A CHRONOLOGICAL VIEW OF WESTERN MUSIC HISTORY IN THE CONTEXT OF WORLD EVENTS

Frederick Delius

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March 2, 1884: Two sons of successful Bradford businessmen, Fritz (Frederick) Delius (22) and Charles Douglas, sail from Liverpool for New York. Their intention is to travel to Florida to an orange grove on which Delius’ father has taken an option.
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August 30, 1886: Fritz (Frederick) Delius (24) is accepted as a student at Leipzig Conservatory.
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July 15, 1887: Fritz (Frederick) Delius (25) begins a diary of a walking tour of Norway. He falls in love with the country so much that he will write to Edvard Grieg (44) about his desire to live there eight months out of the year.
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December 24, 1887: Edvard Grieg (44) invites Fritz (Frederick) Delius (25), Christian Sinding, and Johan Halvorsen to his home in Leipzig for Christmas Eve. Although seriously intoxicated, the participants spend most of the evening playing music for each other. Delius plays his Norwegische Schlittenfahrt.
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April 11, 1888: Fritz (Frederick) Delius (26) returns to his home in Bradford from his studies at the Leipzig Conservatory.
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May 6, 1888: Fritz (Frederick) Delius (26) moves from Bradford to Paris, at first to live with his Uncle Theodor. Unknown to him, France will be his home for most of the rest of his life.
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January 17, 1889: A diploma is conferred on “Mr. Fritz Delius (26) of Bradford” by the Leipzig Conservatory. He actually completed his studies last Easter.
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June 20, 1889: Fritz (Frederick) Delius (27) departs France for a tour of Norway.
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October 10, 1891: Paa Vidderne (On the Mountains), a symphonic poem by Fritz (Frederick) Delius (29), is performed for the first time, in Christiania (Oslo).
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November 4, 1891: After the premiere of Paa Vidderne, Fritz (Frederick) Delius (29) departs Norway for Paris.
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February 11, 1895: Idylle de printemps for orchestra by Frederick Delius (33) is performed for the first time, in St. John’s, Smith Square, London.
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May 17, 1897: Helene “Jelka” Rosen, lover of Fritz (Frederick) Delius (35), buys a house at Grez-sur-Loing, France and moves in. Delius will move in next month. It will be his home for the rest of his life.
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October 18, 1897: Incidental music to Heiberg’s play Folkeraadet (People’s Council) by Fritz (Frederick) Delius (35) is performed for the first time, in Christiania Theatre, Christiania (Oslo). The audience is strongly divided and many whistles are heard as a result of Delius’ use of the Norwegian anthem. Demonstrations will occur at every performance of the play. See 1 November 1897.
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November 1, 1897: At the height of the demonstrations occurring at every performance of Folkeraadet in Christiania (Oslo) since 18 October, a man fires three shots (albeit blanks) at Per Winge as he conducts Frederick Delius’ (35) incidental music. The man is removed by police.
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November 4, 1897: Frederick Delius (35) removes his incidental music from subsequent performances of Folkeraadet in Christiania (Oslo). See 18 October 1897 and 1 November 1897.
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November 13, 1897: Over the Hills and Far Away, a fantasy overture by Fritz (Frederick) Delius (35), is performed for the first time, in the Elberfeld Stadthalle. The reviews go from mediocre to worse.
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April 20, 1899: Fritz (Frederick) Delius (37) arrives in London to begin the massive preparations for his all-Delius concert due to take place on 30 May.
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May 30, 1899: Several works by Fritz (Frederick) Delius (37) are performed for the first time, in an all-Delius night at St. James’ Hall, London: La ronde se déroule, a symphonic poem, Mitternachtslied Zarathustras for solo voice, male chorus, and orchestra to words of Nietzsche, Légende for violin and orchestra, excerpts from the lyric drama Koanga, and five of the Seven Danish Songs for voice and orchestra to words of Jacobsen and Drachmann. Reviews are mixed. See 16 March 1901 and 30 March 1904.
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March 16, 1901: Two of the Seven Danish Songs by Fritz (Frederick) Delius (39), to words of Jacobsen, for solo voice and orchestra are performed for the first time, by the Société National de Musique, Paris, conducted by Vincent d’Indy (49). See 30 May 1899.
