Frederick Delius: Life and times in Bradford

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Homage To Delius

 

 

Homage to Delius


The words of another of Bradford's famous sons, J.B. Priestley, writing at the beginning of the 20th century, seem particularly appropriate when we consider the influence of Bradford on the young Delius:
"The Bradford years were the formative years...I was moulded and coloured, so to speak, by the West Riding, and more particularly by Bradford...The Bradford of those years was no ordinary city. Bradford, crouching in its smoky valleys, is, of course, a dingy city, but it has the good luck to be quite close to enchanting country, and when I lived there we all took advantage of our good luck, spending much of our free time roaming the dales and camping near the moors. So I grew up with two equally strong tastes: one for what is truly urban - for concerts and theatres and arts clubs and cafes to argue in; and the other for really grand, wild remote country, for salty winds, vast dark hills, stone walls vanishing into the clouds, springing larks and lonely curlews."

(J.B. Priestley - From The Preface To "Socialism Over Sixty Years", biography of Fred Jowett by Fenner Brockway, 1946)

Obituary of Delius from 'The Bradfordian'
This obituary appeared in July 1934 in
'The Bradfordian', the magazine of Bradford
Grammar School.


"Bradford had some unique features. To begin with, mixed with its solid Yorkshire dough, as a kind of leaven, it had a small but influential German-Jewish population, consisting of liberal refugees from Frankfurt and Leipzig and elsewhere, who came to Bradford to engage in the textile trade. They did us a lot of good, these newcomers with their passion for music and taste for other arts. I have always believed since that refugees do more good than harm; they enrich the mixture like Latakia in tobacco. Bradford men themselves were great travellers, for ever popping off to the continent, to Australia and South America. We might seem very provincial, but we had doors and windows open to the wide world...Bradford was considered the most progressive place in the United Kingdom. Our subscription concerts were famous; in addition we had our permanent symphony orchestra and two magnificent choral societies; we had two theatres, besides the music halls and concert party pavilions; a flourishing arts club; and three daily papers...I am prepared to bet that Bradford produced more well-known people - musicians, scientists, writers, performers and the like - than any other place anything like its size in the whole kingdom."

(J.B. Priestley - From The Preface To "Socialism Over Sixty Years", biography of Fred Jowett by Fenner Brockway, 1946)


Hiscott's sculpture 'Quatrefoil for Delius'

This sculpture in the form of two giant winter leaves, half decaying and skeletal and half still alive, expresses the composer's love of nature and recurrent interest in the themes of life, death and regeneration expressed through his music. Just as the music of Delius evokes an emotional response in the listener, so Amber Hiscott's 'Quatrefoil for Delius' encourages the participation of the viewer, not just to look, but also to walk through the 20 foot long tunnel created by the meeting of the two leaves. The sculpture is located in Exchange Square, Bradford. (Unveiled 25/11/93 by Councillor Bob Sowman, Lord Mayor of Bradford)