The Choral Music of Frederick Delius (1862-1934) and its Influence on the Choral Music of Early Twentieth-Century British Composers
Strommen Campbell, Jonathan Daniel
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The composer Frederick Delius wrote a large body of choral music including choral/orchestral works and part songs. This body of choral music had an important influence on the younger generation of British choral composers, including Philip Heseltine (Peter Warlock) (1894-1930), E. J. Moeran (1894-1950), Constant Lambert (1905-1951), and Patrick Hadley (1899-1973). To date, only one dissertation in the United States has been devoted to the choral music of Delius. While several books have been published on Heseltine (Warlock), the others—Moeran, Lambert, and Hadley—are underrepresented in scholarly choral literature. In his book Delius: Portrait of a Cosmopolitan (1976), Christopher Palmer details the extent to which Delius influenced this younger generation of composers. While Palmer examines some of the choral music of Delius and his followers in varying degrees of detail, other important choral works of Delius and his followers are absent from his discussion. Besides Donald Caldwell’s dissertation (1975), there is no recent study of Delius’s complete body of choral music. Moreover, the larger extent to which Delius influenced the next generation of British choral composers has not been satisfactorily researched. This thesis seeks to address this paucity. Some works, such as Moeran’s Nocturne (1935), show an explicit imprint of Delius. Others, such as Hadley’s The Hills (1944) and Lambert’s The Rio Grande (1927), show a more complex convergence of influences, including those of Delius. This study critically examines every choral work of Delius in an effort to make his music better understood and more accessible. In addition to investigating the influence of Delius on the choral music of Moeran, Lambert, and Hadley, this thesis also provides exposure to choral works which merit broader representation in the performing repertoire. By examining the music and composers whom Delius influenced most, it is hoped that more of this choral repertoire will be performed and shared with audiences.