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DELIUS: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Beecham

Brigg Fair (An English Rhapsody)
Dance Rhapsody No. 1
Marche Caprice
North Country Sketches
On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring
Over the Hills and Far Away

Naxos 8.110984

A pleasing addition to Naxos's Great Conductors series and the Delius/Beecham CD discography.

There is a fine account of the 1907 Brigg Fair, one of my particular favourites in the Delius canon, but several of the works here are rarely to be heard nowadays; this release has Beecham's only commercial recording of the less characteristically intimate North Country Sketches, premiered in 1915.

The oft-recorded Cuckoo is an oddity, the recording made in two sessions (1946 & 1948) with different clarinettists! The notes (Lyndon Jenkins) are a little discursive and hard to track chronologically; he has a good Beecham story about the hapless bass-oboist at the first performance of the Dance Rhapsody.

© Peter Grahame Woolf