Beecham, Fenby, Warlock, Grainger, and other well-known "classical"
musicians are closely associated with Delius. But Delius' music has
influenced many popular music artists and programs through the
Here are a few of those "Delius Connections". Let me know if you find
GEORGE MARTIN (Composer, Recording Artist, Producer of THE BEATLES;
"The Fifth Beatle")
Compendia CD 3785
is one of a series featuring favorite classical music
as selected by Sir George Martin, the Beatles'
the front cover features "Holst and Vaughan Williams" in large print
and "PLUS Delius" in tiny
print, it is great that Sir George included
"La Calinda" in his series. There is an audio track
commentary on Delius, and I
have transcribed it (roughly) as follows:
as a person was different from Delius
the musician, and I look at
Delius as the musician and the
music. I always judge a
person on what
I hear, and the music is out of this world. He wrote many
evocative things, to do with the English countryside, “On Hearing the
First Cuckoo in Spring”, and all sorts of things. This
is the music from KOANGA, and it is very English, very gentle, very
countryside-ish, very pop – very, you know, it’s good stuff (?), and
very easy to listen to, and very good music into the bargain.”
Sir George also makes a comment about his emulating the style of
Bernard Herrmann, who in turn had emulated Delius:
“Unquestionably, the music I’ve written for films, Yellow Submarine for
example, has been inspired by composers like Debussy and other great
composers. You draw on sources like this. In
“Eleanor Rigby”, the
rhythm was being carried by the strings - there was no other
accompaniment. And I’m quite unashamed about it: I copied the
Bernard Herrmann when I did the score for “Eleanor Rigby”.
what’s there and use it – because it’s all good stuff.”
(Hollywood Film Composer -
"Citizen Kane", "Jane Eyre", "Psycho", "Jason and the Argonauts", "Taxi
Driver", many others)
Bernard Herrmann claimed Delius as his favorite
He included Delius works in many of his radio performances
the years, and included "A Late Lark" on one of his last record
(Unicorn RHS 340). His scoring of the film of the Bronte novel
Eyre" led to his composition of his opera "Wuthering Heights". He
was quoted as saying that since Delius had planned to do an
on "Wutherering Heights" but never got around to it, he (Herrmann)
do it for him (Delius).
was recorded in 1966 with Herrmann
LP: Pye CSCL-30173 (4-LP set)
LP: Unicorn UNB 400 (4-LP set) Photo
of 4-LP Unicorn set
CD: Unicorn-Kanchana UKCD 2050/1/2 (3 discs) CD
Insert - Front CD
Insert - Back CD
Booklet - Back
Website: The Bernard
SLATKIN (Violinist, Conductor, Arranger)
Felix Slatkin was
a violinist and conductor in Hollywood in the 50's and early 60's. In
childhood days, one of my favorite LPs in my dad's collection was
conducted by Felix Slatkin. It consisted of drum and bugle corps music
and other military band music. In fact, the "Olympic Theme" (Bugler's
by Leo Arnaud) was drawn from this album.
The book "Sinatra Sessions: Frank Sinatra and the Art of Recording"
by Charles Granata provides great insight into Sinatra's working
as a great musical artist and performer. Felix Slatkin was Sinatra's
violinist on his sessions, and Mrs. Slatkin was his favorite cellist.
sons are Leonard Slatkin, conductor, and Fred Zlotkin, cellist.
Felix Slatkin also conducted the orchestra on many Sinatra sessions,
and was the arranger on at least one song for a Sinatra session
The Slatkins also formed the nucleus of the Hollywood String Quartet
whose recordings are now available on the Testament CD label. The
album "Close to You" featured the HSQ on every track, only supplemented
by solo wind instruments, playing arrangements by Nelson Riddle.
Only in recent years did I discover that Felix Slatkin recorded an
worth of Delius miniatures in 1952 (Capitol P-8182 and Music
Pleasure 2065). Only "First Cuckoo" is currently available on CD
(EMI Classics CD 7243-5-67099-2-8) in a collection with Grieg's Peer
Suite. The LP also featured Summer Night on the River, Intermezzo and
from Hassan, Caprice and Elegy and Prelude to Irmelin.
