Author Topic: Gerald Finzi  (Read 38446 times)

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Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #200 on: June 06, 2019, 10:51:53 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......


There was a very nice disc of Farrar's orchestral music on Chandos, including some very moving works. Sadly he was killed in the First World War. A great loss to music, alongside Butterworth.
"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 #201 on: June 07, 2019, 05:48:09 AM »
There was a very nice disc of Farrar's orchestral music on Chandos, including some very moving works. Sadly he was killed in the First World War. A great loss to music, alongside Butterworth.

I'm fairly sure it was on GMG that a discussion of composers lost in the Great War took place. I seem to recall it was possibly you, Jeffrey that mentioned Farrar and an impressive composition by him. Anyway, the name struck a chord and thought it worth mentioning he taught the young Finzi and some of his songs are included.

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

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #202 on: June 07, 2019, 11:46:36 AM »
I'm fairly sure it was on GMG that a discussion of composers lost in the Great War took place. I seem to recall it was possibly you, Jeffrey that mentioned Farrar and an impressive composition by him. Anyway, the name struck a chord and thought it worth mentioning he taught the young Finzi and some of his songs are included.
Probably was Lol.
Finzi was devastated when Farrar was killed in the First World War.
The two standout items were 'Heroic Elegy' and 'English Pastoral Impresssions'. Unfortunately the CD was very expensive when I last checked:

"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 vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #203 on: June 07, 2019, 11:53:29 AM »
Finzi's 'Requiem da Camera' is one of my favourite works by him along with Dies Natalis. There are two fine recordings:


« Last Edit: June 07, 2019, 11:55:11 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).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #204 on: June 07, 2019, 12:16:19 PM »
I haven't listened to that Requiem da camera yet, I should give it a try. A bit earlier I played The Fall of the Leaf from this disc:



Absolutely majestic piece, intensely impassionate and melancholy, featuring a heart-wrenching and memorable melody. This kind of works melts me.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #205 on: June 07, 2019, 06:44:24 PM »
I haven't listened to that Requiem da camera yet, I should give it a try. A bit earlier I played The Fall of the Leaf from this disc:



Absolutely majestic piece, intensely impassionate and melancholy, featuring a heart-wrenching and memorable melody. This kind of works melts me.

A fine work, indeed. One thing I can say that I really admire about the English composers is their string writing. I know there are other instruments in The Fall of the Leaf but, as usual for me, it’s the strings that make my heart sink. That Boult performance is sublime.
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Offline Irons

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #206 on: June 07, 2019, 11:20:18 PM »
Probably was Lol.
Finzi was devastated when Farrar was killed in the First World War.
The two standout items were 'Heroic Elegy' and 'English Pastoral Impresssions'. Unfortunately the CD was very expensive when I last checked:


Possibly "English Pastoral Impressions" as the piece I heard on YT which so impressed me was more pastoral then heroic.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline Irons

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #207 on: June 07, 2019, 11:30:59 PM »
I haven't listened to that Requiem da camera yet, I should give it a try. A bit earlier I played The Fall of the Leaf from this disc:



Absolutely majestic piece, intensely impassionate and melancholy, featuring a heart-wrenching and memorable melody. This kind of works melts me.

Yes, Finzi does that. "Introit" from the same album has the same affect. Set out to be the slow movement of a violin concerto which Finzi didn't finish. Not the first or last work he left uncompleted.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #208 on: June 08, 2019, 08:49:54 AM »
I haven't listened to that Requiem da camera yet, I should give it a try. A bit earlier I played The Fall of the Leaf from this disc:



Absolutely majestic piece, intensely impassionate and melancholy, featuring a heart-wrenching and memorable melody. This kind of works melts me.

That Boult, Lyrita disc is wonderful. I'm sure that you'll like Requiem da Camera Cesar - a most beautiful work.
"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 #209 on: June 08, 2019, 06:07:51 PM »
A fine work, indeed. One thing I can say that I really admire about the English composers is their string writing. I know there are other instruments in The Fall of the Leaf but, as usual for me, it’s the strings that make my heart sink. That Boult performance is sublime.

Several British composers spring to mind regarding that feature (VW, Finzi, Rubbra, Howells, Tippett, Britten, Alwyn).

His Romance for strings (Finzi) has a similar touching nature.


Yes, Finzi does that. "Introit" from the same album has the same affect. Set out to be the slow movement of a violin concerto which Finzi didn't finish. Not the first or last work he left uncompleted.

Interesting, thanks for it. I do recall having listened to it, but I don't have strong memories of it.


That Boult, Lyrita disc is wonderful. I'm sure that you'll like Requiem da Camera Cesar - a most beautiful work.

Indeed, that CD brings together some exceptional works by Finzi in apparently unsurpassable renditions. The Requiem da camera will be another work I'll play soon.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #210 on: June 14, 2020, 01:28:16 PM »
I was sorry to read of the death of Christopher Finzi - the son of Gerald Finzi. He leaves behind the greatest recording of Finzi's masterpiece Dies Natalis (with Wilfred Brown) and was apparently involved in a complex menage a trois, with his sister-in-law the cellist Jacqueline du Pre:

« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 01:30:45 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 Irons

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #211 on: June 15, 2020, 06:38:39 AM »
I was sorry to read of the death of Christopher Finzi - the son of Gerald Finzi. He leaves behind the greatest recording of Finzi's masterpiece Dies Natalis (with Wilfred Brown) and was apparently involved in a complex menage a trois, with his sister-in-law the cellist Jacqueline du Pre:


