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CD Review

Frederick Delius

The Beecham Collection

  • Excerpts from:
  • A Mass of Life
  • An Arabesk
  • Songs of Sunset
  • Songs
Roy Henderson, baritone
Dora Labette, soprano
London Philharmonic Orchestra & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham
SOMM-Beecham 8 74m ADD Rec 1929-46
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Where Frederick Delius was concerned, Beecham had a soft spot that remained for almost 50 years until his very last concert as Graham Melville Mason tells us in the accompanying booklet. This reissue is very welcome as it brings us some rare recordings that have not been in circulation for decades.

I still prefer Einar Norby's classic 'Arabesk' although Roy Henderson and the LSC are excellent exponents in this dim recording. 'Songs of Sunset' is pieced together from various takes, amongst them, a 1934 Leeds Festival performance that bubbles with energy. We rarely hear Beecham playing the piano so the inclusion of ten songs with Dora labette is indispensable where the conductor turns accompanist. In both orchestral and pianistic guises the rapport between labette and Beecham is exceptional, especially in the Danish songs.

Self-recommending to anyone who is captivated by Beecham's inimitable Delius although some allowances must be made for atrocious sound that could not be modified.

Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech