Koanga (includes La Calinda)
Frederick Delius


Listen to this piece at composed.com now

The second of 3 entries for Delius in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This has featured in 16 of the 20th Hall of Fame countdowns and reached its highest position of 177 in 2001.

An opera? By Delius? They might not be his most famous works, but the French composer actually wrote three operas: Fennimore and Gerda, Koanga, and his better known masterpiece, A Village Romeo and Juliet.

Koanga, written between 1896 and 1897, is one of the first European operas to base its musical material on African-American music. It tells the tale of Koanga, an African Prince and Voodoo Priest, living on a Mississippi River plantation in Louisiana. Anyone expecting the lush strains of the British countryside so often embodied in Delius' music might be forced to think again: look out for dark magic, slavery, and tragedy in this most unusual composition.