Frederick Delius (1862-1934)

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Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
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Of Everywhere, Of Nowhere20080526

Donald Macleod explores Delius's early compositional influences, from the sounds of Florida's orange groves to the buzzing cafe culture of Paris in the 1890s.

Zum Carnival

Eric Parkin (piano)

Koanga: Now once in a way we are free for a day

John Alldis Choir

London Symphony Orchestra

Charles Groves (conductor)

Summer Evening

Northern Sinfonia

Richard Hickox (conductor)

In the Garden of the Seraglio; Silken Shoes; Irmelin Rose

Felicity Lott (soprano)

Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor)

Eric Fenby (piano)

Piano Concerto (revised version)

Piers Lane (piano)

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Vernon Handley (conductor)

Grieg, orch.

Delius: Norwegian Bridal Procession

Douglas Bostock (conductor)

01Delius And His Fight For Freedom20120409

Donald Macleod on Delius's struggle to persuade his father to let him leave home.

Celebrating the 150th year since the composer's birth, Donald Macleod is joined by the violinist Tasmin Little and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, to discuss the life and music of Frederick Delius. Journeying from Delius's birth to death, Donald Macleod traces the composer's battle with his father, his jaunts off to Norway, Germany and Florida, his marriage to Jelka Rosen and his eventual death caused by syphilis which he contracted in a Parisian brothel. Tasmin Little and Julian Lloyd Webber provide fascinating insights not only into performing some of the concertos and sonatas by Delius, but they also discuss the composer's incorrect labelling as British, the mystery behind Delius's possible illegitimate son, and their own experiences of working with Eric Fenby in performing works by Delius.

Delius right from the start was never going to be what his father wanted. Young Fritz, later Frederick, had no interest whatsoever in following his father's footsteps in running a business, but instead yearned to express himself in music. Landscape and nature would prove to be especially important as a stimulus for Delius, as can be heard in so many of his works including On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, and North Country Sketches.

Delius eventually managed to persuade his father to allow him to leave home, and go to Florida to manage an orange plantation there. One of the works he composed during this period of travel away from England, was Over the Mountains High. Julian Lloyd Webber discusses his arrangement of this song for cello and piano. Delius would later then move to Danville, Virginia, where he wooed the local population, especially the ladies, with his performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Tasmin Little gives her own thoughts on the Violin Concerto by Delius.

02Delius And Grieg20080527

Donald Macleod considers Delius's passion for Scandinavian landscape, culture and music, charting the composer's deep friendship with Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg.

He also looks at how a 16-year-old Peter Warlock came to play a significant role in Delius's career.

Sleigh Ride

Northern Sinfonia

Richard Hickox (conductor)

Grieg: In Ola Valley

Einar Steen-Nokleberg (piano)

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring

The Halle Orchestra

Mark Elder (conductor)

On Craig Ddu

The Elysian Singers of London

Matthew Greenall (conductor)

In a Summer Garden (arr Warlock)

Noriko Ogawa, Kathryn Stott (piano)

Life's Dance

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Norman del Mar (conductor)

02Delius, Grieg, And A Bottle Of Akvavit20120410

Pa Delius eventually agrees to fund young Fritz in his musical studies.

Celebrating the 150th year since the composer's birth, Donald Macleod is joined by the violinist Tasmin Little, and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, to discuss the life and music of Frederick Delius.

Delius had now left Florida, paying his own way as a teacher of music. His father was impressed that his son had been able to support himself through music, so he finally agreed to fund young Fritz in a years study in Leipzig. Delius's experiences in Florida, especially listening to the plantation workers singing, would stay with the composer for the rest of his life. This is reflected in his Florida Suite. Once in Leipzig, Delius met a number of Norwegians studying there, and would often take trips to Norway. He set many songs using Nordic texts, including Summer Eve and Longing.

Through the influence of Grieg, Delius would be allowed to continue his musical activities past one year, and ended up in Paris, associating with the likes of Faure, Ravel, Gauguin and Munch. During this period he composed a song cycle called Maud, heard now in part, in its first ever recording arranged for cello and piano. Also during the early 1890's, Delius composed a symphonic poem, which is the first work a paying public heard by Delius - Paa Vidderne.

03Delius And Grainger20080528

Donald Macleod charts the collaboration between Delius and the eccentric and ebullient composer Percy Grainger who, in spite of their contrasting characters, formed a close bond through their shared love of freedom, landscape and wild beauty.

Trad: Brigg Fair

Joseph Taylor (singer)

Trad arr.

Grainger: Brigg Fair

James Gilchrist (tenor)

The Halle Chorus

James Burton (conductor)

(Delius): Brigg Fair

The Halle Orchestra

Mark Elder (conductor)

The Streamlet's Slumber Song

The Elysian Singers of London

Matthew Greenall (conductor)

Hassan: Incidental music from Act 2

Brian Raynor Cook (baritone)

Bournemouth Sinfonietta and Chorus

Vernon Handley (conductor)

Dance Rhapsody No 1

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Norman del Mar (conductor)

03Delius Meets Jelka Rosen20120411

Donald Macleod explores the life and work of Frederick Delius.

