Author Topic: The Gardens of Finzi  (Read 3964 times)

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snyprrr

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The Gardens of Finzi
« on: August 03, 2017, 08:09:13 PM »
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My Title Stays!!!


IT'S TIME FOR A FINZI BUMP! I'm thinking the EMI disc with 'The Fall of the Leaf' and the other piece. Then maybe... wait,... do I even have that Naxos disc? (scuffling sounds)

Online vandermolen

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 09:03:02 PM »
Love his music. He was related to the Italian-Jewish family featured in the Garden of the Finzi-Continis. In Terra Pax is a favourite although 'Dies Natalis' is his masterpiece I think. The Boult, Lyrita CD is my favourite for his shorter works:

« Last Edit: August 03, 2017, 09:07:00 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

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Offline springrite

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 09:17:11 PM »
Love his music. He was related to the Italian-Jewish family featured in the Garden of the Finzi-Continis. In Terra Pax is a favourite although 'Dies Natalis' is his masterpiece I think. The Boult, Lyrita CD is my favourite for his shorter works:


Die Natalis is my favorite Finzi work as well !
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Online vandermolen

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 09:43:29 PM »
Die Natalis is my favorite Finzi work as well !
The Wilfred Brown/Christopher Finzi version is by far my favourite recording. It was originally coupled on an EMI CD with Herbert Howells's deeply moving 'Hymnus Parasisi' (David Willcocks) which was and is one of my very favourite CDs of all time.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline North Star

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Offline kyjo

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2018, 07:05:15 PM »
Just became aware of this promising-looking upcoming Finzi release from Chandos:



https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN%205214
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Online vandermolen

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2018, 10:04:10 PM »
Just became aware of this promising-looking upcoming Finzi release from Chandos:



https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN%205214

Yes, I noticed that. However, I already have two recordings of the Cello Concerto on Lyrita and Chandos  (and a third one on Naxos I think) so may give this one a miss. Eclogue is a very nice work so I'll see how the CD is reviewed. In a way I wish that Andrew Davis had recorded Goossens's Second Symphony rather than a work, fine as it is, that we already have multiple recordings of. Having said that Finzi is a more 'popular' composer than Goossens.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2018, 10:21:52 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Oates

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2018, 02:09:10 AM »
Yes, I noticed that. However, I already have two recordings of the Cello Concerto on Lyrita and Chandos  (and a third one on Naxos I think) so may give this one a miss. Eclogue is a very nice work so I'll see how the CD is reviewed. In a way I wish that Andrew Davis had recorded Goossens's Second Symphony rather than a work, fine as it is, that we already have multiple recordings of. Having said that Finzi is a more 'popular' composer than Goossens.

For me, if it's a choice between Chandos recording and releasing more Finzi (as opposed to, say, more Britten), then more Finzi is always welcome. But given Finzi's modest orchestral / instrumental output (compared to his songs) it's inevitable that we get a lot of repetition. Between the various Finzi CDs on Decca, Naxos, EMI, Lyrita, Nimbus and indeed previous Chandos releases, all this music has been very well served already and I probably won't buy it for that reason.

Chandos do seem to start what look like promising series and then stop too soon. The Goossens releases are a perfect case in point, as you say, with a lot left to explore. The Holst series was started under Hickox and then continued under Davies but seems to have petered out - I guess Chandos have covered a lot of Holst already in any case. There was a Richard Rodney Bennett series started under Hickox with "Orchestral Works Vol.1", which wasn't taken further after Hickox's death. Chandos now has another (completely different) "Orchestral Works Vol.1" under Wilson (now at Vol.2 ). The last really exhaustive and consistent Chandos series was Percy Grainger (and before that Bax and Walton). Hickox seemed prepared to stay the course with these sets (as did Handley and Thomson before him).

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2018, 02:20:25 AM »
For me, if it's a choice between Chandos recording and releasing more Finzi (as opposed to, say, more Britten), then more Finzi is always welcome. But given Finzi's modest orchestral / instrumental output (compared to his songs) it's inevitable that we get a lot of repetition. Between the various Finzi CDs on Decca, Naxos, EMI, Lyrita, Nimbus and indeed previous Chandos releases, all this music has been very well served already and I probably won't buy it for that reason.

