TCS: Music Wrapped in Mystery

Good Morning!


Welcome to The Coffee Shop, just for you early risers on Monday mornings. This is an Open Thread forum, so if you have an off-topic opinion burning a hole in your brainpan, feel free to add a comment.



“. . . a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma . . .”

— Winston Churchill
(speaking of something absolutely
unrelated to today’s topic)



To say that Britain produced a large number of eccentrics in the 19th and early 20th century is something of an understatement. One of them was the composer Frederick Delius (1862-1934).

Note — the documentary that follows is much longer than most of you will have time for, and the music may not be to your taste, but I have been listening obsessively to Delius the past few days. His music expands whatever space I am in, and allows me to breathe. It is utterly at odds with the man himself. Delius was completely, ruthlessly selfish, particularly horrible to women, and he was often nasty to men who were loyal friends he did nothing to deserve.

The BBC documentary explains some of his behavior, but certainly not all of it. I think the ‘Lover’ in the title is a real misnomer — Delius seems never to have loved anyone, certainly no woman. He only used them — a great many of them — for which he paid dearly when he contracted syphilis.

There are no women commentators in this documentary, but there are a number of women singers and musicians — I wish some of them had been interviewed about what it is like to perform Delius. The commentators they do have provide quite a range of thoughts and reactions.



My husband and I first came across his music while looking for a copy of Sir Thomas Beecham conducting Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, and found several recordings of Beecham conducting Delius in the same bin. We were curious enough to buy one of the cassette tapes which was on sale. Beecham is another appalling egotist, but he became the greatest (unrelenting) champion of Delius — probably because he hated Elgar!

But if you put aside all the giant egos, and just listen to the music, you may find it as lovely and uplifting as I do when I am in sore need of more space and some natural beauty, both within my head and around me.

Here are some much shorter examples for those who have don’t have time for the documentary:




It’s National Lighthouse Day, among several other possibilities, but this one is the least awkward with the music. May your Monday be full of Marvels.

About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband and a bewildered Border Collie.
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