GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: tjguitar on April 16, 2007, 01:08:51 PM

Title: Gerald Finzi
Post by: tjguitar 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?

(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000LC4WUG.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Harry 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. :)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 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

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000005GSD.01._SCLZZZZZZZ)
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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB on April 17, 2007, 09:22:01 AM
Intimations of Immortality.

I didn't remember I had this work [Naxos]!  ;D
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 on April 17, 2007, 09:23:15 AM
What do you think of it?

Mike
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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).
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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...
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000005GSD.01._SCLZZZZZZZ)
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).
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Montpellier 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. 

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Brewski 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.

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/66876.jpg)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Boris_G 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?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: canninator 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: canninator 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?

(http://ec2.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000LC4WUG.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_AA240_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark 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:

(http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/dec98/Finzi.jpg)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark 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 (http://www.geraldfinzi.org/)

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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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).
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 20, 2007, 10:11:00 PM
Thanks for that assessment of the Ma recording, Guido. As I already have the impeccable Hugh (and romantically inclined Wallfisch), it sounds as though I can safely strike the Lyrita disc from my wishlist. ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 21, 2007, 12:56:07 AM
I love the music of Finzi, but the one piece of his I love above all others is In Terra Pax, a wonderful evocation of Christmas which fuses a Robert Bridges poem with the story of the appearance of the angels to the shepherds, as recounted in the Gospel of St Luke. It is available on this 2 CD set

(http://www.iclassics.com/content/assets/selection/60/59327E.jpg)

though my favourite performance of it, which was also on Decca, no longer seems to be available. It was conducted by Richard Hickox with Norma Burrowes and John Shirley-Quirk as the soloists. However this is still a useful set, including, as it does, the Langridge/Hickox Dies Natalis and For St Cecilia, the Magnificat, a Romance for String Orchestra, and two song cycles, Earth and Air and Rain, sung by Benjamin Luxon and Let us Garlands Bring, sung by Bryn Terfel.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 03:50:44 AM
In Terra Pax is such a wonderful piece - Finzi said he intended it to fill the huge gap between Christmas Carols and the Christmas Oratorio. Diana McVeagh, Finzi's biographer calls it a masterpiece by a minor composer. I second the recommendation for that set - all wonderful performances, with my favourite Deis Natalis, and very good singing all round.

You are welcome Mark. Hugh's is such a brilliant performance. Let's just be thankful that they didn't ask Kliegel to fill the role. >:D
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 21, 2007, 03:58:18 AM
Let's just be thankful that they didn't ask Kliegel to fill the role. >:D

Couldn't resist that, could you? >:(



;D
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 10:45:04 AM
Quote
Couldn't resist that, could you?

No. ;D
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: sound67 on October 21, 2007, 10:46:46 AM
Thanks for that assessment of the Ma recording, Guido. As I already have the impeccable Hugh (and romantically inclined Wallfisch), it sounds as though I can safely strike the Lyrita disc from my wishlist. ;)

I have to say that I disagree with his assessment. Ma may not be "into" the idiom as much as players specializing in Englsih music are, but he's still vastly more talented than many of his generation, and also more than Tim Hugh. The Naxos recording isn't bad, but even without the competition from Lyrita it pales against Raphael Wallfisch's reading of the solo part.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 11:04:09 AM
As you know, I disagree strongly with that view (that Wallfisch is better than Hugh) and many agree with me, including Mark actually. Tim Hugh is one of the greatest talents of his generation in fact (quite a bit younger than Ma actually) - I absolutely agree that now Ma is deservedly the more famous - he has a natural charisma, unbelievable talent, great ideas, and an incredibe love for music that make him a truly unique package. But at the time of this recording, he was just 24 and this was his first commercial recording, and the reading he gives of the part, as I said, is really not up to his later standards. As I also said, it's not just talent that makes a recording great - tempos, mic placement, orchestra, conductor etc. also play a great role.

