If anybody is, then Zoltán Kocsis is truly a musical artist in the Renaissance sense: he explores ever greater areas of his profession, and takes possession of new realms. Initially, we looked on with incomprehension, asking why as a pianist of genius, he did not devote himself exclusively to his instrument. Why was he dissipating his creative energies is so many fields: teaching, conducting, writing essays, creating concert programs, forming societies and building an orchestra – and of course, there was his composition as well. But these days, we really have to acknowledge that with Kocsis, this is not some sporting achievement, but utilising the Wagnerian term – a kind of “Gesamtkunstwerk” activity.
29th January 2012 sees the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Frederick Delius. To celebrate this occasion, Decca will release, on 24th January 2012, a special 8CD Commemorative Special Edition Box Set, containing many of the greatest Delius recordings on Decca, featuring a great cast of artists and performers, including Thomas Hampson, Julian Lloyd Webber, the Fitzwilliam Quartet, London Symphony Orchestra, Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sir Neville Marriner & Sir Charles Mackerras.
A comprehensive and richly varied Delius programme has been put together for this 2-CD collection. Vernon Handley's splendid Ulster performance of the comparatively rarely heard Florida Suite is complemented with, among others, North Country Sketches, a work which reveals a Debussyan influence.