This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
Norway is a gorgeous country, and it’s no surprise that Delius found much of his inspiration there. The pieces on this intelligently planned program run from 1889-1917, and are programmed in roughly chronological order. They range from the charming orchestration of good friend Edvard Grieg’s Norwegian Bridal Procession to Delius’ first major works for orchestra (Paa Vidderne) and for the theatre (the incidental music to Folkeraadet), taking in a couple of orchestral songs along the way.
Paa Vidderne (On the Mountains) is a tone poem obviously of the Wagner/Liszt school, with plenty of hefty brass scoring and way too manyRead more cymbal crashes. It does not sound particularly Delian, but curiously the earlier Sleigh Ride’s calm central section clearly foreshadows the composer to come. Few listeners are probably aware that On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring is based on a Norwegian theme, but there it is, while Eventyr, which concludes the program, is a masterpiece of mood and turbulent atmosphere, sort of Delius’ answer to Sibelius’ En Saga.
This is one of those programs in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The selections are nicely varied. Ann-Helen Moen sings the two songs quite beautifully, and Andrew Davis, who recorded some very nice Delius for Teldec back in the day, knows his way around the music. It’s also good to hear non-British orchestras taking on this repertoire. Certainly the Bergen Philharmonic sounds just fine, although curiously, in Eventyr, the second of the two shouts (literally: the plays have to shout) is quite untidy. Not important, though, especially with fine sonics and a very generous nearly eighty minutes of playing time. A very enjoyable and interesting disc.
Paa Vidderne for Orchestraby Frederick Delius Conductor:
Sir Andrew Davis
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1890-1892; Paris, France Venue: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway Length: 14 Minutes 16 Secs.
Folkeraadet "Norwegian Suite"by Frederick Delius Conductor:
Sir Andrew Davis
Period: 20th Century Written: 1897; France Venue: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs.
Norwegian Sleigh Ride, RT ix/3by Frederick Delius Conductor:
Sir Andrew Davis
Period: Modern Written: circa 1887; Norway Venue: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway Length: 5 Minutes 43 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
A superb selection that showcases Frederick DeliuJune 18, 2014By John France See All My Reviews"My major discovery on this CD is the incidental music for the play Folkeraadet (The Peoples Parliament) which was composed in 1897. I should have known this music as it was previously released on Marco Polo 220452, however for one thing and another I never got round to hearing it. Delius was commissioned to write this music by the playwright Gunnar Heiberg, who was one of the composers companions in his Paris circle of friends. The play was a satirical comedy which explored the fraught relationship between Norway and Sweden at a time when that latter country was dominating affairs. The inclusion of the Norwegian national anthem in the score led to near riots, with shots being fired by a member of the audience. The music was withdrawn, then after a debate at the University it was decided to reinstate the score, but finally due to continual protests and interruptions the music was abandoned for good. Delius must have felt that the score was good as he used large sections of it in his Norwegian Suite. This was to remain unpublished in his lifetime. The score was edited by Sir Thomas Beecham and Eric Fenby. It is divided up into four main sections, a Prelude followed by three interludes with a couple of melodramas between the interludes. The music is largely cheerful from start to finish; the final interlude with the offending quotation from the national anthem is much more solemn than what has already transpired. This music is hardly typical of what the listener has come to expect from Delius in his more mature years. I guess that Dvorak, Grieg and Elgar are the models here. There is nothing of In a summer Garden or the First Cuckoo in these pages. It is an altogether enjoyable score that can be listened to with great pleasure without any reference to the plot of Heibergs play. The CD opens with Delius orchestration of Edvard Griegs Norwegian Bridal Procession. Delius had been invited to a village wedding party when he was in Norway in 1887. The Grieg original derives from one of his Pictures of Norwegian Life, Op.19 (1872). It is a delightful tribute to the elder composer. One again this music was not published in the composers lifetime. Paa Vidderne, after Henrik Ibsens eponymous poem, is not a composition that I often listen too, which is a pity. The work, which bears the English title of On the Heights, is