We could also discuss the three men's recordings of the Britten or the Walton, and I'm sure that we would disagree with these too! The Penguin guide recommends Hugh's Walton as the best recorded account actually if I remember correctly. All of these are opinions of course, and nothing beats the experience of listening for oneself, but since Mark agree with me on the Wallfisch/Hugh front, he might well agree with me about the Ma. He might not of course! I'll agree to disagree.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: sound67 on October 21, 2007, 11:09:35 AM
We could also discuss the three men's recordings of the Britten or the Walton, and I'm sure that we would disagree with these too! The Penguin guide recommends Hugh's Walton as the best recorded account actually if I remember correctly. All of these are opinions of course, and nothing beats the experience of listening for oneself, but since Mark agree with me on the Wallfisch/Hugh front, he might well agree with me about the Ma. He might not of course! I'll agree to disagree.

The "best" recording of the Walton is Müller-Schott's anyway.  ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 11:13:38 AM
That is indeed a fantastic one, as is his Elgar IMO. Of the 12 versions I own it ranks among the highest, along with Ma and of course Tim Hugh (!). There's a fair amount of recordings of this piece by quite famous artists that are really not as good though, even one with the composer conducting!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 21, 2007, 12:56:15 PM
Guido, you have my unfailing support in the Hugh vs. Wallfisch debate regarding recordings of Finzi's Cello Concerto.

Wallfisch is all 'lovey dovey' and takes out all the bite, the sting and the hurt that the composer was so obviously feeling when he wrote this tremendous work. In short (and as I've said before), Wallfisch romanticises the work, and in so doing, misses the point of it almost entirely.

Hugh gives us humanity, energy, urgency, a railing against God and a submission to the the Will of the same. He also imbues the final movement with an unbridled sense of joy; and - perhaps more importantly - hope.

Had Finzi heard Wallfisch's version on his death bed (the Cello Concerto was the last thing Finzi heard on the radio the evening before he died), he'd have wished he'd died a day earlier.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 01:27:32 PM
Quote
Hugh gives us humanity, energy, urgency, a railing against God and a submission to the the Will of the same. He also imbues the final movement with an unbridled sense of joy; and - perhaps more importantly - hope.

Couldn't have put it better myself (though of course Finzi was a committed agnostic, if thats possible!).

Quote
Had Finzi heard Wallfisch's version on his death bed (the Cello Concerto was the last thing Finzi heard on the radio the evening before he died), he'd have wished he'd died a day earlier.

Lol! Maybe a little extreme!

Actually he showed few signs of recognising the music as his own, that night, and he died in the morning. So sad.

I have tried to get a copy of this broadcast for ages (with the brilliant cellist and pedagogue Christopher Bunting as soloist), but it seems like it's gone missing - the BBC didn't keep everything in those days as they still weren't sure of the value of radio.

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 21, 2007, 01:42:44 PM
Yes, I'm aware of Finzi's agnosticism ... but don't you feel in his music a deep and real sense of the spiritual? I certainly do, and nowhere more so than in the Cello Concerto. It's almost a battle of Beethovian proportion between God and composer.

So as to be fair to the Wallfisch recording, I'm listening to it again right now. Wallfisch's playing is beautiful, lyrical; his bow dancing on and off the strings in those opening bars. But where's the heart? Where's the passion? Where's the anger born of knowing you have cancer and the prognosis is the worst it can be? Handley and the RLPO are delivering their share and then some, no doubt about that. Wallfisch just isn't pulling his weight. He's singing his way through, not fighting his way through, as Hugh does with such drama and genuine blood, sweat and tears in his Naxos recording. All the Chandos alternative has to offer (aside from Handley and co.) is greater sonic strengths and better mic positioning. A shame: such a great opportunity lost.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 21, 2007, 02:14:13 PM
And so, we're onto the second movement. Here, the opening tempo drags - back to the reference Hugh recording, and we find things are a tad quicker; there's optimism (or perhaps stoic resignation) to contrast with those parts of the score which are necessarily and appropriately bittersweet. The Chandos recording comes down on the wrong side of Hollywood sentimentality and schmultz; there's syrup here, and it leaves a funny taste in the mouth. Handley's as much to blame: he fails to set the pace needed if we're to believe that the pulse which coarses so hard through the first movement is still a good way above resting. What we get is something close to a flat line. Finzi's perhaps saying, 'I'm going to die, but I'm not dead yet'. Taken too slowly, this movement feels out of place by the time the finale begins.