Chandos do seem to start what look like promising series and then stop too soon. The Goossens releases are a perfect case in point, as you say, with a lot left to explore. The Holst series was started under Hickox and then continued under Davies but seems to have petered out - I guess Chandos have covered a lot of Holst already in any case. There was a Richard Rodney Bennett series started under Hickox with "Orchestral Works Vol.1", which wasn't taken further after Hickox's death. Chandos now has another (completely different) "Orchestral Works Vol.1" under Wilson (now at Vol.2 ). The last really exhaustive and consistent Chandos series was Percy Grainger (and before that Bax and Walton). Hickox seemed prepared to stay the course with these sets (as did Handley and Thomson before him).

I agree - Malcolm Williamson is another case where only two releases ever appeared (fortunately the second one did feature the fine 'Elavimini' Symphony.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2018, 12:23:26 PM »
With Finzi the only music that has never been recorded, as far as i know, are some early songs to words by Christina Rosetti.
They may never even have been performed.

Offline Oates

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2018, 11:55:10 PM »
With Finzi the only music that has never been recorded, as far as i know, are some early songs to words by Christina Rosetti.
They may never even have been performed.

Apart from that I'm not aware of any buried treasure among his manuscripts. After the reconstructed Violin Concerto, we've had newly orchestrated songs, and then a couple of years ago - a valiant attempt at presenting something new - his songs being recast with purely instrumental arrangements. In the age of digital sound, most of his works have been recorded at least twice now (with some multiple outings for the Clarinet Concerto etc.) I must admit that I'm someone who sticks to one favourite recording rather than someone who collects many versions of the same thing - I suppose it depends on the leeway for interpretation in the work.

I realise that the classical music industry (both recording and concert repertoire) is based on the commercial value of new interpretations, usually heralded by a 'star' conductor or world class orchestra putting their stamp on the work. The limited Finzi canon is subject to these practices as well but for me periodic new versions of the same thing don't get me excited. 

Offline Oates

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2018, 01:39:35 AM »
I have recently found a couple of lesser-known Finzi CDs in Oxfam for a couple of pounds apiece:

Quink Vocal Ensemble CD (Fidelio / Challenge Classics) from 1987 includes Three Short Elegies and Seven Poems of Robert Bridges - the latter is not well known, in fact this appears to be the first recorded version, though it has since been covered with a bigger ensemble on a Naxos CD.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Finzi-Songs-Elegies/dp/B004P68L3S/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1534502302&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Quink+vocal+emsemble

The Richard Stoltzman CD (RCA) from 1991 includes an arrangement for clarinet and orchestra of the 5 Bagatelles by Lawrence Ashmore, who played in Finzi's Newbury Strings in the 1950s. Also included is Ashmore's enjoyable Four Seasons suite based on folk songs - very much in the style of RVW.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finzi-Bagatelles-Clarinet-Concerto-C-Minor/dp/B072L7SJHF/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1534501536&sr=8-1&keywords=richard+stoltzman+finzi
« Last Edit: August 17, 2018, 01:53:57 AM by Oates »

Online vandermolen

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2018, 07:23:09 AM »
I have recently found a couple of lesser-known Finzi CDs in Oxfam for a couple of pounds apiece:

Quink Vocal Ensemble CD (Fidelio / Challenge Classics) from 1987 includes Three Short Elegies and Seven Poems of Robert Bridges - the latter is not well known, in fact this appears to be the first recorded version, though it has since been covered with a bigger ensemble on a Naxos CD.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Vaughan-Williams-Finzi-Songs-Elegies/dp/B004P68L3S/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1534502302&sr=1-1-fkmr0&keywords=Quink+vocal+emsemble

