Author Topic: Gerald Finzi  (Read 38445 times)

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tjguitar

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Gerald Finzi
« on: April 16, 2007, 01:08:51 PM »
I'm not very familiar with this composer, i was thinking about buying this recent Chandos-issued disc with the violin and cello concerto's.  Does anyone have it?


Harry

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2007, 09:47:57 PM »
Well that recording is very good, but you also could look at some Naxos recordings, they had rave reviews, and are indeed marvelous.
I like his friendly and melodious music, and would love to have more, so recommendations are always welcome. :)

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2007, 01:19:04 AM »
Well that recording is very good, but you also could look at some Naxos recordings, they had rave reviews, and are indeed marvelous.
I like his friendly and melodious music, and would love to have more, so recommendations are always welcome. :)

I have four good Finzi discs, all Naxos:
  Cello Concerto etc. (8.555766)
  Clarinet Concerto etc. (8.553566)
  Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice etc. (8.555792)
  Intimations of Immortality etc. (8.557863)
Finzi's music is indeed very friendly.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2007, 09:23:47 AM by 71 dB »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2007, 01:19:33 AM »
I think that the Lyrita CD of short orchestral works is the best Finzi CD I know (conducted by Boult)
"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 knight66

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2007, 04:19:44 AM »
Finzi seems to write in elevated rhapsody. He was especially sensitive in his word setting and can portray a very English pastoral Ecstasy.

Two works I suggest are...

Dies Natalis


A beautiful reading by the tenor Wilfred Brown. The other piece by RVW is also excellent and beautifully performed.

Secondly, on Lyrita and only just issued on the first time on CD, a classic performance of Intimations of Immortality. This is another piece involving a tenor, but with choral sections for this work. Here another very English Tenor Ian Partridge gives as good a performance as can be imagined.
As with the other disc, the companion piece on the disc is both rare and beautiful.

Mike
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2007, 09:22:01 AM »
Intimations of Immortality.

I didn't remember I had this work [Naxos]!  ;D
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page <-- NEW track "Ecclesiastical Secularism"

Offline knight66

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2007, 09:23:15 AM »
What do you think of it?

Mike
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Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2007, 07:15:57 AM »
Don't do it! The cello concerto is a superb work, and this is not the best recording of it! The Naxos CD with Tim Hugh playing it is absolutely brilliant, and it is coupled with superb readings of the heart breaking Eclogue for piano and strings and the quirky Fantasia:

http://www.amazon.com/Finzi-Concerto-Fantasia-Toccata-Eclogue/dp/B00005QCYM/ref=sr_1_1/104-8304738-2755955?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1176999389&sr=8-1

I'll leave the rest to the reviewers: an amazing disk (the highest rated review is by our own Weirdears!)

Interestingly, the first recording of the cello concerto is being rereleased on Lyrita - first time on CD. The cellist is Yo-Yo Ma and it was his first professional studio recording. Its a great reading, but has more mistakes than the Naxos version, and Ma shows his relative immaturity. But worth hearing certainly, as it is arguably better recorded.

As to the violin concerto, this is the only recording available of it. I personally love it, but one must remember it was his first orchestral work, and Finzi was a late bloomer. Many people on this board think it is a disaster, but I would say that might be a bit strong. Its lovely from start to finish, especially the slow movement (published seperately as Introit), which is given a sumptuous reading in that recording. But the cello concerto is the major work, and for that its Naxos all the way.

Naxos also have a superb recording of the never before recorded By Footpath and style, for Baritone and string quartet. Similar in obvious ways to Barber's Dover Beach, but I actually prefer it (I adore Barber, but this one, while lovely, has never grabbed me as much as his other masterpieces).

Also on Naxos is a brilliant reading of Intimations of immortality - the best I have heard, and the one that really convinced me of the works' greatness (I didn't really understand why people referred to it as a masterpiece before).
« Last Edit: June 25, 2007, 04:13:41 AM by Guido »
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Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2007, 07:20:43 AM »
The 'classic' performance of Deis Natalis mentioned above doesn't convince me. Of the five version I have heard, Langridge come out as clear favourite for me, because of the drama he projects, range of moods, unmannered approach (some of the others are cloying in this respect), and sheer beauty. He's not as good in Intimations of Immortality, where he tends to get a bit throaty, and is overpowered with muddy accoustics and the huge choir. The Naxos recording is perfection though...
Geologist.

