Wednesday 9 May, London – a private screening of John Bridcut’s new film on Frederick Delius, 2012 being the 150th-anniversary of his birth, in Bradford, Yorkshire. But is he an English composer? Does his music sound English? Away from composing he enjoyed a hedonistic lifestyle, which eventually caught up with him! Florida and Paris were just two of the places he inhabited. Delius died in 1934 (the same year as Elgar and Holst) and was buried in France, his remains then reinterred in England a year later at midnight!

Contributors to John Bridcut’s film (a Crux Production) include knight-conductors Andrew Davis and Mark Elder, as well as archive footage of one Delius’s greatest earliest champions, Sir Thomas Beecham, talking in 1957 in highly characteristic terms! Thomas Hampson and Bo Holten (Scandinavia's leading interpreter of Delius's music: Norway was another of his haunts) also contribute as does composer Anthony Payne, and there is plenty of Delius’s inimitable music to relish.

This is a well-made, engrossing and illuminating 90-minute film that will appeal both to the composer’s devotees and also anyone keen to know more about Delius, a “strange man”, whose music ravishes the ear and paints pictures, and which is described as “sensual and passionate with underlying eroticism.” It’s fair to say that Delius enjoyed life!


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