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Beecham Collection: Delius Import

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Audio CD, Import, February 27, 2001
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Product Details

  • Performer: Thomas Beecham, Roy Henderson, Redvers Llewelyn, Dora Labbette
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Thomas Beecham
  • Composer: Frederick Delius
  • Audio CD (February 27, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Somm Recordings
  • ASIN: B00005A0NS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,178,139 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. A Mass Of Love: Prelude To Part 2, No. 3
2. An Arabesk
3. Songs Of Sunset, Parts 1-7
4. Songs Of Sunset, Parts 1-7
5. Songs Of Sunset, Parts 1-7
6. Songs Of Sunset, Parts 1-7
7. Songs Of Sunset, Parts 1-7
8. Songs Of Sunset, Parts 1-7
9. Songs Of Sunset, Parts 1-7
10. Songs Of Sunset, Part 8

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Austin VINE VOICE on December 25, 2001
More than half of the music included in this estimable CD derive from hitherto unissued recordings made at the 1934 Leeds Festival. In very acceptable sound, with a balance that favours the soloists Roy Henderson and Olga Haley, the principal works are "An Arabesque", and "Song of Sunset". Collectors have wondered about the elusive "Song of Sunset" recording for many years. Two subsequent attempts by Beecham to record this work are said to have dissatisfied him. Requests and searches for playable test copies of this 1934 Leeds Festival recording produced nothing until now. Here, from Beecham's own archives of test pressings, made available by Shirley, Lady Beecham, are heard all but the last few minutes of the 1934 performance. The missing part is provided from a 1946 recording. I understand that the missing part of the 1934 performance has since been located in the British Museum.
Also included here are all the recordings of Delius songs Beecham made, accompanying the soprano Dora Labbette. The singing of this fine English soprano was not only wonderfully pure, ethereal and graceful, it also clearly conveyed the songs' texts. Happily, it recorded well, although the singer was required to turn her head away from the microphone when taking a high, loud note - as can be heard several times in "Twilight Fancies".
The less said about the only orchestral item included, the better. Apparently 1938 recording techniques and venues were not kind to the special sonorities Delius created in the orchestration of his "A Mass of Life" prelude. The blurred, nebulous sound heard here produces no effect other than puzzlement.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Bertonneau on January 15, 2002
Frederick "Fritz" Delius (1862-1934) embodied the late-Nineteenth Century idea of the "aristocratic radical": true to his own impulses, scornful of custom and commerce, agnostic in religion and liberal in amorous affairs, he was also an esthete of the most refined sensibility who struggled to express his sense of a beautiful and sometimes tragic world in his art. Like the nature-poet Wordsworth, Delius worked within an esthetic of the epiphany: in the midst of the loud world, he finds a quiet place ("Summer Night on the River" or "The High Hills") and sets the preparatory mood; briefly but powerfully, a vision of poignant beauty emerges, in the appearance and passing of which the witness and participant finds his own moment of transfiguration. All of Delius' characteristic works represent the organic blossoming-forth and swift withdrawal of some gorgeous but evanescent phenomenon, as in his set of orchestral variations on the Yorkshire folk tune "Brigg Fair." The tune seems to emerge from hints and prognostications, the way a river or stream emerges - inconspicuously - from rills and sources in the high ground, until, after a magnificent but brief minor-key apotheosis in the full orchestra, it melts away again into the quiet texture of things. In "Tommy" (later Sir Thomas) Beecham, fortune blessed Delius with an interpreter whose essentially Pagan convictions matched his own, and who not only played his friend's music frequently in concert but began recording it in the mid-1920s, just after the introduction of electrical recording. Beecham belonged in part to the milieu of Edwardian estheticism, but unlike the followers of Ruskin and Pater he understood the relation of technics to the preservation and dissemination of art.Read more ›
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