Looking at that final movement, what do we find Wallfisch doing? Trying to make the opening bars into some kind of perverse Bach Cello Suite-esque affair. Plucking strings too boldly, with no reverence for the preceding movement. Not so with Hugh, who plays delicately here, gently setting the mood for the sunnier main theme that signals that joy for life and all-important hope of which I spoke earlier. No, Wallfisch clearly doesn't 'get' this work. Or if he does, he didn't on the day of recording.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 02:24:01 PM
Very interesting. I agree with almost everything that you are saying - I couldn;t really put my finger on why I didn;t like Wallfisch, but I think you've got it.

In this  piece I think Finzi really plumbs the depths of the human condition, of the meaning of life and if he doesn't always have the answers, he conveys his anguish, reconciliation and hope utterly convincingly and extraordinarily beautifully.

By the way if you think the slow movement is slow with Wallfisch, listen to Ma! Handley sets an even slower pace (14.38)! I think the slow movement is the one that Wallfisch does best.

As you probably know, Finzi was an excrutiatingly slow worker, and it took him four years to pull together the first two movements. But the third was written in 9 days! Although it is not quite of the same fastidious quality of the first two movements, I don't think it shows up as a weak movement, and the incredible life affirming joy it projects is extremely poignent and moving given what we know about his circumstances.

The final mercurial flick and scamper seems an odd way to finish such a monumental work - but Finzi is never drawn to bombast of course. It also starts in an odd way - those plucked double octaves (a 15th apart!), and then then the chordal elaboration of the theme, with the wind instruments appearing out of the mists - it really has nothing to do with the rest of the movement. It's a sort of bridge passage I suppose between the second and third movements.

He also provides a bridge between the first and the second by making the final chord of the first movement fade into nothing, taking almost half a minute to do so, so that the serenity of the Andante Quieto seems far more natural than it otherwise would after those four enormous hammer blows.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 21, 2007, 02:36:19 PM
Ma goes slower in the middle? Is that possible? :o

Interesting comments about the third movement. It does feel very different to the other two, yet never out of place. That gentle opening for soloist was a master stroke. It ties everything together with the second movement. And the closing flourish. How appropriate for an agnostic facing an abrupt and uncertain (yet, conversely, quite certain) end.

I'm now listening to Hugh again. Man, the guy makes you believe him. He's not so much the work's soloist as the inner voice of its composer. There's a section nearer the beginning of the first movement where the orchestra are carrying the theme, while Hugh's cello sobs. You can picture Finzi, facing his drastically shortened future, sat in his study composing and then, perhaps, breaking down. And then there's Hugh's flawless handling of the long cadenza. When I heard Wallfisch playing this, I thought, 'What the hell are you doing, man!? This isn't a showcase for your virtuosity - it's a man's private pain. Show some damned respect!'
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 03:00:14 PM
Quote
I'm now listening to Hugh again. Man, the guy makes you believe him. He's not so much the work's soloist as the inner voice of its composer.

I am glad that people feel things so similarly to me!

Quote
There's a section nearer the beginning of the first movement where the orchestra are carrying the theme, while Hugh's cello sobs

Which bit are you referring to? (timing?)

 I have discussed this piece a lot with my cello teacher, and at first she thought Wallfisch was far superior, but the more we talked about it over a few months, the more she was swayed to Hugh's interpretation.

The ending of the piece is like a final desperate struggle before the end, like a trapped animal expending that last burst of energy before the inevitable, but there seems to be a final brief moment of elation and perfect realisation.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 21, 2007, 03:10:11 PM
Which bit are you referring to? (timing?)

