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Cat. No. CHAN 10742 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10742 - Delius: Piano Concerto/Paris/Idylle/Brigg Fair
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Available From: 01 October 2012
Delius: Piano Concerto/Paris/Idylle/Brigg Fair

Of the works performed here by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra under the prominent Delius interpreter Sir Andrew Davis, the first three (Paris, the Piano Concerto, and Idylle de printemps) offer a fascinating insight into the early years of the development of Delius as a composer, when he was slowly and painstakingly honing his craft, and assuming the characteristic personal voice that is evident in more mature works such as Brigg Fair.
Paris, sub-titled ‘The Song of a Great City’, is strongly inspired by the composer’s many years of living and working in Paris. With large-scale orchestral forces, Delius paints opulent pictures of a city that he obviously loved. The slow opening portrays the still darkness falling over Paris; then the music changes pace and takes us through the teeming and intoxicating nightlife of the city, with impressions of exuberant dance music coming from the many cafés and music-halls. The opening material returns, culminating in the sounds of the awakening streets.
Until recently Delius’s Piano Concerto has been know exclusively in its final, one-movement form, which was first performed in London in 1907. The version recorded here, however, represents the composer’s earlier thoughts, from 1897. Performed by Howard Shelley, the work is brimming with full-bodied romanticism while showing the influences of Grieg and Liszt throughout.
The airy mood of Idylle de printemps points to later depictions of nature in Delius’s music, as in Brigg Fair, which Delius categorised as ‘An English Rhapsody’. Cecil Gray, the Scottish music critic and composer, described the opening of Brigg Fair as ‘evoking the atmosphere of an early summer morning in the English countryside’. The work is based on a folk-tune which came to light in a competition instigated by Percy Grainger in 1905 to find ‘the best unpublished old Lincolnshire folk song or plough song’. Grainger was immediately taken with the folk-tune, and having arranged it himself for solo tenor and chorus, he approached Delius to write orchestral variations on it – urging him on as the only composer worthy of the task. Delius was soon persuaded, and Brigg Fair became one of his best-loved works.


“Another valuable all-Delius CD from Sir Andrew, excellently played throughout in splendid sound. .. Sir Andrew Davis has surely inherited Beecham’s mantle in this music, aided by a recording quality that Sir Thomas never, enjoyed.”  *****

James Palmer – Musical Opinion – November/December 2013 

 “Luminous performances ... Howard Shelley is the superb soloist in the Piano Concerto, but it is the performance of Idylle de printemps that really grabs my attention – a wonderful sense of delicacy, a lovely light touch from the RSNO under Sir Andrew Davis’s masterly baton, and an amazing sense of lush green hills and flowers bursting into bloom.”

EM Marshall-Luck – Spirit-The Gazette of the English Music Festival – December 2012

 “... All three performances do full justice to Delius’s gorgeous lyrical outpouring...”
Alan Becker – American Record Guide – March/April 2013

 “...Performance and presentation are in every way first-class, as can be expected from Chandos. The sound is warm and slightly diffuse, but that is in keeping with the music. This is a significant addition to the Delius catalog.” - Ronald E Grames

“...This is one to enjoy.” – Scott Noriega
Fanfare – March/April 2013

“... a tempting programme for Delians ... It’s all beautifully played and recorded.”
Peter Spaull – Liverpool Daily Post – January 2013

“...This superbly recorded performance shows composer and conductor in top form.” ****½
Michael Kennedy – Sunday Telegraph – 16 December 2012

                   Music ***** (Very Good)             Sound ***** (Very Good)

Peter T Köster - Fono Forum magazine - January 2013

                       IRR Outstanding 
“...I cannot imagine any of the works on this disc being better performed than they are here...”
Robert Matthew-Walker – International Record Review – December 2012

                    Performance *****        Recording ****
“... Sir Andrew Davis proves himself an instinctive Delian in the way he delineates the shifting moods and colours of Paris and Brigg Fair: these must be among the best current accounts of both works... There’s splendid playing throughout from the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.”
Calum MacDonald – BBC Music magazine – Christmas 2012

“...Brigg Fair,  subtle and sensitive, is enhanced by the spacious acoustic running through the CD, and Davis gives arguably the best performance on disc of Paris, generating passion and excitement in the climaxes ...”  *****
Andrew Clark – Financial Times – 10 November 2012

“...Containing much lesser-known music this is an enchanting addition to the Delius discography.”
Ian Lace – MusicWeb-International.com – 31 October 2012


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