So certainly Slatkin was a Delius fan. He brought that
perspective to the Sinatra sessions, particularly on "Close to You",
Fred Zlotkin informed me that one of Felix Slatkin's Delius
was played during his memorial service in 1963.
RIDDLE (Arranger / Conductor)
Delius is mentioned in Charles Granata's "Sessions with
in a section about Nelson Riddle. Riddle was influenced by the
composers as he developed his style of arranging for Sinatra.
Peter J. Levinson's book "September in the Rain: The Life of Nelson
Riddle" (2001) makes the following references to Delius as an
on Riddle's arranging style:
"The ever musically conscious teenager (Riddle) wore out many cactus
needles listening to these records. After that he began enjoying the
composers - Ravel, more Debussy, and later on Delius." (p. 28)
(While touring with the Tommy Dorsey band as a trombonist and
"Nelson would get up early every morning even though we worked late
the night before...he would walk to a coffee shop before going over to
a publisher's office. there he would listen to his records - mostly the
hot classical records of the day: Delius, and of course,
Ravel - all very romantic music with beautiful chord structures. He was
able to make use of them in arranging popular music." (p. 55)
(Nelson's arrangements for Sinatra's "In the Wee Small Hours" album)
"were maudlin-sounding charts written without any brass, but rather for
a concentration of woodwinds, celli, and violins. As Nelson once
'Bill Finegan taught me to enjoy and appreciate the classics as the
source of musical richness.' Listening now to the arrangements from "In
the Wee Small Hours", one is struck by the symphonic quality of
This information comes from an excellent article by David J. Eccott
in the Autumn 2007 Delius Society Journal:
In 1960, Nelson Riddle orchestrated Delius' Three Piano Preludes for a
concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
These orchestrations were revived for a concert at the University of
Arizona School of Music on April 5, 2007.
STORDAHL (Arranger for Frank Sinatra in
the 1940's and early 1950's)
In another great book about Sinatra, Will Friedwald in "The
You" states that the arranger Axel Stordahl was also influenced by the
impressionist composers, including Delius.
ELLINGTON (Jazz Pianist, Composer and Bandleader)
It is well documented that Duke Ellington was an aficionado of
Ellington acknowledged that Delius was an influence on
musical style. Ellington composed and recorded a work which takes its
from one of Delius' most innovative orchestral works. "In a
Summer Garden" is not obviously derivative, but rather is
to a fellow composer and innovator.
In director Joshuah Waletzky's 1995 documentary "The Hollywood Sound",
the major Hollywood composers' styles are examined through following
John Mauceri as he prepares and conducts new recordings of several
Delius is mentioned prominently
in "The Hollywood Sound" as an influence on Alfred Newman, and this
influence is particularly notable in Newman's score for "How Green Was
Here is a transcription of the narrative that mentions Delius as an
influence on Hollywood composers, particularly Alfred Newman.
FRED STEINER (Composer and scholar; no relation to Max Steiner)
One of the things about the Hollywood composers is that they were
always interested in the latest developments. They
would study the music of Ravel, and Shostokovich when his music came
out. [Steiner is seated at the piano, playing "An
Irish Elegy"] This particular melody, that was used as the love theme
in "How Green Was My Valley", is an old tune called "The Sixpence", a
true Irish folk song with very simple harmonization. But if
you listen to the way that tune is treated, the sound is absolutely
that of the very famous English composer FREDERICK DELIUS. And
the story there is that Cyril Mockridge, a British composer working
over at the Fox Studio, and who found the melody for Alfred Newman, was
enamored at that time of the music of
FREDERICK DELIUS, and introduced Newman and others to his
wonderful, rich harmonizations. The character of the tune changes
completely when you give it this modern harmony, rather than the
simple, almost schoolboy harmonies that we found in this other
version. And it was interesting that the original melody
featured this flatted seventh, as we call it. Alfred
Newman, in some talk that he gave, referred to this as a kind of "blue
JOHN MAUCERI (Conductor):
The "blue note", the flatted seventh, which became a kind of symbol of
jazz, existed, of course, way before jazz, and in a funny way, the two
meet each other in Hollywood because Hollywood was unafraid to use jazz
in its big orchestral compositions, just as a few who didn't go to
Hollywood tried to use it in the concert hall, but were usually
"slapped down" and made to behave. And it also meets the
traditions of these European folk melodies that use the flatted
seventh, as in "How Green Was My Valley".