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September 25, 1903: Frederick Delius (41) marries Jelka Rosen, a painter and daughter of a diplomat, in a civil ceremony in the Mairie of Grez-sur-Loing, France. They have lived together for six years. There are three witnesses, a carpenter, a gardener, and a cook. However the cook can not write, so only two sign the register. (The marriage certificate says 23 September but when Delius writes to Grieg to tell him about it, he says 25 September)
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January 21, 1904: Frederick Delius’ (41) tone poem Lebenstanz, a reworking of his earlier work La Ronde se déroule, is performed for the first time, in Düsseldorf.
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March 30, 1904: Koanga, a lyric drama by Frederick Delius (42) to words of Keary, after Cable, is staged for the first time in the Elberfeld Stadttheater. See 30 May 1899.
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October 15, 1904: Appalachia: Variations on an Old Slave Song for solo voice, chorus, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (42) to anonymous words, is performed for the first time, in the Elberfeld Stadthalle. Reviews are generally positive.
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October 24, 1904: The Piano Concerto in c minor by Frederick Delius (42) is performed for the first time, in the Elberfeld Stadthalle. See 22 October 1907.
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May 24, 1906: Sea Drift, for baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (44) to words of Whitman, is performed for the first time, in Essen.
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February 21, 1907: A Village Romeo and Juliet, a lyric drama by Frederick Delius (45) to words of Keary after Keller, is performed for the first time, at the Komische Oper, Berlin.
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April 15, 1907: At dinner in the London home of Henry Balfour Gardiner, Frederick Delius (45) meets Percy Grainger (24) for the first time.
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October 22, 1907: The Piano Concerto in c minor by Frederick Delius (45), reworked into one movement, is given its first performance, in Queen’s Hall, London. See 24 October 1904.
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October 24, 1907: After hearing his Piano Concerto, Ralph Vaughan Williams (35) writes to Frederick Delius (45) in London, asking to show him some scores and for advice. Delius will be of great help to him.
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January 18, 1908: Brigg Fair, an orchestral work by Frederick Delius (45), is performed for the first time, in Liverpool, conducted by Granville Bantock (39).
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March 21, 1908: Three songs by Frederick Delius (46) for solo voice and orchestra are premiered in Liverpool. They are Twighlight Fancies, to words of Bjørnson, The Bird’s Story, to words of Ibsen, and The Violet, to words of Holstein.
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March 23, 1908: A letter to The Times of London announces the formation of The Musical League to promote the exchange of ideas among composers and musicians, and hold an annual festival. The president is Edward Elgar (50), the vice president is Frederick Delius (46). Other members include Granville Bantock (39) and Alexander Mackenzie.
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April 10, 1908: The first meeting of The Musical League takes place in Birmingham. It is chaired by the vice president, Frederick Delius (46). 79 members are present.
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June 4, 1908: A Mass of Life, for soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra, by Frederick Delius (46) to words of Nietzsche, is performed for the first time, in its incomplete form, in Munich. The press is generally positive but a few are scathing. See 7 June 1909.
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December 11, 1908: The symphonic poem In a Summer Garden, by Frederick Delius (46), is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London, conducted by the composer. The audience is warmly appreciative. The reviewers are not impressed.
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June 7, 1909: The first complete performance of A Mass of Life for soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone soloists, chorus, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (47) to words of Nietzsche, takes place in Queen’s Hall, London. See 4 June 1908.
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September 8, 1909: Dance Rhapsody no.1 for orchestra by Frederick Delius (47) is performed for the first time, in Shire Hall, Hereford, conducted by the composer.
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September 24, 1909: The first festival of The Musical League takes place in Liverpool today and tomorrow. It features music by English composers including Ethel Smyth (51), Frederick Delius (47), Ralph Vaughan Williams (36), Frank Bridge (30), Percy Grainger (27), and Arnold Bax (25).
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June 16, 1911: Songs of Sunset, for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (49) to words of Dowson, is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London. Reviews are generally good. In attendance is the composer, with Granville Bantock (42).
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January 22, 1912: Frederick Delius (49) sells his Florida plantation Solana Grove.
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November 15, 1912: A second revision of the tone poem Lebenstanz by Frederick Delius (50) is performed for the first time, in Berlin. See 30 May 1899 and 21 January 1904.
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October 23, 1913: Two small pieces for orchestra, On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring and Summer Night on the River, by Frederick Delius (51) are performed for the first time, in the Leipzig Gewandhaus.
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August 30, 1914: Percy Grainger (32) writes to Frederick Delius (52) in France, urging him and his wife to come to England for safety.
