Building a Library–Delius: Sea Drift
BBC Radio 3, Saturday 5 March, c. 9.30am
As part of Radio 3’s weekly Saturday morning Record Review slot, Daniel Grimley presents Building a Library on Delius’s Sea-Drift, his 1904 setting of Walt Whitman’s poem ‘Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking’. Premiered in Germany in 1906, and then first performed in England at the 1908 Sheffield Festival, the piece has since been one of Delius’s most popular and widely recorded works. Grimley compares over a dozen different interpretations of the piece, from Thomas Beecham’s historic 1928 recording to more recent accounts by Stefan Sanderling and Bo Holten. Featured soloists include John Shirley-Quirk, Thomas Hampson, and Bryn Terfel. As Grimley discovers, Sea-Drift has invited a very broad range of responses, prompting pressing questions of realisation and interpretation. Discussing the choice of final recommendation, however, affirms Sea-Drift’s place among Delius’s most powerful and compelling achievements.