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Sir Thomas Beecham: English Music - Delius, German, Bantock, Bax, Lord Berners

Beecham,Thomas
Release Date: 03/22/2011 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 09915   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Frederick DeliusGranville BantockArnold BaxLord (Tyrwhitt) Berners,   ... 
Performer:  John [baritone (50s)] CameronMaureen ForresterJean PougnetRene Soames,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic OrchestraBeecham Choral SocietyLuton Choral Society,   ... 
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo/Mono 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

ENGLISH MUSIC Thomas Beecham, cond; Maureen Forrester (alt 1 ); John Cameron (bar 1 ); Gordon Clinton, bar (The dark fiddler 4,5 ); René Soames ( Sali 4 ); Lorely Dyer ( Vreli 4 ); Jean Pougnet (vn 2 Read more class="ARIAL12">); Royal PO; London PO; Beecham Choral Society; 1 Luton Choral Society; 3 Royal PO Ch 4,5 EMI 09915 2, stereo/mono 6 (6 CDs: 425:18)



DELIUS Over the Hills and Far Away. Sleigh Ride. Brigg Fair. Florida Suite. Marche Caprice. Dance Rhapsody No. 2. Summer Evening. On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring. Summer Night on the River. A Song before Sunrise. Fennimore and Gerda: Intermezzo. Irmelin Prelude. 1 Songs of Sunset. 6 Dance Rhapsody No. 1. 2,6 Violin Concerto. 3,6 Song of the High Hills. 6 Paa Vidderne. 4,6 A Village Romeo and Juliet. 5,6 Sea Drift. GERMAN Gypsy Suite. 6 BANTOCK Fifine at the Fair. 6 BAX The Garden of Fand. 6 BERNERS The Triumph of Neptune: Suite (LPO)


Except for its last disc, this volume could be titled simply Delius . Perhaps nowhere else in the history of music is the work of a composer so closely associated with a single performer. Through the force of his personality, the compelling nature of his performances, and an unprecedented series of recordings, Beecham virtually single-handedly established Delius’s place in the concert and recorded repertoire. Beecham recorded more works by Delius than any other composer, many of them two and three times over, starting in 1927. Discs 1 and 2 of this volume offer his complete stereo recordings of Delius; some of these have been newly remastered, evidently to address problems with the sound of the earlier CD issues, but a bit of shrillness still subsists in loud passages. The 1956 recording of the Florida Suite , Beecham’s only version of this gorgeous early work, is treasurable. The Songs of Sunset were premiered by Beecham, an unusual event despite his strong advocacy of Delius’s music; when Delius’s amanuensis Eric Fenby asked Beecham about this, he replied, “No, I always let somebody else make a damned fool of himself with the music and then I come along later and show how it’s got to be done.” This recording was originally issued in mono only, with the incongruous LP couplings of German’s Gypsy Suite and the Vidal Gavotte included in the French Music volume here. I believe the initial CD issue was its first release in stereo.


Discs 3–5 of this volume are reissues of CDs from EMI’s 1990s Beecham Edition, which unlike the present edition consisted of single discs and some two-CD sets. CD 3 offers Beecham’s only published version of the Dance Rhapsody No. 1—two others were rejected by the perfectionist conductor—and three items drawn from the 1946 Delius Festival, all of them Beecham’s only recordings of these works. His reading of The Song of the High Hills remains unmatched in atmosphere. The next two discs include Beecham’s complete recording of A Village Romeo and Juliet , something of a luxury but worth the space, since it represents his only recording of a Delius opera. This was the work that prompted the chorus leader of a performance at the Royal College of Music to say to Beecham, “This is the most heartbreaking music in the world.” The remainder of CD 5 is given over to a recording of Sea Drift made in 1951 but not issued until 1992; Beecham remade this work—his fourth and final version—in 1954 with the stronger-voiced Bruce Boyce replacing baritone Gordon Clinton, who was a Beecham protégé. That version, issued on CD by Sony, remains preferable to this one, but committed Delians and Beecham collectors will want to have both.


These three CDs, as well as many others in this edition, use the masterings done for the 1990s Beecham Edition; this is unfortunate, since the sound of many of those recordings is less than ideal. The pre-stereo recordings were remastered by the then-EMI engineer Michael Dutton, whose interventionist style of transferring 78s to CD became familiar a few years later when he founded his own label. All of the Dutton remasters are in fake stereo, and have a glassy, artificial quality to the sound; I continue to prefer Keith Hardwick’s transfers in the two large LP sets of Beecham’s early Delius recordings.


Beecham conducted little music by composers his own age or younger; Delius, Sibelius, and Strauss, all born in the 1860s, were as “contemporary” as he generally chose to get. There were exceptions, especially early in his career, including an acoustic 1916 version of some excerpts from The Firebird , his only recording of Stravinsky. He also conducted a good deal of English music early on, as illustrated by Disc 6. Edward German was a light-opera composer whose Gypsy Suite caught Beecham’s fancy; this is as far as I can determine its first release on CD. The ballet suite from The Triumph of Neptune by Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson, 14th Lord Berners, was a Beecham favorite; the recording here was made in 1937, not 1947 as printed in the booklet.


