Delius: Three Preludes; Five Piano Pieces; Pensée mélodieuse No. 2; Margot la Rouge (excs, arr. Ravel); In a Summer Garden (arr. Heseltine),

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COMPOSERS: Delius
LABELS: Direct to Tape
WORKS: Three Preludes; Five Piano Pieces; Pensée mélodieuse No. 2; Margot la Rouge (excs, arr. Ravel); In a Summer Garden (arr. Heseltine),
PERFORMER: Charles Abramovic (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: DTR 2001 (distr. +1 856 547 6890; www.dtrmusic.com)
Delius wrote only a few short piano pieces, and half this disc is made up of arrangements, most of them recorded for the first time. On hearing the first Cuckoo in Spring and In a Summer Garden are lazy reveries that depend very much on orchestral colour for their effect, but these versions work amazingly well, especially as they are played so sensitively. Two extracts from Ravel’s arrangement (as a vocal score) of the opera Margot la Rouge sound more congested. The other arrangement, of two pieces from Delius’s early Florida Suite, is by the scholar Robert Threlfall and much more recent. As for the original piano pieces, some are too early to be characteristic. The others, Three Preludes and Five Piano Pieces, tend to be shorter than one would like, though Delius’s lack of rhythmic vitality or pianistic resource limit their interest. The most typically Delian piece is Dance, improbably written for harpsichord but usually played on the piano, with delicious harmonies expressed in a perpetual limping rhythm. As a whole, the disc will appeal mainly to ardent fans of the composer, and a rather old piano is recorded with the microphone much too far away. Adrian Jack

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