Leon Williams (baritone), The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, James K Bass, The Florida Orchestra, Stefan Sanderling (conductor)
Appalachia (a native American word for North America) is a set of variations based on a slave song about the tragedy of the cotton planters 'being sold down the river'. Delius heard the song when teaching the violin in Virginia, but the primary inspiration was his formative experience of the semi-tropical beauty of Florida's Solano Grove where he had managed an orange plantation. In Sea Drift Delius absorbed a further American influence in the nature mysticism of Walt Whitman. The symphonic poem, one of his greatest works, is a song of love and death in which the baritone soloist is both a participant in the drama and offers a commentary upon it.
Delius (arr. Beecham) Appalachia: Variations on an Old Slave Song, Sea Drift
Running Time: 1 hr
'This fine orchestra has a superb violinist leader...plus serious class in every department, the brass in particular. The choral singing, too, is exemplary in its firm-toned accuracy: Delius's tricky chromatic demands are sailed through with ease...the firepower and up-front honesty of [Leon Williams's] singing do real justice to a great solo part.' (BBC Music magazine)
'Sanderling's interpretation of [Appalachia] is sympathetic, especially in the protracted evocation of the dawn. The tempi are well chosen and the handling of Delius's poetic orchestration, not least in its richer Straussian garb, is nicely poised.' (Gramophone)
'The orchestra and chorus both perform superbly; it is nice to hear a really big choir sing this music...as Delius would have expected in his earlier performances.' (MusicWeb International)