GLYNNE JONES (Chorus Master, Pendyrus Male Choir):
And of course this note, like the minor mode in Wales, pulls at the
heartstrings. The flatted seventh - we have a special
word for it in Wales - "hiraeth" - and hiraeth means "longing"; and
it's a longing where sentiment and feeling pulls and pulls.
And you get it, of course, in all these lovely love songs where you
talk about unrequited love.
[from "The Hollywood Sound" (1995), directed by Joshuah Waletzky]
I found that "The Hollywood Sound" film has been posted in its entirety
to YouTube in 10 parts. Here are links to the parts that
include the Delius reference:
Part 8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCzrDou4ytE
(NOTE: the beginning of Part
8 shows an interview with Eleanor Slatkin, wife of Felix Slatkin and
cellist for the Hollywood String Quartet)
Part 9: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m84e1zEq1QA
You will definitely hear echoes of Delius in Newman's score for "How
Green Was My Valley".
(British Film Composer)
Cyril Mockridge (1896-1979) was an English composer
and arranger and an indispensable member of the Twentieth Century-Fox
music department under Alfred Newman in the 1940s and '50s, where he
scored dozens of films in all genres (including classics like Miracle
but for the most part specialized in lighter fare that were
collaborative assignments—a perfect example being the Marilyn Monroe
(Hollywood Film Composer and Orchestrator)
Here is the excerpt from a letter by Hugo Friedhofer to Page Cook,
dated July 30, 1974.
"You spoke of your friend, the Delius
freak. I must confess that when I was in my late teens and early
twenties, I too went through a period of swooning admiration for some
of the Delian harmonic
writhings. Strangely enough, it was hearing the "Florida Suite,"
"Koanga," and the "Paris Symphony" (sic) which ultimately turned me
off. However, I can take his "Dance Rhapsody," "Brigg
Fair," "The Walk to the Paradise Gardens" (sic) and the two truly
lovely miniatures, "On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring," which some
joker rechristened "On Cooking the First Hero in Spring," and its
companion piece "Summer Night on the River." Even at the outset,
a certain lack of rhythmic vitality coupled with his over-lush and
sticky chromaticism troubled me. It got to be the tonal
equivalent of floundering waist-deep through a sea of molasses, so I
bade old Freddie a not-so-fond farewell, and haven't listened to him,
except in my mind's ear, since that time.
My old friend and colleague Cyril Mockridge had an amazing talent for
forgeries. Many of the luscious treatments of thematic material
in Alfred Newman's scores were contrived by Cyril when he was on staff
at 20th Century Fox."
from the book "Hugo Friedhofer: the best years of his life : a
Hollywood master of music for the movies" by Linda Danly (Rowman &
Littlefield, 2002: ISBN 0810844788), page 169.
SOTHERN (American TV and Movie Actress)
Ann Sothern had a successful Hollywood movie career before starring on
TV in the 1950's in the "Private Secretary" (aka "Susie") series, and
later on "The Ann Sothern Show". She brought personal charm and a
warm and wry sense of humor to her roles.
During a dinner at the Delius Festival in Jacksonville in 2004, Fran
Kinne (Dean of Jacksonville University) made a comment that Ann
Sothern was a fan of Delius' music. I made a note of her
comment for future reference. In "Ann Sothern: A
Bio-Bibliography", the author Margie Schultz acknowledges the help of
Jeff Driggers (Jacksonville Public Library) and Thomas H. Gunn (Swisher
Library at JU) for their help.
Ann Sothern was artist in residence at JU in September
1974. Ann's schedule included a series of workshops on the
Stanislavsky method of acting for university students, a tea in her
honor, and a lecture open to the public. In 1977, Ann
donated a complete set of 16mm film copies of her two TV series (196
episodes) and audio recordings of her radio programs to the Swisher
Library at JU. The films and recordings are still in the
library's collection. Previously, in October 1973, Ann was
performing in a dinner theater production of "Everybody Loves Opal" in
Jacksonville when a large piece of scenery fell on her and caused
serious injury to her back and legs. She returned to
Jacksonville several times over the next few years in connection with a
lawsuit relating to the accident.
