'Florida Suite' Composed in 1887. This is the earliest surviving orchestral
work of Delius. Never published in his lifetime, nor
performed. FP in 1937 under Sir Thomas Beecham. "By The River" is a programmatic
picture of Lake Okeechobee, the gateway to the Everglades. It was inspired by the days Delius was living in
Solano Grove, near Jacksonville, Florida. He was managing an orange grove there
owned by his father. He spent
most of his time there composing works such as this one. The Florida suite, written in 1887, is the composer's first orchestral work. It comes from a time when Delius lived in Florida and owned a plantation. He wanted to study African American songs and American folk music. The result is similar to Dvorak's New World Symphony, with traces of African American elements. It's distinctly not of this country, but that doesn't matter--Delius took his landscapes with him.
Frederick Theodore Albert Delius CH (29 January 1862 – 10 June 1934) was an English composer. Born in Bradford, Yorkshire, to a prosperous mercantile family of German extraction, he resisted attempts to recruit him to commerce. He was sent to Florida in the United States in 1884 to manage an orange plantation, where he neglected his managerial duties; influenced by African-American music, he began composing. After a brief period of formal musical study in Germany beginning in 1886, he embarked on a full-time career as a composer in Paris and then in nearby Grez-sur-Loing, where he and his wife Jelka lived (except during the First World War) for the rest of their lives.