Frederick Delius

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Frederick Albert Theodore Delius (29 January 1862 – 10 June 1934) was an English composer. He was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, but spent most of his life in Grez-sur-Loing, France. His work is characterised by chromaticism and extended melody, and the influence of African-American music, experienced during a youthful sojourn in Florida. Delius was an atheist, and an admirer of Nietzsche. He disliked most music, especially the classics, reserving some enthusiasm only for the works of Chopin, Wagner and Grieg.

Most of Delius's works are tone poems, like Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody or In a Summer Garden. He also wrote four concertos (for violin, cello, violin and cello together, and piano) and several rarely performed operas, one of which (A Village Romeo and Juliet) contains the well-known The Walk to the Paradise Garden. Another vocal work is Sea Drift, for baritone, chorus and orchestra, setting words by Whitman: with its tale of a bird whose mate goes missing, it is typical of the sense of loss and nostalgia which pervades Delius's music.

Towards the end of his life Delius, now living in Grez-sur-Loing in France, was unable to compose, having become blind and paralysed as a result of syphilis. A letter from an English admirer, Eric Fenby, led him to become the composer's amanuensis and enabled Delius to write down his music once more, during the few years before his death in 1934.