Sorry to hear that. An acquaintance met Christopher and said he was a lovely and considerate man. The story behind Christopher's sexual encounters with his sister-in-law is a sad one and occurred with the full knowledge of his wife, Jackie's sister, in fact she encouraged it. With the onset of her terrible illness Jacqueline needed something only Christopher (unlike her husband) was available to provide.   
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #212 on: June 15, 2020, 07:18:52 AM »
Sorry to hear that. An acquaintance met Christopher and said he was a lovely and considerate man. The story behind Christopher's sexual encounters with his sister-in-law is a sad one and occurred with the full knowledge of his wife, Jackie's sister, in fact she encouraged it. With the onset of her terrible illness Jacqueline needed something only Christopher (unlike her husband) was available to provide.
Interesting and sad. Thanks for this Lol.
"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 kyjo

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #213 on: June 28, 2020, 09:04:31 AM »
To me, Finzi’s music is like balm for the soul and I return to it with great frequency these days. He may fall into the “English pastoral school” but his music is so much more than that and possesses great and genuine humanity. Did Finzi ever write a bad or even mediocre piece? I’d like to hear it! Recently I’ve discovered two more wonderful works of his: the brief but radiant Magnificat (in the version for chorus and orchestra) and the eloquent early song cycle By Footpath and Stile for the wonderful combination of voice and string quartet. The Naxos recording with the superbly talented Roderick Williams and the Sacconi Quartet is marvelous! Finzi may very well be my favorite composer of vocal music. His writing for the human voice is extraordinarily natural and affecting.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 09:07:00 AM by kyjo »
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #214 on: June 28, 2020, 12:21:09 PM »
To me, Finzi’s music is like balm for the soul and I return to it with great frequency these days. He may fall into the “English pastoral school” but his music is so much more than that and possesses great and genuine humanity. Did Finzi ever write a bad or even mediocre piece? I’d like to hear it! Recently I’ve discovered two more wonderful works of his: the brief but radiant Magnificat (in the version for chorus and orchestra) and the eloquent early song cycle By Footpath and Stile for the wonderful combination of voice and string quartet. The Naxos recording with the superbly talented Roderick Williams and the Sacconi Quartet is marvelous! Finzi may very well be my favorite composer of vocal music. His writing for the human voice is extraordinarily natural and affecting.

I've heard only one work of Finzi's, the Eclogue, which I found boring and utterly forgettable, and I left it at that and wrote him off. However, your deep enthusiasm for his music has prompted me to give his music another chance. But I want to do it right. What are some of his most beloved pieces, both for you and generally speaking?
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 12:27:47 PM by vers la flamme »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #215 on: June 28, 2020, 12:33:55 PM »
I've heard only one work of Finzi's, the Eclogue, which I found boring and utterly forgettable, and I left it at that and wrote him off. However, your deep enthusiasm for his music has prompted me to give his music another chance. But I want to do it right. What are some of his most beloved pieces, both for you and generally speaking?

You didn’t ask me, but check out the Cello Concerto, Nocturne - New Year Music, The Fall of the Leaf and Requiem da camera. I don’t know about ‘most beloved’, but these are works I enjoy immensely and I think you will too.
“There will be sunshine again and the violins will sing of peace on earth.” - Closing line from Weinberg’s Symphony No. 6, Op. 79

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #216 on: June 28, 2020, 12:43:50 PM »
I've heard only one work of Finzi's, the Eclogue, which I found boring and utterly forgettable, and I left it at that and wrote him off. However, your deep enthusiasm for his music has prompted me to give his music another chance. But I want to do it right. What are some of his most beloved pieces, both for you and generally speaking?
I think that 'Dies Natalis' is his masterpiece and the version conducted by Finzi's son Christopher who died a few months ago and sung by Wilfred Broen is the one to have. There is a very fine Lyrita CD conducted by Boult. I'd also recommend the disc below:

« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 12:48:19 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 vers la flamme

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #217 on: June 28, 2020, 01:22:16 PM »
I think that 'Dies Natalis' is his masterpiece and the version conducted by Finzi's son Christopher who died a few months ago and sung by Wilfred Broen is the one to have. There is a very fine Lyrita CD conducted by Boult. I'd also recommend the disc below:



I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for both—thanks.

I'm listening to the Eclogue again and finding it less boring this time, but still it does seem a bit on the cloying side. I can tell that Finzi was a talented composer, but it appears vocal music was more his forte.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 01:25:33 PM by vers la flamme »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #218 on: June 29, 2020, 02:47:16 AM »
I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for both—thanks.

I'm listening to the Eclogue again and finding it less boring this time, but still it does seem a bit on the cloying side. I can tell that Finzi was a talented composer, but it appears vocal music was more his forte.
Sorry, I meant Wifred Brown for 'Dies Natalis'. 'In Terra Pax' is one of my favourite works by Finzi although I tend to like all of his music.
"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 kyjo

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #219 on: June 30, 2020, 01:13:56 PM »
I've heard only one work of Finzi's, the Eclogue, which I found boring and utterly forgettable, and I left it at that and wrote him off. However, your deep enthusiasm for his music has prompted me to give his music another chance. But I want to do it right. What are some of his most beloved pieces, both for you and generally speaking?

I could see why some would find the Eclogue rather cloying (though I love it). I think the Cello Concerto is Finzi’s masterpiece (though you may not like the slow movement) - I’d highly recommend the Hugh (Naxos) and Watkins (Chandos) recordings. In addition to the works Jeffrey and John mentioned, don’t miss the song cycle Let Us Garlands Bring and the large-scale choral/orchestral work Intimations of Immortality. The Clarinet Concerto is probably his most “beloved” work, but curiously one of his most serious and least “sentimental”, so you may like it. Since you’re not a huge RVW fan, you may not get on with Finzi either, but it’s good that you’re giving him another chance! ;)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2020, 01:15:33 PM by kyjo »
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff