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“A chronologically wide-ranging programme startis with Bizet-meets-Elgar in Marche caprice (composed in Paris in 1889) and finishes with the flourishes of the 1931 Fantastic Dance that Delius inscribed to his amanuensis Eric Fenby. There are two further rarities: the fragrant Spring Morning of 1890, which breathes a distinctly Norwegian air, and the colourful AmericanRhapsody of 1896, an embryonic (and purely orchestral) dry run for the towering Appalachia of six years later. Lloyd-Jones's flowing yet deeply felt way with The Walk to the Paradise Garden leaves a less artfully self-conscious impression than Mark Elder's silky Hallé version. The only reservation applies to the Two Pieces for Small Orchestra, On hearing the first cuckoo inSpring and Summer night on the river, both of which are too robust to work their full magic. (Thomas Beecham and Norman Del Mar remain unsurpassed in this 1911-12 diptych; the same goes for A song before sunrise.) Otherwise, the RSNO respond attentively throughout.”
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