Beecham’s early recordings of Delius are available outside the U.S. on Naxos Historical; a series of recordings made during the early 1950s, including the Sea Drift mentioned above, were issued on Sony and may still be obtainable as imports or as ArkivCDs. The recordings included here, particularly the stereo items, are essential for lovers of Delius’s music.

FANFARE: Richard A. Kaplan
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Works on This Recording

1.
Over the Hills and Far Away by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895-1897; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
2.
Sleigh Ride by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887-1888; USA 
Date of Recording: 1960 
3.
Irmelin: Prelude by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890-1892; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1963 
4.
Dance Rhapsody no 2 by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
5.
Summer Evening by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 1963 
6.
Brigg Fair - An English Rhapsody by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907; France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
7.
Pieces (2) for Small Orchestra: no 1, On Hearing the First Cuckoo by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1912; France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
8.
Pieces (2) for Small Orchestra: no 2, Summer Night on the River by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
9.
A Song Before Sunrise by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1918; France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
10.
Marche-caprice by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
11.
Florida Suite by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1887/1889; Florida, USA 
Date of Recording: 1960 
12.
Songs of Sunset by Frederick Delius
Performer:  John [baritone (50s)] Cameron (Baritone), Maureen Forrester (Alto)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Beecham Choral Society
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1906-1907; France 
Date of Recording: 1980 
Language: English 
13.
Fennimore and Gerda: Intermezzo by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908-1910; France 
Date of Recording: 1960 
14.
Concerto for Violin by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Jean Pougnet (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1916; England 
Date of Recording: 1946 
15.
Song of the High Hills by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Luton Choral Society
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; France 
Date of Recording: 11/22/1946 
16.
Dance Rhapsody no 1 by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1908; France 
Date of Recording: 10/29/1952 
17.
Paa Vidderne for Orchestra by Frederick Delius
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1890-1892; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 11/26/1946 
18.
A Village Romeo and Juliet by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Rene Soames (Tenor), Margaret Ritchie (Soprano), Frederick Sharp (Baritone),
Denis Dowling (Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1900-1901; France 
Language: English 
19.
Sea Drift by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Gordon Clinton (Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Chorus
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1904; France 
20.
Fifine at the Fair by Granville Bantock
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
Date of Recording: 1949 
21.
Garden of Fand by Arnold Bax
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913-1916; England 
Date of Recording: 1947 
22.
The Triumph of Neptune: Suite by Lord (Tyrwhitt) Berners
Performer:  Robert Alva (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 
Date of Recording: 1937 
23.
Gipsy Suite by Edward German
Conductor:  Sir Thomas Beecham
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; England 

Sound Samples

Over the Hills and Far Away (ed. Beecham) (1960 Digital Remaster)
Sleigh ride (Winter night) (2001 Digital Remaster)
Brigg Fair: Introduction (Slow. Pastoral)
Brigg Fair: Variation 6
Brigg Fair: II. Interlude (Slow and very quietly)
Brigg Fair: Variation 10
Brigg Fair: Variation 11 (Slow. With solemnity)
Brigg Fair: Variation 12 (Maestoso)
Brigg Fair: Transition
Brigg Fair: Variation 17 (Rather slower. Very broadly)
Brigg Fair: Coda (Very quietly)
I. Daybreak - Dance from Florida Suite RTVI/1 (2001 Digital Remaster)
Florida Suite (rev. & ed. Beecham) (1960 Digital Remaster): II. By the River (Andantino)
Florida Suite (rev. & ed. Beecham) (1960 Digital Remaster): III. Sunset (Moderato) - Danza (Allegretto)
Florida Suite (rev. & ed. Beecham) (1960 Digital Remaster): IV. At Night (Andante moderato)
Marche-caprice (1987 Digital Remaster)
A Dance Rhapsody No. 2 (2001 Digital Remaster)
Summer Evening (2001 Digital Remaster)
On hearing the first cuckoo in Spring (2001 Digital Remaster)
Summer Night on the River (2001 Digital Remaster)
A Song before sunrise (2001 Digital Remaster)
Intermezzo from Fennimore and Gerda (2001 Digital Remaster)
Irmelin Prelude (2001 Digital Remaster)
Songs of Sunset: A song of the setting sun! (Quietly)
Songs of Sunset: Cease smiling, dear! (With easy movement).
Songs of Sunset: Pale amber sunlight falls (Slow).
Songs of Sunset: Exceeding sorrow consumeth my sad heart! (Con tristezza. Not too slow).
Songs of Sunset: By the sad waters of separation (With quiet movement).
Songs of Sunset: See how the trees and the osiers lithe (Freshly).
Songs of Sunset: I was not sorrowful (Very quietly but not too slow)
Songs of Sunset: They are not long, the weeping and the laughter (Quietly).

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