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The Painter of Music | Frederick Delius

Classical Academy | Composers20th Century Period

It is often said of Frederick Delius that his compositional style is much closer to painting. His latest stylistic developments, in particular is rejection of conventional forms, appear more like the artistic touch of an oil-soaked brush on canvas. The pieces that Delius composed in these later years sounds like the musical expression of Pointillism, that captivating painting technique adopted by such artists as Georges Seurat where lots of small dots in vibrant colours combined to form the image.


It is interesting, then, that Delius is compared to Impressionist composer Claude Debussy. His French contemporary may have exerted a formative influence on the Englishman. Delius scholar Christopher Palmer remarks on the most 'Debussian' moment of all of Delius' oeuvre, which he feels comes at the opening to Brigg Fair. The tune for that very piece was brought to Delius' attention by the young Percy Grainger.


Listen to Brigg Fair on this beautiful recording of works by Delius and listen to how he paints with tonal colours.


Find out more about Debussy's music with our feature article on his Children's Corner.