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Delius: Double Concerto; Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto Hybrid SACD - DSD

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, October 25, 2011
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Product Details

  • Performer: Tasmin Little, Paul Watkins
  • Orchestra: BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Andrew Davis
  • Composer: Frederick Delius
  • Audio CD (October 25, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B005JA9UG6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #192,239 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is essential Delius, gorgeously played! Tasmin Little has been a champion of the Violin Concerto as well as the lesser-known Violin Sonatas of this most exquisite of British composers, and she plays flawlessly and beautifully here. Paul Watkins captures the dappled, sunny-garden perfection of the Impressionistic Cello Concerto. To my ears, Watkins is better in the Cello Concerto even than the late great Jacqueline duPre on a 1960s EMI, more focused and more in tune with Delius' rarefied palette. Together in the masterful Double Concerto, they absolutely sing together. I have two other versions of the rare Double Concerto, an excellent one under the baton of Mackerras on EMI, and a much earlier (somewhat sour) one on Pye -- this is certainly the best version yet recorded. Together with Chandos' earlier SACD of the superb Song of the High Hills and deeply moving choral Appalachia, the label is offering us remarkable listening indeed from this all-too-neglected world master, surely among the handful of very finest, most satisfying of all 20th century composers. Get it before it hits the cut-out bins, and give your soul wings!
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Format: Audio CD
I discovered the music of Frederick Delius late, and although I knew much of his orchestral music, I knew nothing much of his concertos. For me, this disc was perfect for the celebration of the composer's 150th birthday this year.

The Concerto for Violin and Cello was composed by Delius in 1915 and was dedicated to Margaret and Beatrice Harrison. Margaret would later become a leading exponent of Delius Violin Concerto and Beatrice would premiere Elgar's Cello Concerto. For music composed during the First World War, this concerto is remarkable serene. Delius was inspired by the Double Concerto of Brahms but wrote his own concerto is a much freer style, characterized by long lyrical melodies. The concerto is played without pause. The music begins with a brief introduction before launching into the slow second section, a recapitulation of the opening melody and a finale. The concerto begins with a brief mysterious sounding melody that is explored by the strings and woodwinds, and then a second passionate melody takes over. A melody, probably based on an America spiritual, takes over and is succeeded by a march-like theme that ushers in the finale. The music is explored and becomes ecstatic before settling back to the slow, passionate music that opened the concerto.

The Violin Concerto was written in 1916 and was first performed in 1919 under the baton of Adrian Boult. The concerto is in several sections - an introduction, the first section, a second section (characterized by a so-called "Scotch snap" rhythm), followed by an long cadenza that is followed by a return of the melody from the first section and a scherzo and finale wrapped together based on a folk dance melody.
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This is a wonderful disc, to my ears up to the usual high standards one expects in a Chandos recording. Some of the other reviewers have been lukewarm about it, and I just cannot understand why. If you don't already know this music, you are in for a treat. I believe this may the first time all three of the mature concertos of Delius have appeared on one disc. This is Tasmin Little's second recordings of the Violin Concerto and Double Concerto, the first being with Mackerras and Rafael Wallfisch if I recall correctly. I did not listen to this in the five channel version, but the two channel SACD is quite satisfactory to my ears. Just to address a couple concerns brought up in the reviews/comments. First, someone expressed concern over the price of this. I got mine through Amazon Marketplace for a very reasonable cost and would recommend they do the same. Second, one of the previous reviewers complained that Chandos didn't use a Super Jewel Box for this release. While I also like that type of jewel case, I would not use it as a basis for downgrading the quality of this recording. Do your ears a favor and snap up this gorgeous music!
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Despite my large classical musical collection, I came to Delius and this album because jazz pianist Marian McPartland ascribed the British impressionist composer as a major influence. I listened to the SACD hybrid album on my surround sound system. While I agree with an earlier reviewer that the soloists and orchestra are perceived at a distance, due to microphone placement, I find it not harmful to the musical experience. So what if I am in the upper balcony and not the dress circle? I also particularly enjoy music for cello, and this album provides two dandy sumptuous concertos, with Paul Watkins at the cello. For the double concerto and a separate violin concerto, Tasmin Little does the honors. Her recordings of the Delius violin sonatas with Piers Lane are well regarded and she performs beautifully here also. The concerti are in one movement, though developmental sections can be discerned and are indicated by track numbers. Somewhat rhapsodic, the melodies nevertheless flow with retrained care. Of interest is that Watkins, in the notes, described two bars of the cello concerto as impossible for a soloist (they are really of two parts) and so enlisted the help of Stephen Bryant of the BBC Orchestra. Delius's music envelopes the listener in a wash of strings. The calm pastoral mood is fairly constant.
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Delius: Double Concerto; Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto
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