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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2007, 09:03:31 AM »
What do you think of it?

Mike

Sorry for the delay... ...I think it's good. Clear sound and convincing performance.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page <-- NEW track "Ecclesiastical Secularism"

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2007, 10:50:40 PM »
Finzi seems to write in elevated rhapsody. He was especially sensitive in his word setting and can portray a very English pastoral Ecstasy.

Two works I suggest are...

Dies Natalis


A beautiful reading by the tenor Wilfred Brown. The other piece by RVW is also excellent and beautifully performed.

Secondly, on Lyrita and only just issued on the first time on CD, a classic performance of Intimations of Immortality. This is another piece involving a tenor, but with choral sections for this work. Here another very English Tenor Ian Partridge gives as good a performance as can be imagined.
As with the other disc, the companion piece on the disc is both rare and beautiful.

Mike


This (Dies Natalis) if Finzi's masterpiece and this version (Wilfrid Brown) is the best ever. I first heard this music (in this performance) on the radio one morning whilst on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales c 1974, it was one of those occasions when music and landscape merged into one (pseuds corner, I know) and, when I got back to London I rushed out to buy the EMI LP (coupled with the Holst).
"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 Montpellier

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2007, 08:17:38 AM »
I think that the Lyrita CD of short orchestral works is the best Finzi CD I know (conducted by Boult)

I was pleased to see that Lyrita has reissued this on CD.  Ordered it but I don't think it's on the shelves yet.   Superb Lyritian recording if its up to their usual standards. 


Offline Brewski

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2007, 10:15:56 AM »
I have the disc below with Intimations of Immortality and Dies Natalis (with Matthew Best and the Corydon Singers) and like it very much.  Most of what I've heard by him is choral, and he's written some gorgeous music in that regard.



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Offline knight66

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2007, 10:19:33 AM »
I have read about some of his instrumental music and I ought to give it a go; but you know my fixation with the voice!

Mike
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Boris_G

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2007, 01:58:40 PM »
The new Naxos disc of Finzi songs with John Mark Ainsley (with 'A Young Man's Exhortation' - which includes a wonderfully wierd song, 'The Comet at Yellham'; Till Earth Outwears; and O Fair to See) is superb IMHO. Anyone else heard it?

canninator

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2007, 06:04:32 AM »
The new Naxos disc of Finzi songs with John Mark Ainsley (with 'A Young Man's Exhortation' - which includes a wonderfully wierd song, 'The Comet at Yellham'; Till Earth Outwears; and O Fair to See) is superb IMHO. Anyone else heard it?

Yes, another great addition to the English Song Series. I enjoy these cycles but IMO none of them touch By Footpath and Stile Op.2 on the previous volume. Finzi used RVW's On Wenlock Edge as a model for voice and string quartet and surpassed it. I am constantly amazed by the strength of this and the Op.3 Severn Rhapsody despite being such early works.

canninator

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2007, 06:08:41 AM »
I'm not very familiar with this composer, i was thinking about buying this recent Chandos-issued disc with the violin and cello concerto's.  Does anyone have it?



Lyrita have just released the Ma recording of the Cello Concerto (more introspective and I think suited to this piece than the more romantic Walifisch reading) coupled with the glorious Clarinet Concerto. This coupling must now stand as the first recommendation for Finzi concerto's. Tim Hugh on Naxos is also superb if you want the orchestral couplings.

Mark

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2007, 06:26:12 AM »
Wallfisch is, as you say, more 'romantic', and I don't think this sounds right. Hugh, OTOH, gives a storming yet equally sensitive performance. You go through the gamut of emotions which must've been experienced by the composer as he wrote this last work in the full knowledge of the fate which was to befall him. It'll be interesting to hear how Ma tackles this.