Although neither of the books on Ann Sothern mentions Delius
specifically, it is clear that Ann was a talented musician, singer and
composer, and had a genuine love for good music.
In the course of her visits to Jacksonville over the years, Ann Sothern
became good friends with Fran Kinne. Per Virginia Chester of the
Swisher Library, the current Director of the Library, David Jones,
spoke to Fran Kinne in January 2014. Fran said that "Ann, in
addition to being a Delius fan, hoped to sing his music."
An audio CD titled "Sothern/Lamour" is available that features Ann
Sothern singing 14 songs and Dorothy Lamour singing 10 songs.
BOOKS ABOUT ANN SOTHERN:
"Ann Sothern: A Bio-Bibliography" by Margie Shultz (ISBN 0313264635)
"Cordially Yours, Ann Sothern" by Colin Briggs (ISBN
TORME' (Jazz/Pop Vocalist and Songwriter)
and GEORGE SHEARING (Jazz/Pop Pianist)
The popular singer Mel Torme' (who wrote the music for "The
Song") was an avid fan of Delius and was a member of The Delius
Society. He was interviewed by Christopher Redwood for The Delius
Society Journal in 1977 (Number
55). Torme' also conducted Delius works
in England in the early 1980's (see Number
Torme' made many recordings and concert appearances with pianist
Shearing, who was also a Delius Society member. Their recording of "It
Might As Well be Spring" featured musical quotations from Delius
works. Here is Torme's description of how this arrangement came
"I had walked into a little club in Chicago, and George Shearing,
is mad about Delius - we spend hours talking about it - he
me by sitting there and playing, in dead silence, the first few bars of
"First Cuckoo". Then he turned it around and tied it into a
setting of "It Might As Well Be Spring", and then in the middle he
a little droplet of "Brigg Fair", and then at the end there was a
of "Appalachia". Well, at the end I went round and said, "George,
please, I won't steal it from you, but would you allow me...?" and he
"By all means", so I wrote an arrangement wherein I play the first
or four bars of "Cuckoo" and then play and sing "It Might As Well Be
Then in the middle the orchestra comes in and at the end they stop and
I play one full stanza of "Brigg Fair". Then they come in with
last portion of "It Might As Well Be Spring" and when I sing the last
they play the horn-calls from "Appalachia" and then a very pure triad,
and I run up the piano. I must say it's got absolutely brilliant
notices....Rex Reed, who can be very difficult, called it "the most
piece of music I've heard in a night-club in aeons."
(NOTE: "It Might As Well Be Spring" in the "Delian" arrangement by
Torme' and George Shearing is available on CONCORD JAZZ CD CCD-4190)
From an article in Newsweek magazine dated March 22, 1982:
"My main love in life is to open the blinders. I feel sorry
people who only love jazz, only love rock, only love classical, only
country. I'm a great fan of Steely Dan, and my favorite all-time
composer is Delius - his orchestral tone poems. He was
Ellington and Gene Krupa's favorite, too."
From an interview
with Les Tomkins in 1984:
"I go on the road and do an enormous amount of symphony dates. I
Grainger, I conduct Delius; I sing a few things that are not in
the popular or the jazz idiom—and the truth of the matter is that I
being labelled. I don’t like to be labelled a pop singer and/or a jazz
singer - I’m a singer."
"...my awareness of it (classical music) grew as I was able to lay
hands on more and more classical records... For the
Mel Torme' passed away on June 5, 1999.
LEE (Popular Vocalist)
In May 1977, Peggy Lee appeared on the British radio programme
Island Discs", where the guest names the recordings that they just
not do without. The eight records she selected included
by Respighi, Brahms, Bach and Delius. When asked to
her choice down to just one work, Peggy Lee opted for "The Walk to the
Paradise Garden" by Delius.
Ms. Lee also appeared as vocalist on the recording of fellow
Mel Torme's "California Suite".
ROSE (Hollywood Composer - "Holiday for
Strings", "The Stripper", "Bonanza", many others)
Mel Torme' credited David Rose with turning him on to the music of Delius.
GARLAND (Hollywood Actress and Singer) Delius
was one of Judy Garland's favorite composers.
article about Judy Garland and David Rose).
"A common enthusiasm for music drew them together first. Judy thirsted
after knowledge. She loved to hear Dave play Rachmaninoff and Delius, still her favorite
BAXTER (Film Composer and Pop Music
- "Poor People of Paris")
Baxter had been a member of Mel Torme's vocal group, The
He owned all the Delius Society record sets, and would often
them for friends, including Torme.
KRUPA (Big Band Drummer)
Krupa was "a mad Delius fan, a real admirer, knew
We used to talk for hours about the varying moods of Delius..."
BUSH (Pop Vocalist and Recording Artist)
The innovative British pop singer Kate Bush wrote and recorded
song "Delius (Song of Summer)" in 1980. It appeared as a single
and also as a track on her album "Never for Ever". She had seen the Ken
Russell film "Song of Summer" and it made a strong impression on her.
lyrics of "Delius (Song of Summer)" refer to "summer night on
water", and also to Delius' dictation of music to Eric Fenby. Bush also
appeared on a BBC interview program along with Eric Fenby, where they
Delius and his music.
YouTube video of the song "Delius (Song of Summer)"
video of Kate Bush and Eric Fenby on The Russell Harty Show
Jeff included a track called "Delius" on his solo acoustic
CD "Lakeside Drive."
E-Mail Jeff Gower for
information about ordering the "Lakeside Drive" CD
AND THE BOSTON POPS
Film composer extraordinaire John Williams recorded "Brigg Fair" by Delius.
MOORE (Actor, Comedian, Musician)
Dudley Moore was best known for his talent as a comedian, but was
an accomplished and dedicated musician. He graduated with degrees in
and composition from Oxford. He performed many concerts of
and jazz piano music.
Here is the paragraph about Dudley's piano-playing in which Delius is
'Moore took a giant step in 1982 when he joined (violinist Robert) Mann
at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art for a concert of Bach, Mozart,
Bartók and Delius. A New York Times critic wrote that
"Mr. Moore neither advanced the cause of music nor caused himself one
moment of disgrace. All in all, he fought the concert stage to a draw."'
about that concert.
Dudley accompanied Robert Mann in Delius'
sympathy for Delius's charms ".
In an interview during his 1992 concert
of America, he said that his "fairly small" repertoire included
by Schumann, Bartok, Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and Delius.
Dudley Moore passed away on March 27, 2002.
In an audio documentary about the late and lamented Nick Drake,
Joe Boyd says that Nick mentioned Delius when describing to the
arranger what kind of string arrangement he wanted on his song "River
From the book "White Bicycles" by Joe Boyd
Leaves Left's final piece fell into place when (Robert) Kirby
announced that he was not up to 'River Man'. He had tried but
just couldn't manage what he knew Nick wanted and what the song
deserved. John Wood immediately suggested Harry Robinson, aka
Lord Rockingham. When rock'n'roll first invaded British
television with 6.5 Special, the resident band was Lord Rockingham's
Eleven. Harry had also been on the board of Island Records
in the early years but had sold his shares years before. As
a composer he had scored all those Hammer horror movies starring
vampires-in-chief Christopher Lee and Barabar Steele. After
telling us these colourful but irrelevant facts, John came to the
point: as an orchestrator, Harry was a master mimic. You
want Sibelius? He could give you Sibelius.
Since Nick wanted 'River Man' to sound like Delius, Harry, said John, was our man.
and I went to visit Robinson at his house hidden in the middle of
Barnes Common, just below the tree that was to kill Marc Bolan ten
years later. Having heard a tape, Harry was already intrigued
when we arrived. Nick played the song through, then
strummed chords as the tape played, showing Harry what textures he
wanted for the string parts. I had never heard him (Nick)
so articulate or so demanding. Harry made notes and
nodded. The result was a track which - next to the
Volkswagen ad's Pink Moon - is the most often played and
discussed of all Nick's songs. Whenever I saw Harry in
later years, he would talk about the day we recorded it, with Nick
surrounded by the orchestra, playing and singing while Harry conducted
- just like Nelson Riddle and Frank Sinatra.
listened carefully to Dylan, to Bert Jansch and Davey Graham, and to
genteel bluesmen like Josh White and Brownie McGhee.