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January 25, 1915: Two Songs and La lune blanche, both for solo voice and orchestra by Frederick Delius (52) to words of Verlaine, are performed for the first time, at Grafton Galleries.
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February 24, 1915: The Violin Sonata no.1 of Frederick Delius (53) is performed for the first time, in Houldsworth Hall, Manchester.
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May 10, 1915: North Country Sketches for orchestra by Frederick Delius (53) is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London.
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July 6, 1915: On doctor’s advice, Frederick Delius (53) and his wife depart England for Bergen, Norway.
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November 20, 1915: After spending some time in Norway and traveling back through Denmark and London, Frederick Delius (53) and his wife return to their home at Grez-sur-Loing, France. He has resolved to remain there through the duration of the war.
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November 17, 1916: The original version of Frederick Delius’ (54) String Quartet is performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, London. See 1 February 1919.
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July 6, 1917: On doctor’s orders, Frederick Delius (55) leaves his home in Grez-sur-Loing for a spa in Normandy. He can barely walk.
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December 29, 1917: Frederick Delius (55) writes that he and his wife have decided to return to England from their home in France. It is a particularly brutal winter and coal is no longer available.
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June 5, 1918: Frederick Delius (56) and his wife arrive in Biarritz from their home at Grez-sur-Loing. Here he will take the baths and compose.
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June 20, 1918: Frederick Delius (56) writes from Biarritz that his home in Grez-sur-Loing has been requisitioned and occupied by the French army.
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August 21, 1918: Frederick Delius (56) writes from Grez-sur-Loing that upon arriving from Biarritz he and his wife found their home trashed by the French army during their occupation of it. They plan to depart soon for England.
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October 31, 1918: Cello Sonata by Frederick Delius (56) is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London.
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January 11, 1919: Eventyr, a ballad for orchestra by Frederick Delius (56), is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London. The composer is very happy with it, as are the critics.
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January 30, 1919: The Violin Concerto of Frederick Delius (57) is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London.
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October 21, 1919: Fennimore and Gerda, an opera by Frederick Delius (57) to his own words after Jacobsen, is performed for the first time, at the Opernhaus, Frankfurt-am-Main. It is a success, and Delius is called to the stage several times.
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February 21, 1920: Double Concerto for violin, cello, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (58) is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London.
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February 26, 1920: The Song of the High Hills for textless chorus and orchestra by Frederick Delius (58) is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London. Delius receives the best reviews he will ever enjoy.
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May 28, 1920: An Arabesque for baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (58) to words of Jacobsen is performed for the first time, in Central Hall, Newport, Monmouthshire.
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June 28, 1921: To Be Sung of a Summer Night on the Water, two songs by Frederick Delius (59) for textless chorus, is performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, London.
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March 23, 1922: A Requiem for soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (60) to words of Simon, is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London. Critics are largely disappointed.
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May 18, 1922: Renard, a burlesque in song and dance by Igor Stravinsky (39) to his own scenario after Afanasyev, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. A party afterwards, organized by Sydney and Violet Schiff, is attended by Stravinsky, Sergey Diaghilev, Pablo Picasso, TS Eliot, Edith Sitwell, Frederick Delius (60), Marcel Proust, and James Joyce.
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January 31, 1923: A Cello Concerto by Frederick Delius (61) is performed for the first time, in Vienna. It is the last music written by Delius with his own hand.
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June 1, 1923: Incidental music to Flecker’s play Hassan by Frederick Delius (61) is performed for the first time, in the Hessische Landes-Theater, Darmstadt.
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July 28, 1923: Percy Grainger (41) strings a chair between two poles, and with the help of a Norwegian friend, carries Frederick Delius (61) up the mountain Hovdalien, near Delius’ home in Lesjaskog, Norway. Delius wants to see a mountain sunset before he becomes totally blind. He is not disappointed.
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September 19, 1923: A Song Before Sunrise for small orchestra by Frederick Delius (61) is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London.
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October 20, 1923: A Dance Rhapsody no.2 by Frederick Delius (61) is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London.
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June 17, 1924: The Splendour Falls on the Castle Walls, a work for chorus by Frederick Delius (62) to words of Tennyson, is performed for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, London.
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September 4, 1924: Three Preludes for piano by Frederick Delius (62) are performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC originating in London.
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October 7, 1924: The Second Violin Sonata by Frederick Delius (62) is performed for the first time, in Westminster.