Celebrating the 150th year since the composer's birth, Donald Macleod is joined by the violinist Tasmin Little, and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, to discuss the life and music of Frederick Delius.

Delius was enjoying life greatly in the 1890s. Whether visiting the odd Parisian brothel, or partaking in the odd sťance, his music at this time displays a youth and vitality, such as the Violin Sonata in B. Tasmin Little and Julian Lloyd Webber discuss the importance of remembering what Delius was like as a young and attractive man, and also the mystery surrounding Delius's brief return to Florida to possibly seek out his illegitimate son.

The influence of Paris, the city of lights, can be heard in Delius's music, such as the orchestral work Paris. His songs set to French words by Verlaine, such as Il pleure dans mon Coeur, had even Delius's supporter Grieg complaining that it was too erotic. It was in Paris that Delius would contract syphilis, and in the song, Through Long Long Years arranged for cello and piano, Julain Lloyd Webber argues his belief that Delius knew by this stage that he'd caught the disease. Another significant event for Delius during these years, was meeting the artist Jelka Rosen, who would eventually become his wife.

04Delius And Beecham20080529

Donald Macleod charts the influence of one of Delius' greatest champions as interpreter, editor and impresario - the conductor Thomas Beecham.

Irmelin Prelude

London Philharmonic Orchestra

Thomas Beecham (conductor)

Wanderer's Song

The Elysian Singers of London

Matthew Greenall (conductor)

At Night (Florida Suite)

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hickox (conductor)

Arr Warlock: North Country Sketches No 4

Noriko Ogawa, Kathryn Stott (piano)

A Village Romeo and Juliet (Scene 5)

Vrenchen....Elizabeth Harwood (soprano)

Sali....Arthur Davies (tenor)

Arnold Schoenberg Choir

ORF Symphony Orchestra

Charles Mackerras (conductor)

04Delius Settles Down At Grez-sur-loing20120412

Donald Macleod focuses on Delius's complex relationship with his wife, Jelka.

Celebrating the 150th year since the composer's birth, Donald Macleod is joined by the violinist Tasmin Little, and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, to discuss the life and music of Frederick Delius.

By 1903, Delius agreed to marry Jelka Rosen and settle down at Grez-sur-Loing, giving up his Paris flat where he met other women. The garden and landscape at Grez was reflected in many works Delius composed there, such as Summer Night on the River. Julian Lloyd Webber and Tamin Little discuss the rather complicated relationships within the household at Grez, believing that Jelka, contrary to popular belief, really did rule the roost.

About a year after his marriage, Delius began his large scale work for soloists, chorus and orchestra, based on the writings of Nietzsche - A Mass of Life. Performances of Delius's works were gradually taking place more far afield, in Norway, Germany and England, and in 1907 Delius met the conductor Thomas Beecham, who would prove to be one of his biggest advocates. But soon Europe would be plunged into the First World War, and Delius and Jelka would flee Grez for England. During this war period, Delius composed his Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, which Tasmin Little calls a 'Love Concerto'.

05 LASTDelius And Eric Fenby20120413

Donald Macleod focuses on some of Delius's final works.

Celebrating the 150th year since the composer's birth, Donald Macleod is joined by the violinist Tasmin Little, and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, to discuss the life and music of Frederick Delius.

With the First World War now over, Delius was keen to promote a number of concerts of his music in England. Many of his works were included in these concerts, including the two wordless vocal miniatures for unaccompanied choir, To be sung of a Summer Night on the Water. Delius was now becoming popular, not least of all with 281 performances of his music for the play Hassan.

Delius also turned his attention to another concerto, this time for Cello, which guest Julian Lloyd Webber has recorded using the same instrument which premiered the work. This concerto was one of the last works Delius was able to complete unaided. Guest Tasmin Little also discusses the final violin sonata, a work which was completed with the help of Eric Fenby, and chats about whether this music is true Delius or not?

05 LASTDelius And Fenby20080530

Donald Macleod explores Delius's final years, when chronic illness would have put an end to his work but for the selfless help given by his assistant Eric Fenby.

Prelude No 2

Eric Parkin (piano)

Caprice

Julian Lloyd Webber (cello)

Bengt Forsberg (piano)

A Song of Summer

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Charles Groves (conductor)

Sonata for violin and piano, Op posth.

Tasmin Little (violin)

Piers Lane (piano)

Requiem: The Snow Lingers Yet on the Mountains (1913-14)

Rebecca Evans (soprano)

Peter Coleman-Wright (baritone)

Waynflete Singers

Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra

Richard Hickox (conductor)