The other works are
very good too, and all works are among his most famous. But, for me, Eventyr
is special. It's a very good CD, and at this price you have no excuse for not
|Orchestral works. Naxos 8.553535,
budget price. Recorded 1995. More info |
This CD was just recently released by Naxos, and it was definitely worth
waiting for. It's a wonderful CD and with some very interesting works. It
contains no less than than three premiere recordings, and that's not something
we get every day! The main work on the CD is the Florida suite. It's in four
movements, and all movements has programmatic titles (Daybreak - dance, By the
river, Sunset - near the plantation, At night). I had never heard this work
before I got this CD, and I was fascinated right away by its beauty. The first
movement are one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard! This
CD is essential in any Delius' fans' CD collection. The performance is very
good and the same is the sound. I am very happy about this CD, and I can
recommend it highly.
|American rhapsody. Marco Polo
8.220452, full price. More info |
This is another CD with some of Delius' Scandinavian inspired music. Paa
vidderne (on the heights) is based on a poem by Henrik Ibsen from 1859. The
other "Norwegian" work is the Norwegian suite, also called
Folkeraadet (the council of the people). It's the scene music from a play
written by Gunnar Heiberg in 1897. The music itself are very much inspired by
Norwegian folk songs and folk music, f.ex. with its inclusion of
"Kjerringa med staven", a song which everybody in Norway knows. He
also includes our national anthem "Ja vi elsker dette landet". That
created riots in Christiania (now Oslo) because of nationalistic feelings. It
was only eight years before we got independent, so it was rather touchy to
deal with such matters at that time. I like this work very much, mostly
because I can recognise the original songs. This is yet another very good
Delius CD, with good performances and sound. As a Norwegian this music means
something special for me, and I am proud of that such a great composer like
Delius uses our folklore and folk songs in his music. It's a highly
|A Mass of Life and Requiem. Chandos
9515 (2), 2CD, full price. Recorded 1996. More info.
|A Mass of life etc. EMI CMS 7 64218 2,
2CD, mid price. Released 1992. More info. |
Delius' A Mass of Life is among his most famous works, and also one of his
most infamous (because of its atheistic text). It's a "normal" mass
but instead of using Christian text, Delius set some of Nietzche's Also sprach
Zarathustra. With its attacks on religion, it explains itself why it hasn't
got any more performances then it has got. This is the third recording of this
Mass. The first one with Beecham is not available on CD, but there is also a
very good recording available on EMI conducted by Sir Charles Groves. I have
that recording myself, and I am very pleased with that one too. That one is
available at mid price. I have trouble recommending the Groves or the Hickox
if you only want one recording of this work. You must then choose which
couplings you want. The Chandos recording includes the Requiem, which is the
only recording available. The EMI includes Sea drift and Songs of sunset,
some of Delius' very best works, but they are available elsewhere in good
recordings. So, I would have chosen the Chandos recording so I could get the
Requiem. But the best thing you can do is to have both, which I have.
|The walk to the paradise garden.
Chandos CHAN 9355. Recorded 1994. More info. |
This is a very good collection of some of Delius' best orchestral works,
all very well performed. This is one of my favourite Delius CDs at the moment.
These are all program music, and all very typical Delius. This is a highly
recommended collection of Delius' gems.