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September 5, 1925: Jelka Delius writes from Grez-sur-Loing that “our neighbour Brooks has a fine wireless now. Should there be anything of special interest, please let us know and we can get Fred to hear it there.” Delius (63) is now too weak to travel to live performances.
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August 9, 1927: Nadia Boulanger (39) and three of her students visit Frederick Delius (65) at his home in Grez-sur-Loing. They play some of their compositions for him and pay him homage.
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October 10, 1928: A young musician named Eric Fenby arrives at the home of Frederick Delius (66) at Grez-sur-Loing to serve as secretary to the composer, who is near paralysis. Together they will complete many of Delius’ unfinished works.
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March 1, 1929: By decree of King George V, Frederick Delius (67) is made a Companion of Honor.
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April 21, 1929: Neville Henderson, British Minister in Paris, travels to Grez-sur-Loing and invests Frederick Delius (67) with the Companion of Honour.
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October 9, 1929: Frederick Delius (67) and his wife arrive in London for a Delius festival organized by Thomas Beecham and Philip Heseltine. They will stay three weeks and he will receive acclaim never before afforded him.
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October 12, 1929: A Late Lark for tenor and orchestra by Frederick Delius (67) to words of Henley is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London.
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October 16, 1929: Air and Dance for string orchestra by Frederick Delius (67) is performed publicly for the first time, in Aeolian Hall, London.
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October 18, 1929: Cynara for baritone and orchestra by Frederick Delius (67) to words of Dowson is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London.
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November 1, 1929: The Delius (67) Festival concludes in London with a performance of A Mass of Life. The composer and his wife will leave shortly for home at Grez-sur-Loing.
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November 6, 1930: Violin Sonata no.3 by Frederick Delius (68) is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London. Arnold Bax (47) is at the piano.
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April 23, 1931: Caprice & Elegy for cello and chamber orchestra by Frederick Delius (69) is performed for the first time, in Wigmore Hall, London.
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September 17, 1931: A Song of Summer for orchestra by Frederick Delius (69) is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London. The work was dictated by the blind and ailing composer. The concert is broadcast, allowing Delius to hear it at his home in France.
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March 21, 1932: Songs of Farewell, for chorus and orchestra by Frederick Delius (70) to words of Whitman, is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London. The press is generally positive.
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July 23, 1932: The Lord Mayor and Town Clerk of Bradford arrive at Grez-sur-Loing and confer on Frederick Delius (70) the title of Honorary Freeman of the City of Bradford (his birthplace).
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October 25, 1932: Duke Ellington (33) and his Orchestra play for a class in music appreciation at New York University taught by Percy Grainger (50). Wallingford Riegger (47) is also present. Grainger favorably compares Ellington’s melodies with those of Frederick Delius (70) and Johann Sebastian Bach (†182). Ellington remarks “I’ll have to find out about this Delius.”
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May 30, 1933: Edward Elgar (75) visits Frederick Delius (71) at his home in Grez-sur-Loing, France. The two have been estranged for many years, but now come together as friends late in their lives.
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August 1, 1933: An orchestral suite from incidental music to Flecker’s play Hassan by Frederick Delius (71) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC. See 20 September 1933.
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October 3, 1933: Idyll: Once I Passed Through a Populous City, for soprano, baritone, and orchestra by Frederick Delius (71) to words of Whitman, is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London.
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January 12, 1934: Fantastic Dance for orchestra by Frederick Delius (71) is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London. Presently bedridden in his home in France, Delius is able to hear the concert on the radio. Also premiered is Legend for piano and orchestra by John Ireland (54).
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June 10, 1934: 04:00 Frederick Delius dies of syphilis at his home at 95 rue Wilson in Grez-sur-Loing, near Fontainebleau, Republic of France, aged 72 years, four months, and 13 days. In less than four months, Great Britain has lost three of its most important composers: Edward Elgar (23 February), Gustav Holst (25 May) and Frederick Delius (10 June).
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June 12, 1934: The mortal remains of Frederick Delius are temporarily interred in the cemetery of Grez-sur-Loing, France. See 26 May 1935.
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May 26, 1935: The earthly remains of Frederick Delius (†0), having been exhumed from their resting place at Grez-sur-Loing, are reinterred in St. Peter’s Churchyard in Limpsfield, Surrey. About 1,000 people witness the ceremony. Mrs. Delius is too ill to attend the ceremony and will die on 28 May in Kensington.
