Delius: Sea Drift; Songs of Farewell; Songs of Sunset

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Sea Drift; Songs of Farewell; Songs of Sunset
PERFORMER: Sally Burgess (mezzo-soprano), Bryn Terfel (baritone); Waynflete Singers, Southern Voices, Bournemouth SO & Chorus/Richard Hickox
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9214 Reissue (1993)
This disc was an award-winner when it first appeared in 1993, and rightly so. These are among Delius’s finest and most consistent works, and Hickox directs them with an authority and atmosphere that recalls Beecham or Barbirolli. Bryn Terfel, as soloist in Sea Drift, contributes one of the finest and most deeply-felt performances of his now extensive discography, and this is one of the most restrainedly expressive interpretations this outpouring of wild pathos has received on disc. Throughout the three works the choirs are ideally responsive to the beauty of the poetry, coming into their own in the late Songs of Farewell. If Songs of Sunset doesn’t quite efface the memory of Charles Groves’s 1968 account with Janet Baker and John Shirley-Quirk, this is still a splendid account of a subtle work that offers far more than mere fin-de-siècle languor. Altogether a notable release which it’s a pleasure to welcome back to currency. Calum MacDonald