Delius: A Village Romeo and Juliet; Sea Drift

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COMPOSERS: Delius
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: A Village Romeo and Juliet; Sea Drift
PERFORMER: Lorely Dyer; René SoamesRoyal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus/Sir Thomas Beecham
CATALOGUE NO: CMS7 64386 2 ADD mono
Forty years on, the positive qualities of this 1948 recording remain overwhelming. The singing may strike today’s ears a little oddly, but it has more to do with the quality of timbre chosen. Meanwhile the original recording has been transformed: long stretches could have come from tape, not 78 masters.

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The opera comes with the considerable bonus of an unissued Beecham recording of Sea Drift. What prevented it appearing at the time remains a mystery: some inconsistencies of balance may have told against it, though these are momentary and never spoil what many regard as the best of Beecham’s several versions of the work. Lyndon Jenkins