(Compiled by Bill Thompson)

Emotion is the flesh and the blood of music.  1

Nothing is so wonderful as elemental feeling; nothing is more wonderful in art than elemental feeling expressed intensely.  2

Music is a cry of the soul.   It is a revelation, a thing to be reverenced.  3

Music is an outburst of the soul.  It is addressed and should appeal instantly to the soul of the listener.  4

It is only that which cannot be expressed otherwise that is worth expressing in music.  5

The only way for any man to write music is to follow the line of his own feelings.  6

Always stick to your likings - there are profound reasons for them.  7

The real musical genius writes for no other purpose but to express his own soul, and in so doing finds life's greatest satisfaction and joy.  8

Give vent to the expression of your feelings in your own way, and you will eventually find it.  9

Music is a way of expressing one's feelings; and one ought to follow one's own inclinations entirely, otherwise one will never attain to any intensity of expression or emotion - the two essential things in music.  10

No composer whose chief idea is to be brilliant or startling ever lasts. Cleverness counts for very little, in my opinion.  11

I believe that harmony is entirely a matter of instinct.  12

In music, which ought to be the expression of emotion, only that which is based on emotion is capable of development, and nothing based on technique or on anything objective will develop into anything but mere intellectuality.  13

You can't make music out of theories. When a man has to write about his methods of composition you may be sure he has nothing to say.  14

Form is nothing more than imparting spiritual unity to one's thought. It is contained in the thought itself, not applied as something that already exists.  15

 (The Negroes) showed a truly wonderful sense of musicianship and harmonic resource in the instinctive way in which they treated a melody, and, hearing their singing in such romantic surroundings, it was then and there that I first felt the urge to express myself in music.  16


1)  A Delius Companion, Christopher Redwood, ed. (John Calder, 1980), p. 21 (Delius as quoted by Gerald Cumberland)

2)  Redwood, p. 22 (Delius letter to C.W. Orr)

3) Redwood, p. 38 (from "The Present Cult" essay by Delius)

4) Eric Fenby, Delius As I Knew Him (G. Bell & Sons, 1981), p. 197

5) Redwood, p. 39 (from "The Present Cult" essay by Delius)

6) Redwood, p. 42 (from "The Present Cult" essay by Delius)

7) Redwood, p. 61 (Delius letter to C.W. Orr)


9) Redwood, p. 58 (Delius letter to C. W. Orr)

10) Ibid., p. 58

11) Ibid., p. 58

12) Ibid., p.58

13) Ibid., p. 61

14) Ibid., p. 61

15) Fenby, p. 200

16) Philip Jones, The American Sources of Delius' Style (Garland, 1989), p. 164


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