A quest for innocence : the music of Frederick Delius 1885-1900
In this study a close examination of all the music of Delius's first fifteen years of creative work is undertaken for the first time. The author's aim has been to assess the intrinsic qualities of Deliusts compositions in this period while tracing through the works the stages by which his mature style emerged. Much of the music examined is unpublished. The findings of this research add to the existing body of literature on the development of Delius's style in three principal ways: (1). It is shown that even in his earliest works) the composer drew upon personal experiences which had made strong impressions on him as the primary source of his inspiration. Negro folk music heard in Florida, played a very significant role in his development. His impressions of mountain nature and sunsets are also important. (2). The influence of other composers is assessed. Although it is known that ChopinjWagner and Grieg contributed to Delius's technique and style (he freely acknowledged his debt to them), the extent and importance of this influence in releasing and guiding his musical imagination is examined here for the first time. The less well known influence of Richard Strauss is also considered significant. (3). A large proportion of Delius's music in the 1890s was connected with the twin concepts of longing and innocence* It is with his merging of the two concepts into one around the turn of the century that the period of his finest work commences.