enjoying delius

The past week has been so busy that I haven’t had chance to watch John Bridcut’s latest documentary in his series about British classical composers (‘Hooked On Classics,’ 15th December 2011) – until now.

Following those on Britten, Elgar, Holst, Vaughan Williams and Parry, ‘Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma’ (broadcast on BBC4, 25th May 2012) was a real voyage of discovery as his music has largely passed me by.

The titles of some of his pieces are familiar – ‘On hearing the first cuckoo in Spring,’ for instance.

But what became clear watching the film is that Delius’s music warrants work on the listener’s part before it reveals its riches.

As ever, the biographical part of the story was equally fascinating, and the concluding revelation that Elgar and Delius (born Bradford, 1862), who like Holst, died within a few months of each other in 1934, were good friends was revealing.

In my mind, these greats of English music had been rivals, but by the end they were respectful of each other’s work and achievements.

If you hurry, you can catch the documentary on the BBC iPlayer (it’ll disappear in the small hours of Monday 4th June 2012).

So if you don’t know about Delius or his music, then I know you’ll find his story and compositions the perfect antidote to the pomp and pageantry that will be an essential part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in the UK.

Delius – In A Summer Garden

Delius – Sea Drift

Delius: Composer, Lover, Enigma – BBC iPlayer

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