Delius: Orchestral songs; Irmelin Suite; Air and Dance; Two Aquarelles

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Delius
LABELS: Dinemec
WORKS: Orchestral songs; Irmelin Suite; Air and Dance; Two Aquarelles
PERFORMER: Carole Farley (soprano)Rhine PO, Philharmonia Orchestra/José Serebrier
CATALOGUE NO: DCCD 017
This disc includes world premiere recordings of the Irmelin Suite, which was extracted from the composer’s opera by Beecham in the Fifties, and of Summer Landscape, which, like nearly all the other songs here, was written originally for voice and piano and only later orchestrated by the composer.

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It could have been a disc to cherish, since the lovely orchestral songs have made only the rarest appearances either live or recorded, while the suite, although in the composer’s rather too easy-going early manner, is of considerable documentary interest. Unfortunately, however, the rather bright, forward sound quality, which might have been appropriate for Mahler songs, seems less well-suited to Delius’s, while Carole Farley’s edgy timbre and frequently rather odd enunciation are a disappointment.

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Serebrier sounds like a fine Delian, however, and the Irmelin Suite, which can take the bright sound, and the later string pieces, come over very well. Anthony Payne