Sea-Drift, for baritone, chorus and orchestra (1903-04)
A gorgeous, lyrical and lush choral work by English composer Frederick Delius (1862-1934), based the poem "Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking" from Book XIX ("Sea-Drift") of the poetry collection "Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman (1819-1892). The work was premiered in 1906 under the baton of Henry Wood with Frederic Austin singing the baritone solo part. The poetry is suffused with images of love, the sea and death as Whitman observes two mating birds, the male's bewilderment, following the death of the female, becoming analogous to the human experience of loss and grief. When combined with Delius's music the effect is heightened to an overwhelming intensity.