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September 23, 1935: Irmelin Prelude for orchestra by Frederick Delius (†1) is performed for the first time, as an interlude in Act III of the composer’s lyric drama Koanga, at Covent Garden, London.
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April 1, 1937: Flourish for a Coronation for chorus and orchestra by Ralph Vaughan Williams (64) to words of various authors is performed for the first time, in Queen’s Hall, London. On the same program, Frederick Delius’ (†2) orchestra suite Florida (omitting no.2) is performed publicly for the first time. The work was performed privately in 1888.
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November 18, 1946: Three small tone poems, Summer Evening, Winter Night, and Spring Morning by Frederick Delius (†12) are performed for the first time, in Central Hall, Westminster, 56 years after they were composed.
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November 21, 1946: March Caprice by Frederick Delius (†12) from the Suite de Trois morceaux caracteristiques for orchestra is performed for the first time, in Central Hall, Westminster 56 years after it was composed. Also premiered is Delius’ I-Brasil for voice and orchestra or piano to words of Sharp.
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May 4, 1953: Irmelin, an opera by Frederick Delius (†18) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in New Theatre, Oxford, 61 years after it was composed.
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April 12, 1958: A Violin Sonata in B by Frederick Delius (†23) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC, 66 years after he composed it.
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January 11, 1974: Two choral works by Frederick Delius (†39) are performed for the first time, in St. John’s, Smith Square, London: Durch den Wald to words of von Schreck, and Sonnenscheinlied to words of Bjørnsen, over 85 years after they were composed. See 10 June 1992.
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June 22, 1976: A Romance for cello and piano by Frederick Delius (†42) is performed for the first time, in Helsinki, 80 years after it was composed.
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June 25, 1977: Frühlingsanbruch, a song for chorus by Frederick Delius (†43) to words of Björnson, is performed for the first time, in Nottingham.
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July 30, 1977: The Magic Fountain, a lyric drama by Frederick Delius (†43) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in a concert setting, at the Golders Green Hippodrome, North London, 82 years after it was completed by the composer. See 22 June 1997.
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May 13, 1978: Petite suite d’orchestre by Frederick Delius (†43) is performed for the first time, in the Stratford-upon-Avon College of Further Education, 88 years after it was composed.
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February 21, 1982: Margot le Rouge, a lyric drama by Frederick Delius (†48) to words of Gaston-Danville, is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC, 80 years after it was composed. See 8 June 1983.
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May 17, 1983: Paa Vidderne for reciter and orchestra by Frederick Delius (†48) to words of Ibsen is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of Norwegian television, 95 years after it was composed.
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June 8, 1983: Margot le Rouge, a lyric drama by Frederick Delius (†48) to words of Gaston-Danville, is staged for the first time, at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, 81 years after it was composed. See 21 February 1982.
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January 13, 1984: Part of Frederick Delius’ (†49) incomplete tone poem Hiawatha is performed for the first time, over Norwegian television as part of the film From the High Solitudes, 96 years after it was composed. See 23 May 2009.
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February 28, 1984: Suite for violin and orchestra by Frederick Delius (†49) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC, 96 years after it was composed.
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December 10, 1986: Appalachia: An American Rhapsody for orchestra by Frederick Delius (†52) is performed for the first time, in Royal Festival Hall, London 90 years after it was composed.
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June 19, 1987: Sakuntala for tenor and orchestra by Frederick Delius (†53) to words of Drachmann is performed for the first time, at the University of York 98 years after it was composed.
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June 10, 1992: The Six Partsongs by Frederick Delius to words of Reinick, Geibel, Bjørnson, Andersen, and Ibsen are performed completely for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC, on the 58th anniversary of his death. See 11 January 1974.
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August 23, 1995: Two works for orchestra by Frederick Delius (†61) are performed for the first time, in Great Hall of Leeds University: La Quadroone, composed in 1889, and Scherzo, composed in 1890.
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June 22, 1997: The Magic Fountain, a lyric drama by Frederick Delius (†63) to his own words, is staged for the first time, at the Kiel Opernhaus, 102 years after it was composed. See 20 November 1977.
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March 9, 1999: Poem of Love and Life for orchestra by Frederick Delius (†64) is performed for the first time, over the airwaves of the BBC, 81 years after it was composed.
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May 23, 2009: Hiawatha, a tone poem by Frederick Delius (†74), is performed for the first time, in Dorchester, 121 years after it was composed. See 13 January 1984.