Gerald Finzi

Started by tjguitar, April 16, 2007, 02:08:51 PM

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calyptorhynchus

I just found this nice performance of the Cello Concerto on YouTube

https://youtu.be/CcuaLej7EhQ

There's not much detail but it's performed by Michael Grebanier and the San Francisco SO. Grenbanier was the principal cellist and sometimes soloist with the SFSO from 1977 and died in 2019, so that doesn't really narrow down when this performance took place much!
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

kyjo

Quote from: Roasted Swan on August 09, 2021, 07:03:08 AM
I listened to the Cello Concerto the other day in this version;



I can't fault the performance - but I found I had the same reaction I do every time I listen to this work.  Love the opening movement and then as it procedes my interest wanes and by the end I'm almost bored.  Still don't know why.  The couplings on this naxos disc are great - Peter Donohoe is such a fine pianist.  But is there an odder piece than the Grand Fantasia & Toccata.  Starts as Bach on steroids for about the first seven solo minutes then hammers away with the orchestra too before the six minute early Walton toccata/fugato.  More fun to listen to than my description might read.  But how on earth do you programme this?  It sounds hard for the soloist and feels 'big' but at just 15 minutes is not a "concerto" and a bit long as an opener!

Although the Finzi is one of my all-time favorite cello concerti, I can understand your reservations regarding the first movement. It has a gripping opening and, later on, a soulful cadenza which builds up steam to a desperately intense coda which ends with a "scream into the abyss" (perhaps I'm reading too much into it :D). But yes, the middle chunk of the movement does tend to meander a bit. Surely you can't have any reservations about the slow movement and finale, though? ;) To me, the slow movement is one of the purest expressions of heartfelt longing ever written, and the finale sounds to me like "smiling in the face of sadness" with its indomitable sense of joy that's slightly tinged with melancholy. In light of Finzi's close-to-death circumstances while writing the work I find it all tremendously moving!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

Irons

Quote from: kyjo on September 14, 2021, 02:57:41 PM
Although the Finzi is one of my all-time favorite cello concerti, I can understand your reservations regarding the first movement. It has a gripping opening and, later on, a soulful cadenza which builds up steam to a desperately intense coda which ends with a "scream into the abyss" (perhaps I'm reading too much into it :D). But yes, the middle chunk of the movement does tend to meander a bit. Surely you can't have any reservations about the slow movement and finale, though? ;) To me, the slow movement is one of the purest expressions of heartfelt longing ever written, and the finale sounds to me like "smiling in the face of sadness" with its indomitable sense of joy that's slightly tinged with melancholy. In light of Finzi's close-to-death circumstances while writing the work I find it all tremendously moving!

+1
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

Symphonic Addict



Earlier I was listening to The Fall of the Leaf from this extraordinary CD. Finzi permeates his music with the purest and most sincere possible expression. It features a tune that could easily be found in film music. Just charming.
Part of the tragedy of the Palestinians is that they have essentially no international support for a good reason: they've no wealth, they've no power, so they've no rights.

Noam Chomsky

Irons

#264
Quote from: Symphonic Addict on September 15, 2021, 08:00:23 PM


Earlier I was listening to The Fall of the Leaf from this extraordinary CD. Finzi permeates his music with the purest and most sincere possible expression. It features a tune that could easily be found in film music. Just charming.

Sincerity is a key attribute of Finzi's music. I just wish he was not so critical of his own compositions and then perhaps we would be able to enjoy a complete violin concerto.

Silly to ask as there is not much you have not listened to! ;D Have you got around to this particular recording of Dies Natalis?

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

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

vandermolen

Quote from: Symphonic Addict on September 15, 2021, 08:00:23 PM


Earlier I was listening to The Fall of the Leaf from this extraordinary CD. Finzi permeates his music with the purest and most sincere possible expression. It features a tune that could easily be found in film music. Just charming.
Best Finzi CD known to me although Wilfred Brown's recording of 'Dies Natalis' is perhaps best of all.
"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).

Roasted Swan

Quote from: vandermolen on September 17, 2021, 11:08:38 AM
Best Finzi CD known to me although Wilfred Brown's recording of 'Dies Natalis' is perhaps best of all.

Old territory I know but goodness the artistic and technical quality of those Lyrita recordings almost without exception was absurdly high.  As a label their releases still give me collectively as much pleasure as any.......

vandermolen

Quote from: Roasted Swan on September 17, 2021, 12:35:10 PM
Old territory I know but goodness the artistic and technical quality of those Lyrita recordings almost without exception was absurdly high.  As a label their releases still give me collectively as much pleasure as any.......
Me too RS. I owe Lyrita a lot for introducing me to so many fine composers (via my local record library) such as Bax, Foulds, Rootham, Alwyn, Scott, Hadley ('The Trees so High') etcetc.
"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).

Irons

Quote from: Roasted Swan on September 17, 2021, 12:35:10 PM
Old territory I know but goodness the artistic and technical quality of those Lyrita recordings almost without exception was absurdly high.  As a label their releases still give me collectively as much pleasure as any.......

The only section of my LPs sorted by label not composer.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Irons on September 19, 2021, 11:45:48 PM
The only section of my LPs sorted by label not composer.
Interesting!  ;D

PD

Irons

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on September 20, 2021, 03:14:20 AM
Interesting!  ;D

PD

Oddly, information pertaining to Lyrita is hard, but not impossible, to come by. Richard Itter, unlike Decca and EMI, were not forthcoming with dates and recording personal for his recordings.
During a discussion on a YT channel I wondered how many Lyrita recordings there actually are. Itter made 20 odd in his home studio. The first orchestral recording SRCS 31 (Ireland) 1966 and the last SRCS 130 (RVW/Foulds) in1984. There are some odds and ends, an Alwyn opera for example, but I am surprised. The sum total does not far as I can tell reach 130. I thought it would be double that.
You must have a very good opinion of yourself to write a symphony - John Ireland.

I opened the door people rushed through and I was left holding the knob - Bo Diddley.

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Irons on September 20, 2021, 07:44:16 AM
Oddly, information pertaining to Lyrita is hard, but not impossible, to come by. Richard Itter, unlike Decca and EMI, were not forthcoming with dates and recording personal for his recordings.
During a discussion on a YT channel I wondered how many Lyrita recordings there actually are. Itter made 20 odd in his home studio. The first orchestral recording SRCS 31 (Ireland) 1966 and the last SRCS 130 (RVW/Foulds) in1984. There are some odds and ends, an Alwyn opera for example, but I am surprised. The sum total does not far as I can tell reach 130. I thought it would be double that.
Hmm...a bit surprised too that it was that small of a number.

PD

Mirror Image

Count me as a fan of the Lyrita label. I don't think I've ever heard anything objectionable about any of the recordings I've heard. Superb sonics, too.

calyptorhynchus

#273
We've had some rather good electoral news in Australia overnight. So this morning I decided to celebrate listening to some music; of all the music I could have chosen I lit first upon Finzi 'White-flowering Days', which I always find rather moving... as I did today.

How weird is music and the arts generally, to celebrate the election an Australian Labor Federal government (theoretically republican), I chose an English, pastoral celebration of the Queen's coronation!
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

Oates

Finzi's Eclogue heads up this new Somm release:

https://somm-recordings.com/recording/eclogue-british-chamber-music/

"Gerald Finzi's Eclogue for example, scored for piano and string ensemble may well seem sonically airy, but it still contains highly evocative and dramatic writing that stirs the soul..."


calyptorhynchus

#275
I have long wanted to get hold of a copy of the Gerald Finzi/Howard Ferguson Letters (published in 2000), but it was an expensive volume new and second-hand copies were more expensive. However recently I found a copy for about half-price and so bought it.

However I was disappointed to find that all the valuable bits of the letters were already excerpted in Banfield's book on Finzi and wasn't really anything else of value in the volume for me.

However, despite short-selling it , if anyone would like to acquire this volume I'd be happy to post it to them for the cost of postage (likely to be $20/£12 or so).
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

calyptorhynchus

After reading the Gerald Finzi/Howard Ferguson Letters I decided to read Banfield's book again, (I'd read it in 1999 and couple of times since).

What struck me this time much more was how Banfield really doesn't like Finzi's music (so why did agree to write the book on being asked by the Finzi Trust whether he would?). So I decided to go through and every time Banfield discusses a Finzi work and compares it unfavourable with another work or more generally with the work of another composer I have listened to the Finzi work and the work alluded to, or a similar piece by the composer mentioned more favourably. In almost all cases Finzi comes out on top for me.

I think Finzi's music is a classic case of music that sounds much better than it looks on the page (as Banfield the musicologist sees it).
'Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth.' Robert Burton

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: calyptorhynchus on August 21, 2023, 02:08:58 PMAfter reading the Gerald Finzi/Howard Ferguson Letters I decided to read Banfield's book again, (I'd read it in 1999 and couple of times since).

What struck me this time much more was how Banfield really doesn't like Finzi's music (so why did agree to write the book on being asked by the Finzi Trust whether he would?). So I decided to go through and every time Banfield discusses a Finzi work and compares it unfavourable with another work or more generally with the work of another composer I have listened to the Finzi work and the work alluded to, or a similar piece by the composer mentioned more favourably. In almost all cases Finzi comes out on top for me.

I think Finzi's music is a classic case of music that sounds much better than it looks on the page (as Banfield the musicologist sees it).
Yes, it seems like a strange task for someone to undertake if they didn't like the music.  ::) I do love his music and find it to be very moving...particularly his cello concerto.

PD

Roasted Swan

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on August 22, 2023, 04:53:28 AMYes, it seems like a strange task for someone to undertake if they didn't like the music.  ::) I do love his music and find it to be very moving...particularly his cello concerto.

PD

Slightly off thread topic but in similar vein - A E F Dickinson's "Vaughan Williams" [Faber & Faber pub. 1963]; Dickinson is definitely a "glass half-empty" kind or writer/analyst - prone to find flaws in music before beauty or emotion.  In purely research terms it has been long superseded but its still a curio as to why bother writing it in the first place!


vandermolen

Quote from: Roasted Swan on August 23, 2023, 05:44:27 AMSlightly off thread topic but in similar vein - A E F Dickinson's "Vaughan Williams" [Faber & Faber pub. 1963]; Dickinson is definitely a "glass half-empty" kind or writer/analyst - prone to find flaws in music before beauty or emotion.  In purely research terms it has been long superseded but its still a curio as to why bother writing it in the first place!


Contains some nice photos too!
"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).