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69 Paradise Garden 1 - A Walk to the by Drawings by Norman Neasom (1915 - 2010)

69 Paradise Garden 1 - A Walk to the by Drawings by Norman Neasom (1915 - 2010)

Walk to the Paradise Garden

Ink Drawing - Initialed NN

Image: 140mm x 140mm - Framed 285mm x 265mm

Companion with "Inside the Paradise Garden"

Those who knew Norman and visited him regularly would note the radio was always playing classical music from where much of his inspiration came and none more so than from Delius’s musical paintings.

Delius's first orchestral compositions were, in Christopher Palmer's words, the work of "an insipid if charming water-colourist". The Florida Suite (1887, revised 1889) is "an expertly crafted synthesis of Grieg and Negroid Americana", while Delius's first opera Irmelin (1890–92) lacks any identifiably Delian passages. Its harmony and modulation are conventional, and the work bears the clear fingerprints of Wagner and Grieg. Payne asserts that none of the works prior to 1895 are of lasting interest.

The first noticeable stylistic advance is evident in Koanga (1895–97), with richer chords and faster harmonic rhythms; here we find Delius "feeling his way towards the vein that he was soon to tap so surely". In Paris (1899), the orchestration owes a debt to Richard Strauss; its passages of quiet beauty, says Payne, nevertheless lack the deep personal involvement of the later works. Paris, the final work of Delius's apprentice years, is described by Foss as "one of the most complete, if not the greatest, of Delius's musical paintings".

In each of the major works written in the years after Paris, Delius combined orchestral and vocal forces. The first of these works was A Village Romeo and Juliet, a music drama which departs from the normal operatic structure of acts and scenes and tells its story of tragic love in a series of tableaux.

Musically it shows a considerable advance in style from the early operas of the apprentice years. The entr'acte known as "The Walk to the Paradise Garden" is described by Heseltine as showing "all the tragic beauty of mortality ... concentrated and poured forth in music of overwhelming, almost intolerable poignancy".

In this work Delius begins to achieve the texture of sound that would characterise all his later compositions. Delius's music is often assumed to lack melody and form. Cardus argues that melody, while not a primary factor, is there abundantly, "floating and weaving itself into the texture of shifting harmony" – a characteristic which Cardus believes is shared only by Debussy.

This work is in a private collection

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