BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis – Delius: Appalachia, The Song Of The High Hills (2011) {SACD ISO + FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz}

BBC Symphony Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis – Delius: Appalachia, The Song Of The High Hills (2011)
BDP-170 Rip | SACD ISO | DST64 2.0 & DST64 5.0 >1-bit/2.8224 MHz | Digital Booklet | 3.05 GB
FLAC tracks 2.0 24bit/88.2 kHz | Digital Booklet | 1.10 GB
Genre: Classical

This release offers a pair of fairly early Delius works; they may not be instantly appealing to those making a start with this idiosyncratic English impressionist, but confirmed fans will love them. The roots of Frederick Delius’ Appalachia lay in his experiences as an orange plantation manager in Florida in the late 1880s, where he heard the singing of African-American laborers and, according to his own testimony, first began to think about becoming a composer. The work is subtitled “Variations on an Old Slave Song with Final Chorus for baritone, chorus, and orchestra,” and everything about it is intriguingly confused. Florida is not part of Appalachia. Nor is the Mississippi River delta, which Delius claimed was the inspiration for the work, but which he apparently never saw. To top it off, the “old slave song” is obscure; Delius, who had firsthand experience of African-American music, may indeed have heard it somewhere, but the text doesn’t appear anywhere in databases of spiritual texts, and apparently no one has discovered the source. The melody, uncharacteristically simple for a spiritual, is stated plainly after a two-part introduction, and then follows a set of variations of all possible shapes and sizes, culminating in a choral finale. The finale gives the advertised baritone soloist precious little to do; he gets to sing just a few bars after cooling his heels on-stage for half an hour. And it introduces the text of the song, which with its “sold down the river” images sounds a bit out of place in the mouths of a substantial English chorus. The BBC Symphony Chorus under Andrew Davis does its best with this, and in general the level of orchestral detail, the heart and soul of a Delius performance, is impressive here. The Song of the High Hills expands on the wordless chorus idea that is introduced in Appalachia, and technically it’s perhaps a more accomplished work. Appalachia, however, truly announced Delius as an original, and it’s the kind of piece you’ll either love or hate depending on your attitude toward the composer’s output in general. In any case, it’s not a terribly common work on CD, and Davis deserves thanks for its resurrection here.

01. Appalachia: [Introduction I.] Molto moderato – Tranquillo – (03:48)
02. Appalachia: [Introduction II.] Poco più vivo ma moderato – (02:13)
03. Appalachia: [Theme.] Andante – (00:29)
04. Appalachia: [Variation I.] Un poco più – Moderato – (00:45)
05. Appalachia: [Variation II.] Più vivo – (01:00)
06. Appalachia: [Variation III.] Molto moderato – Poco più mosso – Lento – Moderato (molto ritmico) – (04:09)
07. Appalachia: [Variation IV.] Con moto – Un poco più tranquillo – (00:53)
08. Appalachia: [Variation V.] Giocoso. Allegro moderato – Meno mosso. Più tranquillo – (02:42)
09. Appalachia: [Variation VI.] Lento e molto tranquillo – Misterioso. Più mosso – Un poco meno – (04:10)
10. Appalachia: [Variation VII.] Andante con grazia – Calando – (01:38)
11. Appalachia: [Variation VIII.] Lento sostenuto e tranquillo – Un poco più – Tempo I – (02:50)
12. Appalachia: [Variation IX.] Allegro alla marcia – Adagio – (01:42)
13. Appalachia: [Variation X.] Marcia. Molto lento maestoso – (01:34)
14. Appalachia: [Song.] L’istesso tempo – Misterioso lento – Lento – Più mosso (07:52)
15. The Song of the High Hills: In ruhigem fließendem Tempo – Tranquillo. Very quietly but not dragging – With vigour – Not too slow – Rather quicker – Slower. Maestoso (not hurried). With exultation – (09:27)
16. The Song of the High Hills: Very slow (The wide far distance – The great solitude) – Slow and solemnly – Very quietly – Slow and very legato – (11:45)
17. The Song of the High Hills: Tempo I – Più mosso ma tranquillo – With exultation (not hurried). Maestoso – Tempo I – Very slow (07:24)

Olivia Robinson – soprano
Christopher Bowen – tenor
Andrew Rupp – baritone
BBC Symphony Chorus
Stephen Jackson – chorus master
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Stephen Bryant leader
Sir Andrew Davis – conductor

Recording venue All Saints’ Church, Tooting, London; 15 and 16 October 2010

Produced by Brian Pidgeon



FLAC 24bit/88,2kHz