DELIUS; BAX Choral Music

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Frederick Delius, Arnold (Edward Trevor) Bax

Genre:

Vocal

Label: Naxos

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 8 573695

8 573695. DELIUS; BAX Choral Music

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
Midsummer Song Frederick Delius Composer
George Parris
The Carice Singers
Of a Rose I Sing a Song George Parris
The Carice Singers
Arnold (Edward Trevor) Bax Composer
Durch den Wald Frederick Delius Composer
George Parris
The Carice Singers
An den Sonnenschein Frederick Delius Composer
George Parris
The Carice Singers
On Craig Dhu (An impression of nature) Frederick Delius Composer
George Parris
The Carice Singers
To be sung of a summer night on the water The Carice Singers
George Parris
Frederick Delius Composer
(The) Splendour falls on castle walls The Carice Singers
Frederick Delius Composer
George Parris
Ave Maria Frederick Delius Composer
The Carice Singers
George Parris
Sonnenscheinlied Frederick Delius Composer
The Carice Singers
George Parris
I sing of a maiden George Parris
The Carice Singers
Arnold (Edward Trevor) Bax Composer
Frühlingsanbruch Frederick Delius Composer
The Carice Singers
George Parris
Her ute skal gildet staa (Yes, here we shall feast The Carice Singers
Frederick Delius Composer
George Parris
Mater ora filium The Carice Singers
George Parris
Arnold (Edward Trevor) Bax Composer
(5) Greek Folk Songs Arnold (Edward Trevor) Bax Composer
George Parris
The Carice Singers
This worldes joie George Parris
The Carice Singers
Arnold (Edward Trevor) Bax Composer
Not much unites Delius and Bax beyond nationality and some mutual friends. Despite the former composer’s famous cosmopolitanism, it’s Bax’s part-songs and motets that appear more interesting here, at once rooted and ambitious. Delius’s miniatures can appear parochial next to his masterpieces for voice and orchestra while his penchant for European languages casts The Carice Singers in an unfavourable light.

There’s some talent in this choir – the men are better than the women – but the overall sound can be woolly and standoffish, without a final degree of engagement with the text. Norwegian and German should induce a different approach to annunciation and shift the surface feel of the music as a result, but don’t here. The hazy sound of the wordless To be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water understandably suits the group best but the bugle effects in The splendour falls on castle walls sound like something out of Monty Python.

There’s a wonderful resonance to Midsummer Song, the final Delius work, with its trochaic ‘wall of sound’. Into the Bax the choir raise their game in response to more complex music; they negotiate the slippery chromaticism of I sing of a maiden impressively. But, again, declamatory phrases like ‘Saint Basil, since you go to school / recite your alphabet to show us’ (from Five Greek Folk Songs) need to be delivered on the front foot, not as if at a Sunday evensong, and the choir’s blend is frustratingly unsettled.

Parris demonstrates his ability to plot a long and complicated work in the monolithic Mater ora filium – to Bax what Take him, earth, for cherishing is to Howells – but the soprano tone collapses horribly at the end of the big chord at 5'22", and again when that same chord, thickened up, returns to close the piece.

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