Music: Missionary to the English

The world's No. i admirer of the music of English Composer Frederick Delius (1862-1934) is crusty Sir Thomas Beecham, founder of a society in Delius' honor, conductor of most of the available recordings of the composer. He once (in 1934) called the career of Delius "the greatest and most far-reaching incident in music during the last 50 years," and he meant every word of it.

Still crusading last week, Sir Thomas took his famed Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to Oxford's New Theater for the world premiere of Delius' 61-year-old opera, Irmelin. For four hours, the...

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