A Mass of Life* • Prelude and Idyll Janice Watson, soprano • Catherine Wyn-Rogers, mezzo-soprano* Andrew Kennedy, tenor* • Alan Opie, baritone The Bach Choir* • Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra • David Hill
Long an admirer of Nietzsche’s poetry, Frederick Delius composed A Mass of Life while at the height of his powers, blending passages from Also Sprach Zarathustra into orchestral textures of great expressive depth and striking beauty. Written in his final years, the Prelude and Idyll sourced music from a long discarded opera, transforming a story of lust and vengeance into one which emphasizes the transience of life and love.
David Hill’s previous BSO recordings include a “perfectly judged” Dies natalis by Gerald Finzi (The Guardian on 8.570417), while his Vaughan Williams Sancta Civitas (8.572424) was described as “thrilling… a great case for a neglected work”. (Classic FM)
Delius’s A Mass of Life is known through some classic recordings but has yet to be given a new lease of life in the 21st century. The Idyll is hardly to be found anywhere on a modern recording, an aspect of this new release which will encourage sales.
Renowned for his fine musicianship, David Hill is widely respected as both a choral and an orchestral conductor. He became The Bach Choir’s ninth Musical Director in 1998; he is also Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers and Associate Guest Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.