a fine tone poem that owes much to Wagner and especially Tchaikovsky in it musical sound-world. It was given its first performance in 1894; the genesis of the piece dates back to 1888 when Delius composed an orchestral melodrama which involved the declamation of Ibsens poem. This was revised into an overture which was heard in 1891. It was further revised in 1892. A sketch for the work had been made when Delius was on a tour of Jotunheimen, which is a mountainous region of Norway. Once again this work is not in Delius received style: however, there are a number of moments when the music sounds just a little like what we expect. It is a fine example of a late-nineteenth century symphonic poem and deserves more publicity that it seemingly gets. Does it conjure up a mountain landscape? That is for the listener of discern. Out of interest, there are currently only six version of this work on disc, which compares with 15 for Paris and 60 for On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. I enjoyed the beautiful voice of Ann-Helen Moen singing two of the Seven Songs from the Norwegian which were composed in 1889. These songs, with texts by Bjornstjerne Bjornson and Henrik Ibsen, originally for voice and piano, were dedicated to Griegs wife, Nina. In 1908, at Granville Bantocks request, Delius orchestrated Prinsessen (Twilight Fancies) and En Fuglevise (The Birds Story) for the soprano Olga Wood (Henry Woods first wife). They were performed at concerts in Liverpool and Birmingham. Wagner and Richard Strauss seem to be the models here rather than Norwegian folksong. I only wish that the other five had been part of Bantocks request to the composer: they would make a stunning, major song cycle. Little need be said about the delightful Sleigh Ride. This has long been a favourite of mine. It conjures up as no other music does (except perhaps Leroy Andersons Sleigh Ride) the joy of this mode of travel on a cold, frosty winters day. Originally composed for piano solo in 1887, it was orchestrated two years later. It would become one of the Three Small Tone Poems. Sleigh Ride (also known as Winters Night) had to wait until 1946 for its first orchestral performance. My heart has always placed the location of Deliuss best-known work somewhere in the Home Counties on a hot, sultry, late spring day. My head tells me that the location is more likely to be Trolhaugen in Norway, as the composer introduces the beautiful tune In Ola Dal (In Ola Valley) which was discerned by Percy Grainger (The tune also features in Griegs 19 Norwegian Folksongs, Op. 66.) My benchmark recording is not Sir Thomas Beecham but Anthony Collins 1953 version on Decca. I am looking for a ravishing sound that is to a certain extent unfocused, but avoids rhythmic monotony in its formal structure. The First Cuckoo was composed in 1912 and was published the following year with its companion piece Summer Night on the River. Does the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Andrew Davis deliver on this piece? I am not sure that it does. It is beautifully played, but somehow he just does not get the mood right. I am sure that others will disagree. The final work on this adventurous CD exploring Delius Norwegian Legacy is the eccentric, but ultimately beautiful ballad Eventyr. The translation of this title is Tales of Adventure. The music had its inspiration in Peter Christen Asbjørnsen's (1812-1885) edition of Norwegian folk-tales and legends. The earliest sketches date from 1915. Delius denied that any particular story was implied in the music: it has been suggested that the nature of the piece does suggest that there may well be a hidden programme lurking in these pages. There is a pastoral opening section which may portray the warm-hearted superstitious country folk before the music moves on to more sinister things such as trolls, pixies and giants. There is a weird moment when an off-stage male chorus make two menacing cries. I agree with the liner notes that this eerie cry out of the night is among the strangest and most original moments in all orchestral music? This is a masterpiece and it is a pity that it does not seem to be held in high regard. Eventyr (Once upon a time) was dedicated to Sir Henry Wood, and it was duly premiered on 11 January 1919. I cannot find fault with this CD. The liner notes by Andrew Burn are excellent, the quality of the sound reproduction is ideal and the enthusiasm and dedication of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and their conductor Sir Andrew Davis is palpable in spite of my misgivings over the First Cuckoo. But above all, the programme of works has been lovingly selected by Chandos: it is superb selection that showcases Frederick Delius deep affection for Norway and his absorption of its culture, and finally his friendship with Edvard Grieg. With Thanks to MusicWeb International where this review first appeared."Report Abuse