Books about Delius and his music

(as compiled by Jeff Gower (JG) and Bill Thompson (BT))

NOTE: Many of these books are now out of print, but many colleges and libraries have copies. Ask your local public library to obtain your selection for you through the Interlibrary Loan Program. Do a WorldCat search (see search box below) to see what nearby libraries have the book you are seeking.

Search for an item in libraries near you:

1. "Frederick Delius" by Sir Thomas Beecham (ISBN 0727800736)    READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE
I like this one. It contains good biographical material, as well as some musical insight by Delius's greatest interpreter. (JG)

2. "Delius: A Life in Letters" by Lionel Carley   (Photo of Lionel Carley, Archivist of the Delius Trust)
Vol I: 1862-1908  (ISBN 0674195701)     READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE
Vol II: 1909-1934 (ISBN 0859677176)
This is the Delian "bible", for in its two volumes are all the mysteries of Delius revealed, I think. Straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Plus some superb background and footnote material from Carley, the leading Delius expert. (JG)

3. "Delius: A Life in Pictures" by Lionel Carley and Robert Threlfall (ISBN 0193154374)   READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE
This is a collection of great photos and artwork associated with Delius, with some selected quotes and tidbits of information sprinkled about. (JG)

4. "Delius: The Paris Years" by Lionel Carley (ISBN 0902070142)
A short and enjoyable book about those years when Delius was in his 20s and 30s and he was the most passionate about life and art (perhaps TOO passionate!). His associations with the leading artists of the day are given - a VERY interesting book. (JG)

5. "Delius as I Knew Him" by Eric Fenby (ISBN 048628042X)     FULL TEXT AVAILABLE ONLINE AT THIS LINK
The most famous of the Delius books, written by his ammanuensis of his later years, when he was paralysed by advanced syphilis. Superb classic of musical literature, written from a lifelong devotee of Delius and his music, but in a very objective and honest tone. The book was made into a British TV movie directed by Ken Russell. Much of the common perception of Delius as a misanthropic bitter old man comes from this book/movie, which is unfortunate I think, because he was a life-lover and befriender of many when he was not ill. (JG)

6. "Delius" by Arthur Hutchings (ISBN 0837139589)     READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE
A musicological and critical biography of Delius. Although it is interesting to read, I don't necessarily agree with many of the conclusions or emphases derived by Hutchings. (JG)

7. "Delius" by Alan Jefferson (ISBN 0460031317)    READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE
A very good biography, with little in the way of musicological info. A fine listing of works is included. (JG)

8. "Delius: Portrait of a Cosmopolitan" by Christopher Palmer (ISBN 0841902747)    READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE
This is an EXCELLENT book, and is highly recommended for those who are more musically inclined. A thorough musicological study of Delius and his various influences, both geographically- and culturally-derived, as well as his influence on others. Superb! (JG)

9. "A Delius Companion", edited by Christopher Redwood (ISBN 0714538264)    READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE
This is a very enjoyable, although frequently historically suspect, collection of essays and articles on Delius and by Delius. Composers, conductors, musicologists, you-name-it, they are here, speaking their mind on Delius, the man and the composer. (JG)

10. "Frederick Delius" by Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock) (ISBN 083717926)    FULL TEXT AVAILABLE ONLINE AT THIS LINK
An early Delius biography and musical analysis, written in 1923. Delius read this book even! Of course, it is quite slanted in Delius' favor, being that Warlock worshipped him. But it is well-written, with colorful language and with some very interesting analyses of Delius's work to that point. (JG)   
First Edition:    Cover     Title Page    Publisher

11. "Frederick Delius: Music, Art and Literature" by Lionel Carley (Ashgate Publishing, 1997) (ISBN 1859282229)
 Carley authors one of a dozen essays by international contributors reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of Delius's life and music, discussing the mixed critical review of the debut production of (1897). Others also explore his critical reception, and his         relationships with other artists in America, Germany, Norway, and Grez-sur-Loing, France. Most of the 55 b&w illustrations are from the Trust's collections.

{short description of image}12. "Frederick Delius: Memories of My Brother" by Clare Delius (1936)      FULL TEXT AVAILABLE ONLINE AT THIS LINK
This is an interesting personal memoir by one of the composer's sisters, written soon after Delius' death. Although it contains some inaccuracies, this book offers a unique perspective on Delius during his formative years. (BT)
Large scan of dust jacket
Front flap of dust jacket   -    Back flap of dust jacket
Inscription by Mrs. Henry L. Richmond (1939)

13. "The American Sources of Delius' Style" by Philip Jones (Garland Publishers, 1989) (ISBN 0824020146)
This book is both fascinating and maddening. It contains rich material on how Delius was influenced by his sojourn in America, exploring many of his early works in great detail and with many musical examples. Part of the book is poorly photocopied from a thesis by the author, and the reduced legibility of this section makes for difficult reading. The unique content makes it worth the effort. (BT)

14. "A Catalogue of the Compositions of Frederick Delius" by Robert Threlfall (Delius Trust, 1977) (ISBN 0851620280)
This is an indispensible guide to the works themselves, giving details of scoring, different versions, publications, performances, etc.  Limited Edition of 500 copies. (BT)

15. "A Catalogue of the Music Archive of the Delius Trust, London" by Rachel Lowe (Delius Trust, 1974) (ISBN 085162023X)
This complements the Threlfall book by giving more information about the actual manuscripts and copies of Delius' works. (BT) 

16. "Frederick Delius: A Supplementary Catalogue" by Robert Threlfall (Delius Trust, 1986)  (ISBN 0950265349)
Contains details supplementing, correcting and updating Threlfall's 1977 Catalogue of Compositions (#14 above), as well as descriptions of further accessions to the Music Archive since publication of Lowe's 1974 Catalogue of the Music Archive (#15 above).  Limited edition of 1000 copies. (BT) 

17. "Frederick Delius: Complete Works - Editorial Report" by Robert Threlfall  (Delius Trust, 1990) (ISBN 0950265373)
Discusses in detail the various manuscripts and copies which were utilized in publishing the Collected Edition of Delius' works. Provides insights into how issues such as conflicting versions were resolved.

18. "The Search for Thomas F. Ward, Teacher of Frederick Delius" by Don Gillespie (University Press of Florida, 1996) (ISBN 0813013984)
The amazing saga of Ward was pieced together heroically by Mr. Gillespie using some outstanding detective work! I was astounded to find that Thomas Ward's grave is only a few miles from my birthplace in Houston, Texas! (BT)  Google Book preview      READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE

19. "The Road to Samarkand: Frederick Delius and His Music" by Gloria Jahoda (Scribner, 1969) (ISBN 2452284564)
This is a sentimental favorite of mine, and is written with young readers in mind. In spite of some inaccuracies and "dramatization", I enjoyed Ms. Jahoda's focus on Delius' travels and adventures. (BT)

19a.  "The Other Florida" by Gloria Jahoda (Scribner, 1967) (ISBN 0912451041)
This book has two chapters on Delius.   
Listen to MP3 audio files of Glorida Jahoda reading these two chapters:  Part 1 (28 MB)     Part 2 (28 MB)
(NOTE:  These readings were originally broadcast on WFSU.   Thanks to James Benjamin Roth for the audio files.)

20. "New World Symphonies" by Dr. Jack Sullivan (Yale University Press, 1999) (ISBN 0300072317)
This author was the Fenby Lecturer at the 1998 Delius Festival in Jacksonville. His book explores the influence of American culture and literature on European musicians. Delius is featured prominently in the book, with particular focus on his "Indian" and "Negro" works and his Whitman settings. (BT)
Google Book preview       READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE

21. "Fenby on Delius", edited by Stephen Lloyd (Thames Publishing, 1996) (ISBN 0905210271) 
This book is a treasure-trove of information on the music of Delius and also offers insights on the musical career of Eric Fenby.  It consists of Fenby's collected articles, interviews, and record liner notes.  Also included is a Fenby discography and a Fenby works list.  Indispensible addition to the Delius bibliography.  (BT)

22. "Frederick Delius and Peter Warlock: A Friendship Revealed" by Barry Smith (Oxford University Press, 2000)  (ISBN 0198167067) Here are at last is the collected correspondence of these two unique composers and friends.  Barry Smith authored the definitive biography of Warlock, and with these letters he leads us through the fascinating 20 year relationship between young Heseltine and the older Delius.  (BT)   Google Book preview

23.  "Collected Writings of the German Musicologist Max Chop on the Composer Frederick Delius" edited by Philip Jones (Edward Mellen, 2002)   (ISBN 0773472940) 
This book contains the earliest biographical studies of Delius, which were published in Germany from 1907 and 1910.   (BT)   FULL TEXT AVAILABLE ONLINE AT THIS LINK 

24.  "Grieg and Delius: A Chronicle of Their Friendship in Letters" edited by Lionel Carley (Rizzoli Intl, 1993)  (ISBN 0714529613) This collection of letters focuses on the friendship between the composers Edvard Grieg and "Frederick  Delius, a friendship that began in Leipzig in1887 while Delius was a student at the Conservatory there. . . .{The book includes their} surviving correspondence until Grieg's death in 1907 and continues with correspondence between his wife, Nina Grieg, and Delius (and wife Jelka) until Nina's death in 1935."

