Delius – Brigg fair

https://www.discogs.com/Delius-Hallé-Orchestra-Vernon-Handley-Brigg-Fair-A-Song-Of-Summer-In-A-Summer-Garden-Eventyr/release/5759708

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English impressionists, is that a thing? Maybe not, but Delius is one, or at least in this work. Although Delius came years after the French impressionists, he still uses the same focus on colouring. His music is about painting an atmosphere in orchestral colours.

What is a Brigg fair? It is a fair that has been held in the little town of Brigg in North Lincolnshire, since 1205. There is also a folk song attached to it, and the Delius piece is about that folk song. It is basically a variations piece, where the composer tries different approaches to the same basic melody. Usually pieces like this start with a short introduction, where the main theme is presented. From this the variations start, meandering further and further from the original.

There are three more pieces on this record, these are like tone poems. A tone poem is a late form in orchestral music, where there is more freedom. Usually they are centered around a theme, or telling a story. This is program music. I earlier wrote about Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune, that is also a good example of this. The last piece on this record, Eventyr, means adventure. It is a fairy tale, just like Debussy’s Prélude.

The label for this record deserves some extra attention.

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