As for the Violin Concerto, I rather like the version on Chandos. Yes, it's a fairly light work ... but that central 'Introit' (as it became) is simply beautiful. Though not quite as beautiful (IMO) as the Romance in E, which is one of many works on the Naxos recording of the Clarinet Concerto. Anyone who loves Finzi should own this disc - not least, for Robert Plane's superb clarinet work throughout:

« Last Edit: July 09, 2007, 06:33:37 AM by Mark »

Mark

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #18 on: July 14, 2007, 03:23:35 PM »
My father has recently discovered Finzi (thanks to yours truly), and asked me how much work by this composer existed. So I hunted around and found this: Gerald Finzi

From that site, a full list of Finzi's works with opus numbers of his own devising:


Opus Numbers

(All designations, including blanks and projections into which posthumous works could be neatly fitted, were Finzi’s own.)

1 )   Ten Children’s Songs
2 )   By Footpath and Stile
3 )   English Pastorals and Elegies
      A Severn Rhapsody
         Requiem da camera
4 )      Psalms for unaccompanied SATB
5 )       Three Short Elegies
6 )      Introit
7 )       New Year Music
8 )   Dies natalis
9 )   Farewell to Arms
10 )     Eclogue
11 )     Romance
12 )     Two Sonnets by John Milton
13a )     To a Poet
13b )     Oh Fair to See
14 )     A Young Man’s Exhortation
15 )     Earth and Air and Rain
16 )     Before and After Summer
17 )     Seven Poems of Robert Bridges
18 )     Let Us Garlands Bring
19a )     Till Earth Outwears
19b )     I Said to Love
20 )     The Fall of the Leaf
21 )     Interlude
22 )     Oboe Quintet/[Elegy]
23 )     Five Bagatelles
24 )     Prelude and Fugue
25 )     String Trio/[Prelude for strings]
26 )     ‘Lo, the full, final sacrifice’
27 )     Three Anthems:
         ‘My lovely one’
         ‘God is gone up’
         ‘Welcome sweet and sacred feast’
28 )     Love’s Labour’s Lost
         a) songs
         b) suite
29 )     Intimations of Immortality
30 )     For St Cecilia
31 )     Clarinet Concerto
32 )     Bridges partsongs for unaccompanied male voices
         ‘Thou didst delight my eyes’
33 )   ‘All this night’
34 )     Occasional Songs
         ‘Muses and Graces’
35 )     Two-part songs for accompanied male voices
         ‘Let us now praise famous men’
36 )     Magnificat
37 )     ‘White-flowering days’
38 )     Grand Fantasia and Toccata
39 )     In terra pax
40 )     Cello Concerto
« Last Edit: July 14, 2007, 03:31:53 PM by Mark »

Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2007, 04:01:37 PM »
As I have said many times before, I have every work by Finzi that has been recorded (op.1, op.4 and op.34 all remain unrecorded unfortunately). I adore almost everything, and as is typical of the composers that I admire most, there is a relatively small body of work that is perfectly crafted, within the composer's own very personal idiom, within his own limitations (not a bad thing at all - actually makes the music more poignent I think).

Now to the Ma re-issue of the cello concerto on Lyrita. I already had an LP of it, so it was interesting to see how well it transferred to CD. I have to say that the sound has not worn all that well. It's not awful, but its a little claustrophobic, compared to the competition. As to Ma's playing - its a nice account, but as I said before there are far more imperfections than I've really heard in any non live recording of a cellist. It's not as if it is that early (1979). It is a difficult score, but these things still grate. Ma's youth shows too, and he does not get the idiom nearly as well as Tim Hugh. It would be interesting to hear him record it again (it will never happen - Sony would never let that happen), now that he's older, and has Sony's unparalleled editing capabilities to hand - his recordings of other key English concerto repertoire is generally superb (Elgar, Walton, Goldschmidt, Britten). The thing that Hugh really improves on though, is the timing - Ma takes a full 41 minutes, to Hugh's 37. Finzi's subtle, heartfelt pheases and symphonic structures hang together better when they are presented more flowingly, it seems taughter, and the 'bigger picture' is much more immediately visible. Ma's account luxuriates in the romanticism, but seems to go awry, especially in the second movement, which is probably a shade long as it stands anyway. This is Handley's doing too of course.

So its not a first choice, Tim Hugh still for that, but it isn't bad by any means. But don't expect the perfect phrasing and recoring that marks the recordings of Ma's later career.

By Footpath and Style op.2 for voice and string quartet has been getting a few plays recently. Such a brilliant piece, expecialy since he was so young when he composed it. Really deserves to be heard more often (like the cello concerto and many other pieces).
Geologist.

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