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CD Review

Frederick Delius

  • Brigg Fair – An English Rhapsody
  • Dance Rhapsody #2
  • Two Pieces for Small Orchestra
  • I: On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
  • II: Summer Night on the River
  • A Song Before Sunrise
  • Intermezzo (Fennimore and Gerda) [arr. Fenby]
  • Irmelin Prélude
  • Sleighride
  • Summer Evening [ed. And arr. Beecham]
  • Florida Suite [rev. And ed. Beecham] I: Daybreak – Dance
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham
EMI 67553
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There was a movie I watched a few years ago that had a line that stuck in the craw of my brain. A young punk reveals he is really learned when the teacher asks, "How is classical music different from jazz?" The young punk answers, "You can't dance to it." Whoever believes that you cannot dance to classical music has never listened to Delius' "Sleighride" and tried to not dance. Trying to think of some comparison to attempt to describe the music of Delius all I could think of is "an English Debussy." The music of Delius dances above all and the dance is infective.

What we have here is a single CD with selections from a previous 2-disc set . Now, I wish that EMI had reproduced the whole thing, but what the hey. The GROC /ART remastering has greatly improved the sound. It is warmer and more transparent, with subtle details more prominent. I am not sure exactly what they do to achieve this "sound" but they are producing some of the finest sounding CDs around. You should get this disc even if you have the previous issue simply because of the sound.

As to the performances, well nobody was better than Sir Thomas when he did Delius. Sir John was also great, and some would likely argue as good as Sir Thomas, but nobody is better. Delius wrote lovely short stories, not Brucknerian novels. Still, in his less lofty way, Delius awes you. This disc makes for a wonderful evening's listening.

Anyone who loves classical music should have this disc. It is a desert island treasure.

Copyright © 2001, Robert Stumpf II