Author Topic: Gerald Finzi  (Read 41095 times)

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Mark

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #40 on: October 21, 2007, 03:23:13 PM »
I just wish he'd completed the Piano Concerto of which his surviving Eclogue was allegedly the second movement. Actually, isn't there a story that he did finish it, but later destroyed the outer movements? Or did I dream that? :D

Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #41 on: October 21, 2007, 03:38:55 PM »
The Eclogue is an early work of course, but he worked on it again in later years - the title is posthumous. The Grand Fantasia and Toccata, with its Bachian grandeur is a reworking what was to be the third movement, and was completed near the end of his life. I can't actually remember whether the first movement was completed in its entirety, though I suspect not (I will read up about it when I get the chance). No completed movement survives of course, but there is a very interesting dissertation listed here:
http://www.geraldfinzi.org/?page=resources/bibliography.html entitled J Cook: Towards a Performing Version of the Finzi Piano Concerto (BA Hons dissertation, Oxford University, 1994), which I have tried to get hold of, but to no avail. Thanks for reminding me, I will look into it again. I tried to find the person in question, and it turns out that there were two more J. Cooks who did music at Oxford at that time (!), but neither of them wrote the dissertation. The "Elgar" piano concerto appeared a few years ago of course, and I would have thought that if there was a movement floating around then someone would have recorded it given that the other two movements are complete.
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Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2007, 03:45:37 PM »
One of the remarkable things about Finzi of course is that his style hardly changes after the early 30s, and his hallmarks are all present from the early 20s. What did increase was his palete of expression, emotional breadth, formal designs, artistic content and aspirations and the ability to write a decent allegro! There are at least 4 aborted pieces where only the middle movement survives! (Eclogue, Introit, Elegy and Interlude). Then of course the Prelude, and The Fall of the leaf, both slow from his projected chamber symphony 'The Bud, the Blossom and the Berry', the Prelude and Fugue for string trio from the projected string trio/quartet.
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Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2007, 03:23:05 PM »
Listening to Lo, the full, final sacrifice. May have my favourite beginning (or rather where the choir come in), and ending (that final Amen) of any piece that I know. The whole thing is glorious, and to my mind the greatest example of his choral writing. Stephen Banfield, Finzi's Biographer, thinks that the opening page of organ music is the finest thing that Finzi ever wrote, despite Finzi claiming to dislike the intrument.

I adore this piece.
Geologist.

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Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2007, 03:26:28 PM »
With regards to choral recordings - the Finzi singers are absolutely superb, and hopelessly outclass the Naxos Cambridge choir (John's is it?). I think more mature voices, and the mixture of women's and men's voices fit Finzi's idiom far better than the classic church choir does.
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Offline 71 dB

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #45 on: October 24, 2007, 01:13:15 AM »
With regards to choral recordings - the Finzi singers are absolutely superb, and hopelessly outclass the Naxos Cambridge choir (John's is it?). I think more mature voices, and the mixture of women's and men's voices fit Finzi's idiom far better than the classic church choir does.

All my Finzi CDs are Naxos but I still enjoy the music.  :P
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Mark

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #46 on: October 24, 2007, 01:19:16 AM »
Guido's right: the Finzi Singers are excellent. I have the Chandos disc to which I believe he's referring, and there's not a dude performance on it. Must dig it out later ...

Harry

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #47 on: October 24, 2007, 01:20:11 AM »
All works recorded on Naxos from this composer are excellent value, and since I dislike his Choral works, that's no problem to me. :)

Mark

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #48 on: October 24, 2007, 01:23:41 AM »
All works recorded on Naxos from this composer are excellent value, and since I dislike his Choral works, that's no problem to me. :)

Don't get me wrong: I think Naxos' vocal recordings of Finzi are fine indeed. The Chandos is just a little better. :)

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #49 on: October 24, 2007, 01:32:49 AM »
All works recorded on Naxos from this composer are excellent value, and since I dislike his Choral works, that's no problem to me. :)

You still dislike choral works?  ??? I thought you are warming up to them as you have started to like opera.

The Chandos is just a little better. :)

And more expensive.  :'(

I have Elgar's Part Songs by The Finzi Singers.  :D

BTW, I am considering this CHANDOS CD.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 01:35:20 AM by 71 dB »
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"

Harry

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #50 on: October 24, 2007, 01:39:09 AM »
You still dislike choral works?  ??? I thought you are warming up to them as you have started to like opera.

And more expensive.  :'(

I have Elgar's Part Songs by The Finzi Singers.  :D

BTW, I am considering this CHANDOS CD.

I have to be more exact, I dislike Choral works from some composers, mostly dated after 1850.
And yes I am warming up my friend, but very slowly...........

Mark

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #51 on: October 24, 2007, 01:51:03 AM »
BTW, I am considering this CHANDOS CD.

