Composer of the Week: Frederick Delius

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b. January 29, 1862 in Bradford, Yorkshire, England
d. June 10, 1934 Grez-sur-Loing, France

Born to German parents, Frederick Delius was born Fritz Albert Theodore Delius; he anglicized his name in the early 1900s.

Delius spent time apprenticing with his father, a wool distributor, before leaving for the United States to run an orange plantation in Florida. He spent a year-and-a-half there and was endlessly fascinated with the songs of the plantation workers he saw every day. While in Florida, he spent the majority of his time studying music theory and absorbing the local sounds and music. He went on to Virginia to teach music.

Delius later studied at the Leipzig Conservatory before moving to France, where he remained for the rest of his life.

This iconic composer drew his influences from many sources — the African American music he heard in the plantations, Nordic folk songs and Wagner were all included in the mix.

Delius managed to continue composing late into his years of being stricken with syphilis, largely due to the gracious help of young composer Eric Fenby, who agreed to work as a scribe for Delius.

And now for some awesome music by Frederick Delius!

The last movement of Florida Suite. So beautiful.

On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring.

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