4' 08" - 4' 16"

Quote
The ending of the piece is like a final desperate struggle before the end, like a trapped animal expending that last burst of energy before the inevitable, but there seems to be a final brief moment of elation and perfect realisation.

For me, that ending is almost like an unconscious premonition. Here's Finzi, a self-affirmed agnostic, faced with his own mortality. He expects there to be nothing beyond the veil of death. Yet what do we hear at the close of his last work? A brief moment of surprise, perhaps? It's as though we're going with him, musically, to the moment of his death, and we discover with him that death is nought but an illusion - there is something more, but we can't go further with him and dispell our own fears about death: this is where we leave him, surprised that he was wrong, and happy to be so.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 03:17:10 PM
All this theorising is very interesting, and not innapropriate I think, given what we know about Finzi, but we should remember that the piece was finishes a year or so before he died. Who knows what it all really means...
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 21, 2007, 03:18:26 PM
All this theorising is very interesting, and not innapropriate I think, given what we know about Finzi, but we should remember that the piece was finishes a year or so before he died. Who knows what it all really means...

Absolutely. Empty/fanciful conjecture on my part. ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 21, 2007, 03:20:26 PM
lol, not at all! I did say I thought that it was entirely appropriate given his circumstances, and Finzi's worldview.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark 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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB 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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark 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 ...
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Harry 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. :)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark 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. :)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB 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 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gerald-Finzi-Violin-Concerto/dp/B000056KNH/ref=sr_1_16/202-9113303-0581422?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1193221832&sr=1-16) CD.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Harry 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 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gerald-Finzi-Violin-Concerto/dp/B000056KNH/ref=sr_1_16/202-9113303-0581422?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1193221832&sr=1-16) 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...........
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark on October 24, 2007, 01:51:03 AM
BTW, I am considering this CHANDOS (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gerald-Finzi-Violin-Concerto/dp/B000056KNH/ref=sr_1_16/202-9113303-0581422?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1193221832&sr=1-16) 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. ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB 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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on October 24, 2007, 02:40:13 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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mark 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. :)

(http://cover6.cduniverse.com/MuzeAudioArt/Large/27/986227.jpg)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: drogulus 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?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: drogulus 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.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4179D5S9ASL._SS500_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Finzi-Choral-Works-Gerald/dp/B00006RHPP/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1195224739&sr=1-2)
   
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: drogulus 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.  :)

   
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: karlhenning on November 19, 2007, 11:33:10 AM
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.

It's one of a large number of pieces which I enjoy much better performing, than I do listening to a recording.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: drogulus on November 19, 2007, 12:16:41 PM
It's one of a large number of pieces which I enjoy much better performing, than I do listening to a recording.

I've been begging the Spectrum Singers* to do this one for years. They've sung several Finzi works beautifully, but I've never heard my favorite performed.

*A Boston choral group whose concerts I've attended for the last dozen years or so.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on November 20, 2007, 06:47:41 AM
It's one of a large number of pieces which I enjoy much better performing, than I do listening to a recording.
That's great that you are performing it! I find most Romantic symphonies more enjoyable to play than to listen to.

Quote
I've been begging the Spectrum Singers* to do this one for years. They've sung several Finzi works beautifully, but I've never heard my favorite performed.

Keep on pushing! Anyone who has heard the piece would surely jump at the chance to perform it!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on December 23, 2007, 09:07:38 AM
Good news! The RPO are playing Finzi's cello concerto with Robert Cohen as soloist on the 1st of April 2008 (I hope that its not a joke). Finzi's greatest work, and a truly great unknown masterpiece. Robert Cohen is an extremely talented musician.

I am very excited.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on December 24, 2007, 01:19:33 AM
This is a good time to be playing "In Terra Pax": a great work.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Tsaraslondon on December 26, 2007, 12:33:26 PM
This is a good time to be playing "In Terra Pax": a great work.

My all time favourite Christmas piece.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: head-case on January 01, 2008, 11:32:45 PM
Just finished listening to my favorite Finzi recording, the Clarinet Concerti, performed by Thea King with the Philharmonia (conducted by Alun Francis).  It is a hyperion recording, now available as a "helios."  Beautiful music, I love the contrast between the string orchestra's dissonant, contrapuntal outbursts and the clarinet's poignant melodies in the first movement.  The theme from the finale could have come from the pen of Mozart.  The performance is brilliant, particularly the string orchestra.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: drogulus on September 13, 2008, 06:47:09 AM
This is a good time to be playing "In Terra Pax": a great work.

     I saw the Spectrum Singers, a Boston choral group, perform this in 2006, and I enjoyed it more than I did the recording on the Decca Finzi Collection disc.

     I was listening to the Eclogue a few days ago and once again I wonder how this seemingly simple work performs its magic. I try to hum the tunes and get lost with the intervals that jump all over the place. The music gets in my head but I can't sort it out, so I keep coming back. Initially I had a rather dismissive attitude towards it, which colored my view of Finzi as a composer. My views have undergone quite a reversal over the past decade or so.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Tsaraslondon on September 16, 2008, 02:02:49 PM
     I saw the Spectrum Singers, a Boston choral group, perform this in 2006, and I enjoyed it more than I did the recording on the Decca Finzi Collection disc.

     

I actually prefer an early Decca recording of the work, which is, as far as I'm aware, no longer available. It was conducted by Richard Hickox and features John Shirley-Quirk and Norma Burrowes as soloists.

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on June 22, 2009, 08:02:50 AM
Has anyone visited the Finzi house at Ashmansworth? I would really love to do this, and know that a few people have - is it an open house, or is it just the standard residence of someone now? Anyone here done it?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 on June 22, 2009, 08:27:05 PM
Guido, I have had a look at this site....

http://www.geraldfinzi.org/?page=index.html

I have not been thorough, but cannot immedately see mention of Ashmansworth. From that I assume the house is not open to the public. However, you could contact the trust, several of the Finzi family are members and would be able to let you know definatively.

Mike
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 14, 2009, 02:12:24 PM
Weeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! I've just found out that my own college orchestra is putting on Finzi's Intimations of Immortality!!! I am absolutely beside myself with excitement!!!!!!!  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

One of his finest and most moving works, it's not quite the masterpiece that say the contemporaneous Hymnus Paradisi by Howells is (they were premiered at the same Three Choirs festival, though the Howells was written earlier), it is every bit as beautiful as that work, and contains some of the most perfect choral writing ever penned by an Englishman.

I. Cannot. Wait.

!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 14, 2009, 02:13:32 PM
Aside from this, Finzi would have absolutely loved it being put on by a group of talented and enthusiastic young amateurs... I hope everyone plays and sings the hell out of it!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Brewski on October 16, 2009, 07:42:30 AM
Weeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! I've just found out that my own college orchestra is putting on Finzi's Intimations of Immortality!!! I am absolutely beside myself with excitement!!!!!!!  ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

One of his finest and most moving works, it's not quite the masterpiece that say the contemporaneous Hymnus Paradisi by Howells is (they were premiered at the same Three Choirs festival, though the Howells was written earlier), it is every bit as beautiful as that work, and contains some of the most perfect choral writing ever penned by an Englishman.

I. Cannot. Wait.

!

No wonder you are excited!  I have never heard it live, and don't recall ever seeing it on a program here in NYC.  Do report back.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: secondwind on October 16, 2009, 08:03:35 AM
What part of the world will be graced with this performance, Guido?  (I suppose driving distance from the Washington, D.C. area would be too much to hope. . . )
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on October 17, 2009, 09:23:07 AM
If you have an amphibious all terrain vehicle and a couple of weeks you might be able to drive over here to Cambridge, England.  ;D
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: secondwind on October 17, 2009, 09:41:26 AM
Sigh.  New York is about my limit. :'(
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on March 07, 2010, 01:30:26 PM
The 'classic' performance of Dies 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 of Intimations is perfection though...

Philip Langridge just died so I listened to his version of Dies Natalis again - it still has the same hushed intensity and beauty that I remember. Truly a desert island disc.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Christo on March 10, 2010, 02:33:32 AM
This is a good time to be playing "In Terra Pax": a great work.

It is. I only heard the piece for the first time this winter, thanks to Naxos' annual Christmas release, this time a fine collection with among them Finzi's In Terra Pax, the hightlight of the CD imo.

                                           (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51D9Vq0AXaL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on March 10, 2010, 10:43:45 AM
It is. I only heard the piece for the first time this winter, thanks to Naxos' annual Christmas release, this time a fine collection with among them Finzi's In Terra Pax, the hightlight of the CD imo.

                                           (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51D9Vq0AXaL._SL500_AA280_.jpg)

Yes, I can't recommend Finzi's 'In Terra Pax' strongly enough - a lovely life-enhancing work and very moving in a characteristically understated way.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 on May 31, 2010, 10:51:58 AM
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).

After some time and prompted by having today ordered a new version of this piece with Susan Gritton, I listened to the Wilfred Brown version. It has long been regarded as the definitive version. It is very beautiful and the composer's son, who conducts, captures the rhapsodic impulse perfectly. It was written over a period exceeding 10 years, but sounds all of a piece.

Brown's diction is perfect.......but it is from another age. The recording was in 1963, but this is BBC, Queen's English, Received Pronunciation from 1933. Surely it was recorded in tweed jacket and cravat! Now, I find the style gets in the way of the music. I know that it is utterly authentic, a HIP performance in its own way, but I was listening as much to the locution as to the piece.

I wonder to what extent the new version will remove for me this barrier and will it erect any new ones?

Mike

 
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on May 31, 2010, 10:14:05 PM
After some time and prompted by having today ordered a new version of this piece with Susan Gritton, I listened to the Wilfred Brown version. It has long been regarded as the definitive version. It is very beautiful and the composer's son, who conducts, captures the rhapsodic impulse perfectly. It was written over a period exceeding 10 years, but sounds all of a piece.

Brown's diction is perfect.......but it is from another age. The recording was in 1963, but this is BBC, Queen's English, Received Pronunciation from 1933. Surely it was recorded in tweed jacket and cravat! Now, I find the style gets in the way of the music. I know that it is utterly authentic, a HIP performance in its own way, but I was listening as much to the locution as to the piece.

I wonder to what extent the new version will remove for me this barrier and will it erect any new ones?

Mike

What new version? As I've said above and elsewhere on this forum, my favourite recording is still Philip Langridge's with the LSO strings - one of the best things he ever did, and one of my all time favourite recordings of anything. As a Finzi fanatic this is heretical to say, but I'm not so keen on the Wilfred Brown recording. I also can't stand it with Soprano even although that is usually my favourite voice type and it was first almost exclusively performed by sopranos.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 on May 31, 2010, 10:40:51 PM
Well you won't like the new one, it is with a soprano. Here it is

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Susan-Gritton-Britten-Chansons-Natalis/dp/B0039OR6UG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1275377739&sr=1-2

It looks like a very good programme. I doubt anyone can supass Heather Harper in the Britten, but having never heard a soprano in the Finzi I thought I would like to give it a chance. I tend to have a deaf ear for Langridge, it is normally an uningratiating voice. Ease and sweetness of tone is vital in the Finzi. Perhaps he was caught on an especially good day if you so enjoy his performance.

Mike
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on May 31, 2010, 10:45:04 PM
Well you won't like the new one, it is with a soprano. Here it is

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Susan-Gritton-Britten-Chansons-Natalis/dp/B0039OR6UG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1275377739&sr=1-2

It looks like a very good programme. I doubt anyone can supass Heather Harper in the Britten, but having never heard a soprano in the Finzi I thought I would like to give it a chance. I tend to have a deaf ear for Langridge, it is normally an uningratiating voice. Ease and sweetness of tone is vital in the Finzi. Perhaps he was caught on an especially good day if you so enjoy his performance.

Mike

Maybe I should try another soprano in this piece... who knows, I may kike it! - Philip Langridge is in ravishingly good voice in his recording - very sweet, and every phrase beautifully and lovingly shaped.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: drogulus on June 01, 2010, 03:24:33 AM


   The Naxos recording of Intimations of Immortality didn't do much for me, so I went looking for something better, which turned out to be the Lyrita recording with Ian Partridge and the Guildford Philharmonic Ch. & O. conducted by Vernon Handley. I haven't seen any reviews but this surely seems like a first choice.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB on June 01, 2010, 06:48:36 AM
The Naxos recording of Intimations of Immortality didn't do much for me.

What's wrong with it? I have that disc. I have never felt it should/could do more than it does for me...
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Guido on June 01, 2010, 10:52:36 AM

   The Naxos recording of Intimations of Immortality didn't do much for me, so I went looking for something better, which turned out to be the Lyrita recording with Ian Partridge and the Guildford Philharmonic Ch. & O. conducted by Vernon Handley. I haven't seen any reviews but this surely seems like a first choice.

I really liked the Naxos. The one I'm not so keen on is Langridge with the LPO. Haven't yet heard the Partridge one - maybe I should invest...
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: drogulus on June 01, 2010, 12:18:53 PM
What's wrong with it? I have that disc. I have never felt it should/could do more than it does for me...

    I don't care for the singer. The Lyrita is available as mp3s on Amazon (U.S.) so you can hear it for yourself.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 on June 11, 2010, 11:20:28 AM
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,555.new.html#new

I have reviewed the disc with Susan Griton, which contains Dies Natalis.

Mike
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: mjwal on June 12, 2010, 01:50:22 AM
I bought the Collins Martyn Hill/Hickox disc back in the late 80s and have never felt the need to acquire another. This CD also includes the Farewell to Arms and the clarinet concerto played by a brilliant Michael Collins. But my favourite work by Finzi remains Let Us Garlands Bring in Terfel's recording. I believe there is an orchestrated version - is that worth getting?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on June 25, 2010, 07:36:14 PM
I don't own that much of Finzi's music:
 
-Clarinet Concerto w/ other orchestral works, Howard Griffiths, Northern Sinfonia, Naxos
-Cello Concerto w/ other orchestral works, Howard Griffiths, Northern Sinfonia, Naxos
-Centenary Collection (includes Clarinet Concerto), William Boughton, English String Orch., Nimbus
-Orchestral Music, Sir Adrian Boult, Vernon Handley, London Philharmonic, New Philharmonia Orch., Lyrita
-Violin Concerto, Cello Concerto, Richard Hickox, Vernon Handley, City of London Sinfonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Chandos
-Love's Labour's Lost, Vernon Handley, Royal Philharmonic, New Philharmonia, Lyrita
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB on June 28, 2010, 06:47:25 AM
I don't own that much of Finzi's music:

Well, Finzi didn't even compose that much, did he?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: snyprrr on December 18, 2011, 09:33:02 AM
Why not?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2KdW0VeHJk
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 on December 26, 2011, 12:13:05 AM
Lovely piece, thanks for drawing it to my attention. It sounds like a beautifully idiomatic performance. I have now starred the piece on Spotify so that I don't forget it. It has all Finzi's hallmark pastoral lyricism stitched through it.

Mike
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: snyprrr on December 26, 2011, 07:49:56 AM
Lovely piece, thanks for drawing it to my attention. It sounds like a beautifully idiomatic performance. I have now starred the piece on Spotify so that I don't forget it. It has all Finzi's hallmark pastoral lyricism stitched through it.

Mike

Wonderful!! ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: snyprrr on March 30, 2012, 08:58:05 PM
Finzi love!

 :-* :-* :-*
 :-* :-* :-*
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Winky Willy on March 30, 2012, 10:04:37 PM
I also love Finzi. He is one of the best representatives of the English pastoral tradition in music.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on March 31, 2012, 03:09:16 AM
Hi everyone

I've been posting mainly over at the Havergal Brian  and Robert Simpson threads, but Finzi is also a great favourite of mine. I know almost all his works and have many recordings.

