1. Arts & Entertainment

Florida Orchestra's major label CD of Delius goes on sale

Baritone Leon Williams puts his hands together in appreciation for applause after his Sea Drift solo accompanied by the Florida Orchestra and the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay in January.
Published Sep. 25, 2012

Today, the Florida Orchestra has a brand new major label recording on iTunes and other online sites, just a download away from a potentially vast audience.

For a symphony orchestra, nothing tops a successful recording in getting its name out beyond its local audience. The orchestra is hoping to make an impact with the release of works by Frederick Delius, an English composer with Florida ties, on a CD for Naxos, one of the world's largest classical record labels.

"That Naxos was excited to start recording with us is a statement about the caliber of the orchestra," president Michael Pastreich said. "As a CEO, it is sometimes hard for me to quantify our artistic standards. Now we have a strong indicator how our artistic product continues to grow."

Two works by Delius are on the disc: Appalachia and Sea Drift, both featuring the orchestra, the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and baritone Leon Williams, with then music director Stefan Sanderling conducting. They were recorded during two concerts in a Delius festival in January at Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

In the past, the orchestra has self-produced albums, and it was recorded in 1997 by the small Azica label in Leonard Bernstein's Symphonic Dances from West Side Story and other works during Jahja Ling's tenure as music director. But the Delius CD is bound to be its most high-profile recording.

This year is the 150th anniversary of Delius' birth, and the British music press is likely to pay attention to the recording of Appalachia and Sea Drift, which have not been paired on the same recording in more than 30 years. Appalachia in particular should be of interest, because it has not been recorded much, and it vividly reflects the influence that African-American slave songs had on the composer, who found his musical voice when he was sent by his father to work on an orange plantation below Jacksonville in 1884.

After the Delius festival, the Cleveland-based producer, Thomas Moore, spliced together the best music from the two concerts plus a "patch" session into a master version.

It was then edited with input from Sanderling and James K. Bass, artistic director of the Master Chorale.

Sanderling had final approval over the recording from the orchestra's standpoint. "He was absolutely the one person in the world we trusted with a decision like that," Pastreich said. In July, Sanderling announced that he was departing as music director some two years sooner than planned.

Naxos is a rare success story in the troubled recording business, and especially the classical music side of it. Founded in 1987 by entrepreneur Klaus Heymann and headquartered in Hong Kong, the company releases about 300 classical recordings a year and has a catalog of more than 7,000 titles. It has 19 Grammy Awards. In the United States, the label has featured several regional orchestras in numerous recordings, including those in Baltimore, Buffalo, N.Y., Denver and Nashville, Tenn., where the company has a distribution center.

Classical recordings tend to sell in quantities of hundreds and thousands, not the millions of a hit pop recording. The orchestra hopes to make a little money by selling discs at concerts for $20 apiece. The CD is being sold for less by online retailers. For instance, it's $7.99 to download the album on iTunes.

Bass thinks the Delius recording could be significant for arts in the Tampa Bay area, especially if it draws positive reviews and even a Grammy nomination.

"The Florida Orchestra has had some significant performances in the past, but we haven't had the national exposure because we don't record," he said. "If you don't record, you don't have a chance to make a national impact, you just don't. So now we have an opportunity, perhaps, to get people to look at what we're doing here. You can't put a dollar amount on that and what it might parlay into future projects for the Florida Orchestra and Master Chorale."

John Fleming can be reached at or (727) 893-8716.


  1. University of South Florida forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle pieces together a skull that might have been Amelia Earhart's. SANDRA C. ROA  |  University of South Florida
    DNA from a skull found in 1940 could prove whether the famous aviator has been found.
  2. A rendering of one retail corner at Sparkman Wharf, which is building up its dining offerings in Tampa. Courtesy of Strategic Property Partners
    The new arrival will pair small plates with more than 150 bottles of wine.
  3. Jeremy Piven participates in the "Wisdom of the Crowd" panel during the CBS Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour at CBS Studio Center in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2017. CHRIS PIZZELLO  |  Invision/AP
    The Emmy-winning ‘Entourage’ star will host a bash at the poolside club WTR.
  4. The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at Universal Studios Florida in the spring of 2020, the theme park has announced. AP (2015)
    The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at the Orlando theme park.
  5. Taco Bell Tuesday announced it had recalled 2.3 million pounds of its seasoned beef filling.
    The fast food chain announced Tuesday it voluntarily recalled 2.3 million pounds of beef after customers reported fining metal shavings in their food.
  6. Anjelah Johnson attends the launch event for Kevin Hart's new streaming video network, Laugh Out Loud, in 2017 in Beverly Hills, Calif. DANNY MOLOSHOK  |  Invision/AP
    A sold-out Tampa show from comedian Anjelah Johnson, the Sacred Heart Fall Festival in Pinellas Park and a Tampa performance by singer Bea Miller.
  7. In the SoHo area of Tampa, the new Poke Fish's menu mirrors what's featured at the original location. Courtesy of Poke Fish
    Wesley Chapel newcomer Teriyaki Madness also keeps the personalized bowls coming at the Shops at Wiregrass.
  8. Seared pork chops with rosemary butter MICHELLE STARK  |  Tampa Bay Times
    And a recipe for seared pork chops that puts them to good use.
  9. Bratwurst will be the star of Brat Blast, replacing Ribfest as the Northeast Exchange Club of St. Petersburg's big charity fundraiser of the year. Tampa Bay Times (2014)
    Brat Blast will be the Northeast Exchange Club’s big charity fundraising party this year after the high cost of bands and security for Ribfest cut into its charitable work.
  10. Gladys Knight performs at sundown at the 36th Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 15, 2015, in Coachman Park. JIM DAMASKE  |  TAMPA BAY TIMES
    The annual event, which returns this weekend, has come a long way. Where will it go from here?