Title graphic: Frederick Delius (1862 - 1934)
Delius: 1

A contemporary of Elgar, Frederick Theodore Albert Delius fell more deeply under Wagner's spell, drawing on his chromatic harmony and thematic continuity, although the example of Grieg, Delius' friend and mentor, helped somewhat to mitigate the Wagnerian influence. Delius drew inspiration from a relatively limited number of ideas, most notably nature and the transience of love.

In 1884 Delius' father, a German-born Bradford wool merchant, unable to interest his headstrong son in the family business, lent him sufficient money to emigrate and establish himself as an orange grower in Florida. Delius could now immerse himself in serious composition, and a chance encounter with Thomas Ward, a gifted musician who lived in nearby Jacksonville, led to a concentrated six-month course of tuition. Subsequent study at the Leipzig Conservatory (1886-7) was less beneficial, although Delius met Grieg, who persuaded Delius' father to support Delius while he found his feet as a composer in Paris. Friends with Gauguin, Munch and Strindberg, Delius led a bohemian existence for several years - he had already contracted syphilis. In 1897 he settled at Grez-sur-Loing, near Paris, together with the painter Jelka Rosen, whom he married in 1903, and lived there with few interruptions for the rest of his life.