Posterity is perhaps the only enduring test of an artist’s work. Seventy-six years after Delius died, performances of his compositions are being well-received.

In particular there is the 2011 CD, Delius, on which violinist Tasmin Little and cellist Paul Watkins play the composer’s Double Concerto, his Violin Concerto and his Cello Concerto, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davies.

One reviewer wrote: “Some two decades ago Tasmin Little set down memorable versions of both the Violin Concerto and Double Concerto with Sir Charles Mackerras at the helm (for Argo and EMI Eminence respectively).

“Clearly the intervening years have not diminished her abundant love for an entrancing empathy with this glorious repertoire. Not only does she surmount every technical hurdle with ease, her tone remains wonderfully pure and heart-warmingly expressive.”

Tasmin, who first tried to play Delius when she was seven, hoped above all that the public would find her latest recording different and better.

“I didn’t want it to be thought not as good as the first one. Its being universally acclaimed was really wonderful,” she said.

“I don’t want to go on about other-worldliness because there is a lot of passion in his music. He has a breathtaking quality to be able to take you up to the heavens in a spiritual and emotional sense, a feeling of being completely at peace.”

In short, Delius swings. The man who described himself with typical Bradfordian candour as a “bad-tempered, egotistical old sod” is usually depicted as he was towards the end of his life: blind, wheelchair-bound, frail, with a death mask’s sharp-nosed profile.

Tasmin said: “There are some absolutely amazing harmonies. There is a section in the middle of the second movement of the Third Violin Sonata that dies away and suddenly we are transported into New Orleans. It’s reminiscent of Afro-American bluesy stuff – and this is the music of a very old, ill man.

“People have forgotten that he was an attractive young man, vivacious, sociable, a ladies’ man. His music is more popular than it used to be. When I started my career he was not a composer frequently programmed in the concert hall.

“There are a variety of reasons why his music has not achieved the popularity of, say, Elgar’s. Delius was never a crowd-pleaser. He wanted to write things exactly as he wanted to write. So no Pomp And Circumstance for him.

“He went out of his way to do things out of the norm. His concertos don’t follow the usual form, ending in firecrackers to get people applauding. His music dies away. As a result he didn’t give himself the best chance of being popular.

“Another reason is that his most popular works, the short miniatures for orchestra – La Calinda, On Hearing The First Cuckoo In Spring – are not very representative of his output. I think people are stuck in a rut of thinking that is Delius’s music, and it isn’t.”

When Tasmin was starting out, Delius, like Vaughan Williams, was thought of disparagingly by those whose musical preferences were J S Bach, Beethoven’s string quartets and last piano sonatas, Debussy or Olivier Messiaen’s extraordinary Turangalila Symphony.

“It’s only since the 1980s that his music has become better-known. What has been a great help has been the recordings by conductors like Richard Hickox, Venon Handley and Sir Chales Mackerras. Other works have been brought to public attention,” Tasmin added.

Including, it must be said, her own performances and recordings.

Six years ago she directed the week-long Delius Inspired festival in Bradford at which The Lost Child was screened, Tasmin’s documentary about Delius’s time in Florida when he fathered a child with a black plantation worker, and heard live black American music.

“I think the experience he had in Florida for a couple of years was incredibly important. Eventually he began to find himself – a long way from home, free of parental restriction, listening to this amazing music. That was one of the influences on him.

“He wanted to get away from his father, who was very domineering. He was much too much his own person to kowtow to his father,” Tasmin added.

Like a lot of artists, Delius had to leave home to find himself.

Tasmin said: “Where one is born shapes you as an individual, of course; but at the end of the day if you cannot reach that place inside where you are on a higher spitritual plane, it won’t matter where you are born.”