{ subscribe_url:'/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/nls-music-notes.php' }

A Miniaturist and More

For many music lovers, the end of January brings to mind two birthdays: Mozart’s on the 27th, and Schubert’s on the 31st. Could a composer born between these two giants, end up being overlooked? Perhaps. It was while preparing my blog about the Viking Opera Guide (BRM29585) that I learned that the 29th of January is the birthday of Frederick Delius.

Born in Yorkshire, England in 1862, Delius studied piano and violin. But, as often happens with young musicians, he soon learned that his father had other plans. In 1884, he was sent to Florida to manage an orange plantation; he spent all of his time studying and teaching music (while the oranges withered away). Some of the African-American melodies he heard eventually found their way into his Florida Suite and Appalachia.

In 1886 his father relented, and allowed him to study at the Leipzig Conservatory. During this time he became acquainted with the music of Wagner, Sinding and Grieg.

Eventually Delius married the German artist Jelka Rosen, and they settled near Fontainebleau. There he composed many orchestral, choral and chamber works, using an impressionistic style based on post-Wagnerian harmonies.

Portrait of Frederick Delius by his wife Jelka Rosen. Published in 1912. Public domain.

Portrait of Frederick Delius by his wife Jelka Rosen. Published in 1912. Public domain.

By 1925 Delius was blind and nearly paralyzed, but with the assistance of a young composer named Eric Fenby, he was able to complete several compositions before his death in 1934.

To sample the Delius sound, check out Pioneers of Impressionism (DBM00063). You can borrow the cartridge, or download it from BARD.

Following are a few Delius titles from our braille collection:
Air and Dance, arranged for piano by Eric Fenby (BRM02836 or BRM12635)

Five Lieder for High Voice and Piano (BRM01219)

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring [a favorite of my wife Lisa and mine] (BRM32515). It is also in Enjoying Music, by Roy Bennett (BRM28339). In both books this piece for small orchestra is arranged for piano.

Three Preludes for Piano (BRM06083)

And what about opera? The Viking Book of Opera’s article on Delius includes information on Irmelin (1890-92), Magic Fountain (1894-95), Koanga (1895-97), as well as A Village Romeo and Juliet (1899-1901). A two-piano arrangement of “La Calinda” from Koanga may be found at BRM22294. This list of stage works suggests that there is much music by Delius waiting to be discovered.

Newest BARD Additions

Since we are on a roll talking about BARD, I thought it would be good to highlight some of the new (or newly digitized) titles that we’ve uploaded to BARD over the past few weeks. Talking Books Uncle Dave Macon (DBM03766) This is a look at “Uncle Dave” Macon (also known as “The Dixie Dewdrop) and […]

BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download)

Recently, I’ve been dismayed to hear some patrons say, “I know you don’t have such and such in your collection because I already checked on BARD.” After receiving a few of these comments, I realized that some of our patrons mistakenly believe that our entire collection is available on BARD.  I would like to use […]

What A Great Service!

I heard these words a lot this past weekend. That’s because the NLS Music Section made its way to the NAfME (National Association for Music Education) conference in Grapevine, TX. While there, I was able to promote our service to music teachers from all over the country—and some future music teachers too! The refrain I kept […]

More Than Bossa Nova (But We Have That Too)!

Tomorrow’s opening ceremony kicks off the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A tradition for 120 years, this is the first time that the event will be held in a South American country. In celebration of this historic event, and as a representation of just how international the NLS Music Section is, this blog […]

Golden Days of Yesteryear

My attention recently was called to a very historic event; on June 2, 1896, Guglielmo Marconi applied to patent the radio. When we think of Marconi as the inventor of the radio, it is easily overshadowed by contemporary inventors of computers, 3-D printing, and copy machines. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have […]

A Trip Around the World with the NLS Music Section

Do you want to learn how to play piano? We have a book for you! Do you want the libretto for your favorite opera? We have that as well! Do you want to learn about folk music from around the world? Well, we also have books about that. Many patrons get to know us through […]

Rock n’ Roll Radio

With the recent passing of musician David Bowie, his hits and wide-ranging career have been brought to the center of our minds once again. His ever-changing persona and music have made him a rock and pop icon, from “Life on Mars” to his latest single, “Lazarus.” Many years before David Bowie was on our radio, […]