Author Topic: Gerald Finzi  (Read 52793 times)

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Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #180 on: April 19, 2019, 07:00:33 AM »
I've listened to the Finzi Cello Concerto a bunch of times by now, first Wallfisch (Chandos) then Watkins (Chandos) and finally Yo-Yo Ma (Lyrita). I've finally gotten the measure of the work I think and I have found my favorite recording (Yo-Yo Ma). Part of it is that it is a dense work that (at least for me) requires familiarity. The other part of it is that Ma really does a splendid job of bring the work into focus. He finds the melody in what often sounds to me like incessant figuration in the other two recordings.

The first movement is a sprawling, dramatic affair, the second a somber meditation, the third a brightly lit rondo, of sorts. The beauty of the main themes were immediately appealing, Yo-Yo Ma helped me appreciate the solo episodes in all three movements, especially the long cadenza-like passage towards the end of the first movement.



Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #181 on: April 23, 2019, 10:01:11 AM »
Went on to the Clarinet Concerto on this release. (I consider the Clarinet Concerto to be my favorite piece by Finzi.)



It is remarkable how the two concertos have the same basic profile - stormy first movement, meditative second movement, cheerful finale with almost psychedelic colors. What really impressed me about the clarinet concerto is the use of string orchestras, with very strong functional dissonance, contrasted with the more lyrical statements by the clarinet. It is well presented here. My first impression is that the clarinet/orchestra interactions are not as well managed here as in the Thea King/Alun Francis recording that was my introduction to the piece. But it was a single listen when I was in a fatigued state, so I will reserve judgement.

Offline Irons

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #182 on: April 23, 2019, 11:48:20 AM »
Went on to the Clarinet Concerto on this release. (I consider the Clarinet Concerto to be my favorite piece by Finzi.)



It is remarkable how the two concertos have the same basic profile - stormy first movement, meditative second movement, cheerful finale with almost psychedelic colors. What really impressed me about the clarinet concerto is the use of string orchestras, with very strong functional dissonance, contrasted with the more lyrical statements by the clarinet. It is well presented here. My first impression is that the clarinet/orchestra interactions are not as well managed here as in the Thea King/Alun Francis recording that was my introduction to the piece. But it was a single listen when I was in a fatigued state, so I will reserve judgement.

I think the Clarinet Concerto one of his finest works, for me only bettered by Dies Natalis. The finale with it's joyful folk inspired melody did take me back to the most interesting discussion on the English pastoralism thread. One thing I have noticed listening to Finzi is that on an odd occasion I hear echoes of Elgar, something I have not heard from anyone else. Fleeting in the clarinet concerto, but most pronounced in the orchestral opening of Dies Natalis.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #183 on: April 23, 2019, 02:03:51 PM »
Probably I should get past my aversion to vocal music and listen to Dies Natalis. I have one recording of the piece, Vernon Handley/Bournmouth on Conifer. I wonder if that is the one to listen to.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #184 on: April 23, 2019, 02:39:17 PM »
Probably I should get past my aversion to vocal music and listen to Dies Natalis. I have one recording of the piece, Vernon Handley/Bournmouth on Conifer. I wonder if that is the one to listen to.
No it isn't. You have to hear the one sung by Wilfrid Brown and conducted by Christopher Finzi, the son of Gerald:
The CD featuring the Wilfred Brown/Christopher Finzi version of 'Dies Natalis' coupled with 'Hymnus Paradisi' by Howells conducted by David Willcocks is one of the greatest CDs of all time IMO.

« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 02:41:58 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).

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #185 on: April 23, 2019, 02:54:26 PM »
No it isn't. You have to hear the one sung by Wilfrid Brown and conducted by Christopher Finzi, the son of Gerald:
The CD featuring the Wilfred Brown/Christopher Finzi version of 'Dies Natalis' coupled with 'Hymnus Paradisi' by Howells conducted by David Willcocks is one of the greatest CDs of all time IMO.

Ok, Ok. I see I can get it as a lossless download.

Can the thing also be sung by a soprano?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 03:04:41 PM by Ghost of Baron Scarpia »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #186 on: April 23, 2019, 03:09:47 PM »
Ok, Ok. I see I can get it as a lossless download.

It's in a class of its own.

I'm biased because when I was about 19 I heard it on the radio one morning whilst I was holidaying in the Yorkshire Dales with my brother and a female family friend. The scenery was incredibly beautiful. I was up before the others and switched on the radio when I went downstairs, probably to raid the fridge. The most beautiful song came on which I did not recognise at all. It was one of those occasions, corny as it sounds, when the music and the landscape merged into one. What, I realised after, was being broadcast was the last song of 'Dies Natalis' (The Salutation) in the Wilfred Brown/Christopher Finzi version. As soon as I got back to London I rushed up to HMV in Oxford Street and hunted down the LP version (pictured above with the Apollo 8 photo of the Earth from space image). I was so happy to have that LP but I seriously do think that it is the finest and most moving version.