25.  "Influence of African-American Music on the Works of Frederick Delius" by Derek Healey
(BPR Publishers, 2003) (ISBN 0615123643)
Fascinating musicological study of how many of Delius' musical traits were influenced by his hearing the music of the black people in Florida and Danville.   Contains many musical examples.   Mr. Healey gave the Fenby Lecture on this subject during the Delius Festival in Jacksonville in March 2004.

26.  "Frederick Delius: A Guide to Research" by Mary L. Huismann (Routledge, 2004) (ISBN 0415941067)
This valuable and welcome reference work lists resources containing information about Delius and his music.  Includes a bibliography, lists of articles and theses, discography, internet resources, and much more.  Click here for more information      Google Book preview
Cover of Second Edition

(ISBN 0950265322)
10x7. 233 pp. 7 b/w illus. Percy Grainger was a great friend of the composer Frederick Delius and worked tirelessly to make his friend's music known in Australia and around the world. This details the letters and documents held in the Delius holdings of the Grainger Museum, Australia.

28.  "Flecker and Delius" by Dawn Redwood (Thames, 1978) (ISBN 0905210069)
Background on how Delius came to write the incidental music for Flecker's drama "Hassan."     Front cover

29.  "Warlock and Delius" by Fred Tomlinson (Thames, 1976) (ISBN 0905210050)

30.  "Edvard Munch and Frederick Delius" by John Boulton Smith (Triad Press, 1983) (ISBN 0902070266)
The friendship of the English composer Frederick Delius and the painter Edvard Munch.

31.  "Delius" by Eric Fenby (Faber & Faber, 1972) (ISBN 0571092969)
Volume in the "Great Composers" series.       READ ON INTERNET ARCHIVE 
Front cover         Fenby autograph

32.  "C.W. Orr, the Unknown Song Composer (Including the Complete Delius - Orr Correspondence)" by Jane Wilson (Thames, 1989) (ISBN 0905210581)

33.  "While Spring And Summer Sang: Thomas Beecham And the Music of Frederick Delius" by Lyndon Jenkins (Ashgate, 2005) (ISBN 0754607216)  Front cover    Google Book preview
34.  "Elgar: The Erotic Variations, and Delius: A Moment with Venus" by Ken Russell (Peter Owen Publishing, 2007, PB, 220 pp) (ISBN 072061290X)
BBC Magazine says that "The Delius novella deals more with atmosphere than event, although its heart is the relationship between Eric Fenby and the composer, already familiar from Russell's classic film."    Front cover

35.  "Music and Copyright: The Case of Delius and His Publishers" by Robert Montgomery and Robert Threlfall (Ashgate, 2007) (ISBN 0754658465)   Google Book preview

36.  "Frederick Delius" (Vol. 141/142 in the series Musik-Konzepte, 2008) (paperback) Ulrich Tadday, Editor (ISBN 3883779520)
This is a German anthology of essays on Delius.     Table of contents and English abstracts of the essays

37.  "Delius and his Music" by Martin Lee-Browne and Paul Guinery (Boydell Press, 2014) (ISBN 1843839598)  Google Books preview

38. "A Quest for Innocence: The Music of Frederick Delius 1885-1900" by Andrew J. Boyle (Doctoral Thesis, Sheffield University, 1984)  FULL TEXT AVAILABLE AT THIS LINK

39.  "Delius and Norway" by Andrew J. Boyle (Boydell Press, 2017) (ISBN 178327199X)
Front Cover       Review by Stephen Greenbank

40. "Delius in Danville" by Mary Cahill (Danville Historical Society, 1986, 66 pp)    FULL TEXT AVAILABLE AT THIS LINK
After leaving Solano Grove and Florida in 1885, Delius headed north and arrived in Danville, Virginia in September.   He obtained a position as a music teacher at a women's college there, and stayed until spring 1886, when he headed north to New York and then back to Europe. Delius made a big impact on the cultural community of Danville; when he returned to America in 1897, he stopped in Danville to participate in a concert and to visit with friends.    Delius continued to correspond with several Danville friends for the rest of his life.  (BT)

41. "The Music of Frederick Delius: Style, Form and Ethos" by Jeremy Dibble (Boydell Press, 2021) (ISBN 1783275774)   Google Books preview

Back to the Delius Web Page