Delius: Double Concerto; Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto

Delius: Double Concerto; Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto

by Paul WatkinsPaul Watkins

SACD(Super Audio CD - SACD Hybrid)

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Best known for his tone poems, Frederick Delius began to write music in abstract forms later in life. The three concertos here were all composed between 1915 and 1920. They may be something of an acquired taste (like, indeed, most of Delius' music in general), but this is a superb rendering that never loses the thread of the long melodic lines the composer pursues here as possible outcomes of his wide palette of musical textures. There are certainly passages that sound as though they could have come from "On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring" or one of Delius' other popular tone poems, and in the "Double Concerto" especially there are hints of the African-American melodic influences Delius recalled from his time in Florida as a young man. And he seems to delight in displacing a typically muscular concerto theme with a sudden diversion into impressionistic harmonies (hear the opening of the "Cello Concerto"). But none of the three concertos is either simply an adaptation of Delius' orchestral style or a reversion to the virtuoso Romantic concerto. Instead Delius seems to be after the greatest possible number of ways of combining the solo instrument or instruments with the orchestra in subtle textures that periodically coalesce into moments of great lyrical beauty, such as the moment at the end of the "Double Concerto" where the violin and cello begin to sing in octaves. Violinist Tasmin Little and cellist Paul Watkins both execute fearsomely difficult solo lines, and Watkins even returns for the most part to the almost-unplayable original version of the "Cello Concerto." The BBC Symphony Orchestra under Andrew Davis achieves the restrained luminosity that's essential for this difficult composer's music, and this is a fine selection for those bitten by the Delius bug.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/25/2011
Label: Chandos
UPC: 0095115509425
catalogNumber: 5094
Rank: 116629


  1. Cello Concerto, RT vii/7
  2. Violin Concerto, RT vii/6
  3. Double Concerto, for violin, cello & orchestra, RT vii/5

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