PS Yes, I think that there is a version for soprano (see below):

« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 03:16:27 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).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #187 on: April 23, 2019, 05:09:57 PM »
Finzi wrote two of my favorite concertos for those instruments, so I'll be interested in having that Lyrita disc. The Cello Concerto seems to find its right performance there. I'm especially fond of that achingly beautiful 2nd movement, whose main melody is simply unforgettable once heard.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #188 on: April 23, 2019, 07:23:13 PM »
Finzi wrote two of my favorite concertos for those instruments, so I'll be interested in having that Lyrita disc. The Cello Concerto seems to find its right performance there. I'm especially fond of that achingly beautiful 2nd movement, whose main melody is simply unforgettable once heard.

Agreed. It’s a gorgeous work full of pain, grief, hopefulness, and, most of all, passion. The Yo-Yo Ma/Handley performance is my go-to for that concerto.
"Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art." - Claude Debussy

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #189 on: April 23, 2019, 09:45:26 PM »
Agreed. It’s a gorgeous work full of pain, grief, hopefulness, and, most of all, passion. The Yo-Yo Ma/Handley performance is my go-to for that concerto.

I read an interview with Yo-Yo Ma, who said that he'd like to re-record the Finzi concerto as it was done early on in his career when he had little knowledge of the work although I agree that it's an excellent recording of the work. I like the new Chandos version as well.
"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: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #190 on: April 23, 2019, 10:12:28 PM »
It's in a class of its own.

I'm biased because when I was about 19 I heard it on the radio one morning whilst I was holidaying in the Yorkshire Dales with my brother and a female family friend. The scenery was incredibly beautiful. I was up before the others and switched on the radio when I went downstairs, probably to raid the fridge. The most beautiful song came on which I did not recognise at all. It was one of those occasions, corny as it sounds, when the music and the landscape merged into one. What, I realised after, was being broadcast was the last song of 'Dies Natalis' (The Salutation) in the Wilfred Brown/Christopher Finzi version. As soon as I got back to London I rushed up to HMV in Oxford Street and hunted down the LP version (pictured above with the Apollo 8 photo of the Earth from space image). I was so happy to have that LP but I seriously do think that it is the finest and most moving version.

PS Yes, I think that there is a version for soprano (see below):


Like Baron I have an aversion to vocal music but Dies Natalis sung with such purity by Wilfred Brown gripped me the first time I heard it and never let go. The last song depicting the birth of a baby is the highlight and most moving moment of a lifetime listening to music.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #191 on: April 24, 2019, 09:04:05 AM »
I read an interview with Yo-Yo Ma, who said that he'd like to re-record the Finzi concerto as it was done early on in his career when he had little knowledge of the work although I agree that it's an excellent recording of the work. I like the new Chandos version as well.

Interesting, Jeffrey! I’d love to hear Yo-Yo Ma re-record the Finzi concerto, as it is so well-suited to his mature playing style.
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #192 on: April 24, 2019, 12:56:59 PM »
I read an interview with Yo-Yo Ma, who said that he'd like to re-record the Finzi concerto as it was done early on in his career when he had little knowledge of the work although I agree that it's an excellent recording of the work. I like the new Chandos version as well.

I hope he gets to record whatever he wants, I'll be first in line to buy. But I see no trace of immaturity in his recording of the Finzi Concerto.

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #193 on: April 24, 2019, 01:46:27 PM »
Like Baron I have an aversion to vocal music but Dies Natalis sung with such purity by Wilfred Brown gripped me the first time I heard it and never let go. The last song depicting the birth of a baby is the highlight and most moving moment of a lifetime listening to music.

Sounds like I will be abnegating your lifetime of listening to music if I don't like the thing.  ???

 8)

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #194 on: April 24, 2019, 10:14:43 PM »
I hope he gets to record whatever he wants, I'll be first in line to buy. But I see no trace of immaturity in his recording of the Finzi Concerto.
Nor do I. I think that it's a fine performance. I think that Yo-Yo Ma meant that he'd like to revisit a work that he had little knowledge of when he recorded it early on in his career.
"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: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #195 on: April 25, 2019, 05:55:03 AM »
Sounds like I will be abnegating your lifetime of listening to music if I don't like the thing.  ???

 8)

Well, you may or you may not, solely to the fact I have not a clue what "abnegating" means. ???
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Ghost of Baron Scarpia

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #196 on: April 25, 2019, 07:36:49 AM »
Well, you may or you may not, solely to the fact I have not a clue what "abnegating" means. ???

You're justifiably chiding me for using a "fancy" word when a simple would suffice. It could have been replaced by 'reject' or 'renounce.'

:)

P.S., haven't gotten the recording yet.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #197 on: April 25, 2019, 09:27:27 AM »
P.S., haven't gotten the recording yet.

And why not?
 8)
"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: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #198 on: June 06, 2019, 12:12:14 PM »


Excellent new recording of By Footpath and Stile (the early Hardy song-cycle for baritone and string quartet) and the Interlude for Oboe and String Quartet, and then other works originally for string orchestra and other combos arranged for SQ.

Proves that Finzi's music, like Bach's, sounds just as good when arranged for other instruments.

Offline Irons

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #199 on: June 06, 2019, 10:44:04 PM »
I recently (last week) purchased "Songs by Finzi and His Friends". The "friends" being Robin Milford, Ernest Farrar (Finzi was a pupil), Ivor Gurney and Harry Gill. The very well performed album contains two Finzi cycles, "To a Poet" and "Oh Fair to See".

Finzi's songs, I find, are not so immediately accessible as say RVW are, but they creep up on you. Once they take hold......

You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.