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CHAN 9214
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CHAN 9214

Delius: Sea Drift · Songs of Farewell · Songs of Sunset

The Classical Shop
release date: September 2001

Originally recorded in 2000


Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Richard Hickox

Bryn Terfel


Sally Burgess


Southern Voices

Waynflete Singers

Bournemouth Symphony Chorus


Wessex Hall, Poole Arts Centre


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Richard Smoker


Record Label


Orchestral & Concertos


Total Time - 76:40
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Select Complete Single Disc for

Sea Drift†

  for baritone, chorus and orchestra  

Songs of Farewell

  for double chorus and orchestra  
2 I Double Chorus: 'How sweet the silent backward tracings!' 4:28
3 II Chorus: 'I stand as on some mighty eagle's beak' 4:37
4 III Chorus: 'Passage to you! O secret of the earth and sky!' 3:30
5 IV Double Chorus: 'Joy, shipmate, joy!' 1:30
6 V Chorus: 'Now finalè to the shore' 3:48

Songs of Sunset*†

  for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus and orchestra  
7 Chorus: 'A song of the setting sun!' 3:24
8 Soli: 'Cease smiling, Dear! a little while be sad' 4:46
9 Chorus: 'Pale amber sunlight falls' 4:26
10 Mezzo-soprano: 'Exceeding sorrow consumeth my sad heart!' 3:42
11 Baritone: 'By the sad waters of separation' 4:48
12 Chorus: 'See how the trees and the osiers lithe' 3:34
13 Baritone: 'I was not sorrowful, I could not weep' 4:45
14 Soli, Chorus: 'They are not long, the weeping and the laughter' 3:27

Both Sea Drift (1903-04) and Songs of Sunset (1906-07) belong to the fertile decade following the turn of the century when Delius had assumed complete maturity and was producing a string of masterpieces. Among these, Sea Drift is regarded by  many as his greatest achievement. Setting words by Walt Whitman, and scored for baritone, chorus and orchestra, the work is cast in a single span, with seven internal subsections being dictated by the text. In all his works Delius attempted to achieve a ‘sense of flow’ and Sea Drift is the supreme realisation of this vision. The soloist’s melodic line is a supple mixture of recitative and arioso into which the chorus’s commentaries effortlessly intermingled.

If in Sea Drift it is the emotions of bereavement in the wake of tragedy that are explored, in Songs of Sunset it is the brevity of life as epitomised by the work’s original title, Songs of Twilight and Sadness. Thoughts of transcience haunted Delius, so it was natural that he was drawn to the fin de siecle of Ernest Dowson, with its symbols of ardent, sensual desire combined with those of decay, autumn and death.

Sea Drift and Songs of Sunset were written in the white heat of Delius’s vigorous maturity. Circumstances behind the composition of Songs of Farewell (1929-30), however, could hardly have been more different. By this time Delius was blind, crippled and helpless. As a composer he had been mute since the early 1920’s, until the offer from a young musician, Eric Fenby, to be his amanuensis kindled the sparks of creativity once more. Songs of Farewell, for double chorus and orchestra, was the finest achievement of this late harvest.

"In this second recording of Delius’s masterpiece Hickox finds even more magic, again tking a spacious view - which keeps the flow of the music going magnetically. Bryn Terfel adds to the glory of the performance, the finest since Beecham ... The Songs of Farewell, helped by incandescent choral singing, complete an ideal tryptych, presented in full and rich Chandos sound."

The Pengiun Guide – 1000 Greatest Classical Recordings 2011-12

‘A welcome reissue of a fine recording.’
The Sunday Telegraph

T Johnstone

C Dooley