The German title reflects Delius’s use of philosophical words from Nietzsche’s Also sprach Zarathustra, the inspiration for A Mass of Life, this and the Norwegian mountains, to create an ambitious work that here finds its spiritual home in Bergen and an admiring conductor in Mark Elder, whose ninety-four-minute account is a revelation, opening in stirring fashion, a leap of faith (maybe) by the composer, idiomatically himself throughout. Otherwise the score, colourfully orchestrated (although I wasn’t expecting castanets), has its dance elements yet is largely searching and reflective, very beautiful without ever being cosmetic, with few moments of drama or exhilaration, albeit plenty of humanity and subtly-hued painterly description, sunsets, an invitation for lyrically lovely singing, whether solo or choral, finely achieved by all, with the top-billed Roderick Williams exemplary of enunciation to meaningful effect. It’s an absorbing listen, very well recorded (September last year, Grieg Hall), presented with texts and translations, and not withstanding recordings by Beecham, Groves, Hickox and Hill, this from Elder is the one to go for – for me it opens fully a door previously only ajar. Lawro Classics LWC1265 (2 CDs).

https://lawostore.no/cd/bergen-philharmonic-orchestra-sir-elder-mark-conductor-williams-roderick-baritone-huckle-claudia-contralto-summerfield-gemma-soprano-t%F8denes-bror-magnus-tenor-bergen-philharmonic-choir-edvard-grieg-kor-collegium-musicum-choi-frederick-delius-a-mass-of-life-25440

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Mass_of_Life