If you love Delius and have to hear every work the composer wrote, you'll want to seek out this Dutton disc, which includes only rarities: his first tone poem, Hiawatha, and five works for solo strings with orchestra: Suite and Légende for violin, Caprice and Elegy for viola, and the Double Concerto for violin and viola. Although full of touches characteristic of the composer, none of these works could be described as top-drawer Delius. The accompaniment figures at the end of Hiawatha and the voluptuous chromatic harmonies at the start of the Légende, for example, hint at the Delius to come, but the works themselves are not up to even the stature of the Florida Suite. Still, with the dedicated playing of the BBC Concert Orchestra under David Lloyd-Jones and the soulful solos of violinist Philippe Graffin and violist Sarah-Jane Bradley, these are all fine performances that do as much for the music as it is reasonably possible to expect. Recorded in rich, creamy digital sound, this disc will be a must for Delius devotees. Those not familiar with the music of the English fin de siècle composer, with its unique blend of aching sensuality and almost painful nostalgia, should look elsewhere for their first taste, however. The recordings of Beecham or Barbirolli would provide excellent starting points.
AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|Hiawatha, tone poem for orchestra, RT vi/2|
|Suite, for violin and orchestra, RT vii/1|
|Double Concerto, for violin, cello & orchestra, RT vii/5|
|Caprice and Elegy, for cello & chamber orchestra, RT vii/8|