Any others who can find a niche for Delius? ... don't be shy.
Yes, the music of Delius will always have a special place in my heart. Some people have said that there isn't much of an acquired taste to it: either it grabs one straightaway or not. I agree.
One work in particular - A Song of the High Hills
- in my opinion illustrates the special magic and power of music and the way it can communicate across the ages. For example, imagine that someone would very much like to visit the majestic hills and mountains of western Norway, but is unable to, through illness or injury or other reasons. He or she could read descriptions of the experience, have conversations with those who have been, and see photos and videos from the route, but still, a more direct emotional sense of the experience would be missing. Listening to A Song of the High Hills
fills that gap, and compensates one in a way that I'm not sure any other medium other than music could. As Delius said in the program notes for the first performance: "I have tried to express the joy and rapture felt in the high mountains and to depict the lonely melancholy of the highest altitudes of the wide expanses." I have never visited Norway, and I hope I do get around to it, but in the meantime Delius has enriched my life while giving me the uncanny feeling that in spirit, I sort of have already been walking in those mountains. The 8-part wordless choral climax at the end of the middle third of the work is amazingly powerful, especially when one hears it for the first time.
Also I recommend Appalachia
, which is another large-scale work for orchestra, chorus and baritone soloist. A double introduction and set of variations introduce the concluding song, where a slave laments that he is being sent down the river and thus separated from his true love. As the variations progress they become more and more intimate, moving from scenes in nature to human experiences. The piano part of the vocal score is beautifully arranged by Otto Singer.
And as Jason/argerichfan has said, his opera A Village Romeo and Juliet
is indeed voluptuous and well worth hearing.
For a nice general introduction to Delius's orchestral works, I think this
CD is wonderful. I have listened to it with pleasure for around 20 years now! I am also fond of the violin sonatas as played by Tamsin Little and Piers Lane.