An excellent choice. The recording of the Prelude on that disc marginally outclasses the version on Naxos, and the complete, premiere recording of his Violin Concerto (restoring his beautiful 'Introit in F' to its rightful place as the central movement) is much more than a mere curio. ;)

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #52 on: October 24, 2007, 02:01:08 AM »
I have to be more exact, I dislike Choral works from some composers, mostly dated after 1850.
And yes I am warming up my friend, but very slowly...........

I see. Anyway, you like many choral works from other composers/before 1850.  ;)

An excellent choice. The recording of the Prelude on that disc marginally outclasses the version on Naxos, and the complete, premiere recording of his Violin Concerto (restoring his beautiful 'Introit in F' to its rightful place as the central movement) is much more than a mere curio. ;)

Okay, thanks. I'll move it to my (hopelessly long) wishlist...  ;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 vandermolen

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #53 on: October 24, 2007, 02:40:13 AM »
"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).

Mark

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #54 on: November 04, 2007, 03:57:35 PM »
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.

You know, Guido, while I still agree that Hugh rules this work, this Ma re-release is proving more worth my while than that bloody Wallfisch recording. ;D

Ma's bowing can seem a bit wild and angular at times, but he certainly seems to invest his performance with more of an understanding of the pain which I believe lies behind this work than does Wallfisch. And more so here than on the Chandos, Handley gets the accompaniment pretty much bang on. Glad I decided to download this, actually. :)


Offline drogulus

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #55 on: November 04, 2007, 05:07:32 PM »
Listening to Lo, the full, final sacrifice. May have my favourite beginning (or rather where the choir come in), and ending (that final Amen) of any piece that I know. The whole thing is glorious, and to my mind the greatest example of his choral writing. Stephen Banfield, Finzi's Biographer, thinks that the opening page of organ music is the finest thing that Finzi ever wrote, despite Finzi claiming to dislike the intrument.

I adore this piece.

I agree completely.

Finzi disliked the organ?? I wonder what he would have written for it if he'd loved it?
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Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #56 on: November 04, 2007, 05:14:49 PM »
Excellent Mark.

Yes - he claimed not to like it at all, which is why it shows up so rarley in his output, despite composing many vocal works.
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Offline drogulus

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #57 on: November 16, 2007, 07:00:50 AM »
My favourite Finzi CD (alongside the Wilfrid Brown version of Dies Natalis:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finzi-Orchestral-London-Philharmonic-Orchestra/dp/B000N8UVR6/ref=sr_1_5/202-9347871-3364610?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1193225933&sr=1-5

     
     This is wonderful timing! Just before I read your post I was over at Amazon looking at that very page.
 

Yes - he [Finzi] claimed not to like it at all, which is why it shows up so rarely in his output, despite composing many vocal works.
     
     Guido, I don't doubt what you say at all, but not only did he include the organ in several of his choral works, the parts aren't just a bit of pedal and a soft chordal reinforcement of vocal parts. The organ parts are detailed, imaginative and often call attention to the instrument in a way that can hardly be called accidental. If he disliked the organ, he found a strange way to show it.

     Works with organ:

     My lovely one, Op. 27, No. 1
     God is gone up, Op. 27, No. 2
     Welcome sweet and sacred feast, Op. 27, No. 3
     Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice, Op. 26
     Let us now praise famous men, Op. 35
     Magnificat, Op. 36

     This may be all of them, but it's not a negligible fraction of Finzi's choral output. And several of them are among his greatest and in fact most popular works. He would have been a very significant composer for organ had he overcome whatever objections he may have had. That's just an opinion, of course, but listening to the works listed above gives me that impression. Incidentally, all of these works are included in this CD discussed elsewhere in this thread.


   
« Last Edit: November 16, 2007, 07:02:29 AM by drogulus »
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Offline Guido

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #58 on: November 16, 2007, 05:37:30 PM »
Hi. Yes that's very interesting isn't it - as I said before, especially in Lo, the Full Final Sacrifice the organ writing is just superb. But he was such a fastidious craftsmen that he would never have produced something that he was not completely happy with, even if he was not hugely pleased with the materials that he had to work with. Just as a side note, he made an orchestral arrangement of the Magnificat which he preferred.
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Offline drogulus

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Re: Gerald Finzi
« Reply #59 on: November 17, 2007, 01:46:10 PM »
Hi. Yes that's very interesting isn't it - as I said before, especially in Lo, the Full Final Sacrifice the organ writing is just superb. But he was such a fastidious craftsmen that he would never have produced something that he was not completely happy with, even if he was not hugely pleased with the materials that he had to work with. Just as a side note, he made an orchestral arrangement of the Magnificat which he preferred.

   Yes, I have that version, Guido, but I prefer the organ accompaniment in this piece.  :)

   
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