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Delius and His Fight for Freedom

Duration:
1 hour
First broadcast:
Monday 09 April 2012

Celebrating the 150th year since the composer's birth, Donald Macleod is joined by the violinist Tasmin Little and cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, to discuss the life and music of Frederick Delius. Journeying from Delius's birth to death, Donald Macleod traces the composer's battle with his father, his jaunts off to Norway, Germany and Florida, his marriage to Jelka Rosen and his eventual death caused by syphilis which he contracted in a Parisian brothel. Tasmin Little and Julian Lloyd Webber provide fascinating insights not only into performing some of the concertos and sonatas by Delius, but they also discuss the composer's incorrect labelling as British, the mystery behind Delius's possible illegitimate son, and their own experiences of working with Eric Fenby in performing works by Delius.

Delius right from the start was never going to be what his father wanted. Young Fritz, later Frederick, had no interest whatsoever in following his father's footsteps in running a business, but instead yearned to express himself in music. Landscape and nature would prove to be especially important as a stimulus for Delius, as can be heard in so many of his works including On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring, and North Country Sketches.

Delius eventually managed to persuade his father to allow him to leave home, and go to Florida to manage an orange plantation there. One of the works he composed during this period of travel away from England, was Over the Mountains High. Julian Lloyd Webber discusses his arrangement of this song for cello and piano. Delius would later then move to Danville, Virginia, where he wooed the local population, especially the ladies, with his performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. Tasmin Little gives her own thoughts on the Violin Concerto by Delius.

Music Played

6 items
Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes
  • Image for Frederick Delius

    Frederick Delius On hearing the first cuckoo in spring RT.6.19 for orchestra

    Conductor: Charles MACKERRAS Performer: Welsh National Opera Orchestra

    DECCA, 470-190-2

  • Image for Frederick Delius

    Frederick Delius Zum Carnival - polka RT.9.1 for piano [pub.1885]

    Performer: Charles ABRAMOVIC - Piano

    DIRECT TO TAPE, DTR-2001

  • Image for Frederick Delius

    Frederick Delius North country sketches RT.6.20 for orchestra

    Conductor: Richard HICKOX Performer: Bournemouth S O

    CHANDOS, CHAN 9355-

  • Image for Frederick Delius

    Frederick Delius Over the Mountains High (1885) arr. by Julian Lloyd Webber

    Performer: Julian Lloyd Webber, cello Performer: John Lenehan, piano

    Naxos, 8572902

  • Image for Frederick Delius

    Frederick Delius Appalachia - variations on an old slave song RT.2.2 for baritone, chorus and orchestra

    Conductor: Richard HICKOX Performer: London Symphony Orchestra Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

    London, 4251562

  • Image for Frederick Delius

    Frederick Delius Concerto RT.7.6 for violin and orchestra

    Conductor: Andrew DAVIS Performer: Tasmin LITTLE - Violin Performer: BBC S O.

    CHANDOS, CHSA5094

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