Delius (1862-1934) was an English Impressionist or
who lived the later part of his life in France.
His father was a German
wool merchant who became a naturalized British subject in 1860. Frederick went to
Bradford Grammar School and the International College, London. In 1884 he
went to Florida, USA., as an orange planter, but studied music in his spare
time. Then he went to Leipzig in 1886 to study music in depth, and there he met
Grieg. Then he went to Paris in 1888, where he enjoyed a very
"Bohemian" life-style, which caused his blindness in later life.
Finally he married a Norwegian artist and settled in a village near
Paris - Grez-sur-Loing, where he lived for the rest of his life.
became known in Germany at first, but later became popular in Britain when the
conductor Sir Thomas Beecham championed it. Delius was a contemporary
of Elgar, and also of
Debussy. His music has a distinctive and original sound, but Delius did not
have Elgar's genius for sweeping original melodies and vigorous expression. He
wrote several tone poems, and for this reason has been described as an impressionist
by some writers. He became blind around 1922, but carried on composing, with the
help of his friend Eric Fenby.
Major works by Delius include: Brigg Fair
for orchestra; 3 violin sonatas; the tone poem Over the Hills and Far
2 Dance Rhapsodies for orchestra; On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring;
and Summer Night on the River.