Hassan, Act V: Closing Scene: We take the Golden Road to Samarkand
Frederick Delius: Irmelin
Frederick Delius: Appalachia, American Rhapsody
Appalachia (Variations on an Old Slave Song)
“There always was a unique alchemy between the art of Sir Thomas Beecham and the music of Frederick Delius, to be heard in every bar of this remarkable January 1938 recording of Appalachia. It's a performance of beaming dedication, wistful heartache and rapt wonder leaves the listener in no doubt about Sir Thomas's boundless love for a work that served as his introduction to the composer. (He later recalled how the 1907 London premiere under Fritz Cassirer left him 'startled and electrified'.) By July 1938 Beecham and the LPO had committed to disc the three remaining items that eventually made up The Delius Society's lavishly presented third and final volume of the composer's music issued by Columbia Records; suffice it to say, La Calinda skips along entrancingly here, while no true Delian could fail to respond to Beecham's ineffably poignant way with both the closing scene from Hassan and the lovely Irmelin Prelude. Naxos's curtain-raiser, Brigg Fair, was recorded towards the end of the previous decade. Some seven months separated the two days required to produce a reading of unforgettable tenderness and bewitching poetry (the results of an even earlier session in July 1928 having been rejected altogether), although some will still hold a slight preference for the second of Sir Thomas's three versions (a gloriously intuitive display with the newly formed RPO from November 1946). David Lennick's transfers have been admirably managed, Appalachia now sounding rather more open and full bodied than on a rival Dutton compilation. Throw in a lively and informative booklet-essay from Lyndon Jenkins, not to mention the absurdly low price-tag, and it should be abundantly clear that this is a selfrecommending issue.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.