Evening Masterwork: Delius’ Florida Suite

Homosassa, Florida. Painting by Winslow Homer, 1904

Florida Suite by Frederick Delius

Evening Masterwork for November 6, 2019 – 7:00 PM on Classical WSMR 89.1 and 103.9

Frederick Delius spent some time in Florida, and he composed his Florida Suite in 1886 while working on an orange plantation not far from Jacksonville. Delius actually only heard the work once in his lifetime, in 1888 at a rehearsal of a military orchestra, and that one public hearing would cost the young composer. The composer recounted that the price of the 2 hour rehearsal would be “a barrel of beer for the orchestra.” Although a student work, it is a masterpiece nonetheless, and there are some hallmark Delius characteristics to the piece: the orchestration at the start and end of each movement lends itself to a “sunset and sunrise” quality.