Delius: The 1899 Concert

An historic concert took place on May 30, 1899 in St. James Hall in London. Frederick Delius organized this concert to introduce his works to the musical public in his native England, and also to "give them a listen" himself. The Queen's Hall Orchestra was conducted by Alfred Hertz of the Elberfeld Opera. The programme was designed to be representative of the composer's achievement up to that date. The bill of fare by today's reckoning was of formidable dimensions.

You can re-create that long-ago evening of musical magic by gathering together recordings of the works and playing them in sequence. Almost all the works have been recorded, although some recordings are now out of print.

The May 30, 2015 episode of the American Public Media program "Composers Datebook" featured a story about the 1899 concert:

Essay about the 1899 Concert
(from The Delius Society Journal No. 126, Autumn 1999)

Photo of Delius in 1899

Concert poster

Concert program cover

Sequence Title of Work Approximate Duration (min)
Part 1.

1. Fantasia for Orchestra, Over the Hills and Far Away.  14
2. Legende, for violin and orchestra.  7
3. Third and fourth movements from Suite for orchestra, Folkeraadet (Parliament).  12
4. Danish Songs (with orchestral accompaniment): 
  • Through long, long years 
  • Let springtime come 
  • Irmelin Rose 
  • On the Seashore 
  • Wine roses 
5. Symphonic poem for orchestra, The Dance Goes On. 
(This was the early version of Life's Dance) 
6. Mitternachtslied from Nietzsche's Zarathustra for baritone solo, men's chorus, and orchestra. 
(later became part of Mass of Life) 


Excerpts from Koanga (Opera in 3 acts with a prologue and epilogue). 
1. (a) Prelude to Act III.  6
2. (b) Quintet and Finale of Act I.  10
3. Act II (complete)  32

(additional time for breaks between works) 15

(3 hours, 8 minutes)

Starting time 8:30 pm

Ending time (estimated) 11:38 pm

The 1929 Delius Festival

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