The Richard Stoltzman CD (RCA) from 1991 includes an arrangement for clarinet and orchestra of the 5 Bagatelles by Lawrence Ashmore, who played in Finzi's Newbury Strings in the 1950s. Also included is Ashmore's enjoyable Four Seasons suite based on folk songs - very much in the style of RVW.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Finzi-Bagatelles-Clarinet-Concerto-C-Minor/dp/B072L7SJHF/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1534501536&sr=8-1&keywords=richard+stoltzman+finzi
Looks like a great bargain!
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2018, 03:48:59 PM »
Just became aware of this promising-looking upcoming Finzi release from Chandos:



https://www.chandos.net/products/catalogue/CHAN%205214

It does look promising indeed, Kyle, but I’m personally not in the market for more Finzi or really any repertoire I already own as I’ve turned my attention to filling in gaps in other genres of music. I mean I won’t lie and say that Finzi doesn’t deserve more releases, but from now on, I’ll let you guys tell me whether you like the recording or not. This music has been expertly conducted by Sir Adrian Boult and the Cello Concerto has never been better performed then the Yo-Yo Ma/Handley performance and have been my go-to Finzi orchestral recordings.
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Offline Irons

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2018, 11:27:38 PM »
Finzi holds a special place. I just wish he had been more productive and lived longer. The only composer that I hear echoes of Elgar. As already mentioned the cello concerto is a fine work, the Concerto for Clarinet and Strings is every bit as good. Eclogue is a personal favourite and in a similar vein so is Introit for Violin and Small Orchestra. One area Finzi was prolific is song of which I have barely scratched the surface, but one, a war song "Channel Firing" has to be heard. The one Finzi work that I rate highest of all is Dies Natalis. In four parts, the last, "The Salutation" never fails in bringing a lump to my throat. A recording of Dies Natalis that in my view has never been bettered is conducted by the composer's son, Christopher.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Online vandermolen

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2018, 11:51:06 PM »
Finzi holds a special place. I just wish he had been more productive and lived longer. The only composer that I hear echoes of Elgar. As already mentioned the cello concerto is a fine work, the Concerto for Clarinet and Strings is every bit as good. Eclogue is a personal favourite and in a similar vein so is Introit for Violin and Small Orchestra. One area Finzi was prolific is song of which I have barely scratched the surface, but one, a war song "Channel Firing" has to be heard. The one Finzi work that I rate highest of all is Dies Natalis. In four parts, the last, "The Salutation" never fails in bringing a lump to my throat. A recording of Dies Natalis that in my view has never been bettered is conducted by the composer's son, Christopher.

When I was about 19 and on holiday in the Yorshire Dales I turned on the radio early one morning and heard this most beautiful music. It was as if the music and the magnificent  landscape outside the window merged into one - a lovely experience for me, especially as I was up early and nobody else was about. It turned out to be 'Dies Natalis' in the then (c.1974) only available version with Christopher Finzi conducting and Wilfred Brown singing. I agree with you that that version has never been bettered even though there are now multiple recordings. As soon as I got home to London I dashed up to HMV in Oxford Street and snapped up the fine EMI LP with its excellent accompanying Psalm by Holst. It was a very important musical moment for me hearing 'Dies Natalis' on the radio that morning. 'In Terra Pax' is my other favourite Finzi work although I have enjoyed everything I have heard by him.


"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2018, 12:17:14 AM »
why didn't Wilfred Brown record more......?

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2018, 12:33:08 AM »
why didn't Wilfred Brown record more......?

Sadly think he died quite young. It's a pity, I agree, that he didn't record more.

PS Yes, he was only 49. He'd been a teacher for many years before taking up singing full-time. I had no idea that he'd been the Form Master of Finzi's two sons at Bedales (one of whom later conducted his recording of Dies Natalis) and he was a friend of the composer.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 12:40:30 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Irons

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2018, 05:06:43 AM »
Sadly think he died quite young. It's a pity, I agree, that he didn't record more.

PS Yes, he was only 49. He'd been a teacher for many years before taking up singing full-time. I had no idea that he'd been the Form Master of Finzi's two sons at Bedales (one of whom later conducted his recording of Dies Natalis) and he was a friend of the composer.

Interesting. He was blessed with crystal clear diction.

I do not have "In Terra Pax". Will look out for the work.
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Offline Oates

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Re: The Gardens of Finzi
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2018, 07:41:18 AM »
This enterprising new project from Naxos has some Finzi transposed for brass - not a configuration I'd associate with this composer.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brass-Septets-Vol-Septura-Naxos/dp/B07GVSBZDH/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1537461504&sr=1-1&keywords=naxos+classical