He enjoyed Delius
and Chopin, Miles Davis and Django Reinhardt, and
read English poetry... But analyses of his influences have
difficulty explaining the originality of his music, particularly the
shape of his chords. When I visited the family home
in Tanworth-in-Arden, I saw a piano in the hall with music paper
scattered on top. His mother Molly, a wonderfully energetic
and funny woman, mentioned that she had written 'a few amateur
things.' Many years after Nick's and Molly's deaths, (Nick's
sister) Gabrielle gave me a tape of her mother's songs. There, in
her piano chords, are the roots of Nick's harmonies. His
reinvention of the standard guitar tuning was the only way to match the
music he heard as he was growing up. Molly's compositions
are of a period but very beautiful and not just because they foreshadow
Nick's. Perhaps the core of his musical nature was so
strong because his greatest influence had nothing to do with the world
outside his home.
From the book "Nick Drake: The Complete Guide To His Music" by Peter
Hogan (ISBN 1847721982):
...there are other influences audible as well that
are not usually found in folk music, such as modern jazz and baroque
and classical music (Nick was particularly fond of Delius and
Robert Kirby had struggled to come up with an
arrangement for 'River Man' that fitted Nick's aspirations for the
song, and had finally admitted defeat. Instead, Boyd
brought in veteran arranger and session man Harry Robinson, who had
once been a member of Lord Rockingham's Eleven and had also scored the
soundtrack music for number Hammer horror movies. Nick had wanted
the arrangement to be reminiscent of Delius, and
had very specific ideas about how the string passages should be
phrased, which he discussed with Robinson at length before the latter
('River Man') is also a strange blend of jazz and
classical influences (some see an influence of Ravel here, others see Delius) in
Nick Drake was featured on the cover of the March 2018 issue of MOJO
Magazine, and the issue included a 17-page article on Nick's life and
music. Delius is
mentioned twice in the article as being one of Nick's musical
(Click here to read the
WALKER (SCOTT ENGEL) of THE WALKER
In the video film "30 Century Man: Scott Walker" (executive
producer: David Bowie) is an interview with Angela Morley, the arranger
on Scott Walker's solo albums (1967-1970). Delius is mentioned during the
"I found this young man sitting on the floor, legs stretched out, with
a guitar, and sheets of paper with words on them, all over the carpet;
and as he strummed and sang his way through these things, from time to
time he would stop, and he would say, "I really hear Sibelius here", or
"here I hear Delius", or here
I hear all these classical composers that he was fond of, and somehow
he wanted that sound in the arrangements." (When Delius is mentioned, a photo of Delius from 1919 is seen on the
"We just thought he was different - we didn't realize he was kind of a
scout - the avant garde of what was to come."
"THE YEARLING" (1946 MOTION PICTURE)
The Hollywood arranger Herbert Stothart utilized selections from Delius'
Rawlings' 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Yearling".
The music is very appropriate for the setting of the story, which takes
place in the forests of Florida; the ambience of the river, plantation
life, and Florida itself had left indelible impressions upon Delius
that found musical expression in works such as "Florida", "Koanga", and
In 2006, Film Score Monthly released the extant soundtrack of "The
Yearling" on CD (Volume
9, No. 13).
An excerpt from the soundtrack is included on "The
Lion's Roar: M-G-M Film Scores 1935-1965" Turner Classic Movies
R2 75701 [157:16].
"DYNASTY" (Prime Time Television Program)
During the early 1980's, the "previews" segment at the conclusion of
many episodes of "Dynasty" featured on its soundtrack approximately 15
seconds of music lifted directly from the climactic moments of "A Walk
to the Paradise Garden" by Delius.
(long-running UK radio programme hosted by Roy Plomley)
Each celebrity guest is
asked to select 8 records that they
would wish to take with them if they were to be stranded on a desert
The following guests
selected a work by Delius.
(as documented in the book
"Desert Island Lists" by Roy Plomley with
Derek Drescher, ISBN 0091517613)
LIST OF THE CASTAWAYS WHO SELECTED A DELIUS WORK.
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