As to his vocal music, he is one of my favourite vocal composers and I think his vocal writing is so grateful for the voice and so sensitive to the words that any singer who is moderately competent can do well in Finzi. I don't have too many problems with any recordings that I know.

There's just one little problem I have, which applies to several recent recordings in English of vocal music, which is the glottal stop. I grew up in Britain in the 60s and 70s in an RP speaking family, and heard singing in English in that accent. I moved to Australia in 1991 (and I now sound like Crocodile Dundee), but when I listen to modern English English speakers all I hear are glottal stops. This applies also to singing. So in one recording I have of In Terra Pax an otherwise rather posh soprano sings "for un'oo you in the ci'y of David", which kind of ruins the effect.

 :)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Tsaraslondon on April 01, 2012, 02:00:20 AM

There's just one little problem I have, which applies to several recent recordings in English of vocal music, which is the glottal stop. I grew up in Britain in the 60s and 70s in an RP speaking family, and heard singing in English in that accent. I moved to Australia in 1991 (and I now sound like Crocodile Dundee), but when I listen to modern English English speakers all I hear are glottal stops. This applies also to singing. So in one recording I have of In Terra Pax an otherwise rather posh soprano sings "for un'oo you in the ci'y of David", which kind of ruins the effect.

 :)

It's a sad fact, that many modern singers have no idea how to sing English. Quite often they are almost unintelligible. You only have to listen to Kathleen Ferrier and Peter Pears to hear how natural sung English can sound. In more recent times, the American David Daniels also sings perfectly pronounced, intelligible English. Honestly, I don't understand why so many singers mangle our language so much. I hear they now have surtitles at the English National Opera, which rather removes the company's entire raison d'etre. I thought that the whole premise behind opera in the vernacular was so that it could be understood by an indigenous population. If the audience needs surtitles to help it make out what the singers are singing, then why bother doing it in English at all?

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: knight66 on April 01, 2012, 03:04:11 AM
Recently at a highly praised run of ROsenkavalier at ENO, I found most of the words unintelligable. John Tomlinson projected them well. At the other extreme Amanda Roocroft's words were mostly mush.

Mike
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on April 24, 2012, 03:02:23 AM
I bought the Lyrita recording (a twofer) of Finzi's Hardy settings today, through Musicweb (not only because Calyptorhynchus made me curious, I am deep into Hardy's poetry at the moment). Can't wait to listen to them.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on May 05, 2012, 03:57:12 PM
I came across some Finzi I didn't know before. It's from a BBC broadcast of the music to Love Labours Lost available to download from the Unsung Composers downloads sections (free, but you need to register).

While it includes the Suite as recorded and issued a couple of times it includes three or four songs from the play I haven't heard before, these include the cuckoo song (can't remember the first line) and 'When icicles hang by the wall', all beautiful settings for tenor and orchestra. The recording quality is good and the playing of the Suite is, for my money, better than the Nimbus recording which I know, more chamber-music quality and more intimate.

Go forth and download.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on May 07, 2012, 06:23:49 PM
A thought on Finzi.

I have always been troubled by Banfield's thesis in his biography/study, that Finzi missed being a great composer through suppressing his Jewish roots and generally holding back on his emotions.

Some of us read haiku and value restrained emotions.

[Sips green tea].

Anyway, that aside, I have thought that sometimes Finzi's Jewishness is expressed in his music, albeit slyly. For example in his Magnificat there is the over-repetition of "Abraham" (far more repeats than the music needs). But the best example is in the Cello Concerto. I got this insight from listening to David Diamond's Kaddish, a piece for cello and orchestra from the 1980s. This, as the name suggests, is a piece founded on traditional synagogue melodies (Diamond's Kol Nidrei). What is remarkable about it is how reminiscent this music is of the melodic material from the Finzi Cello Concerto first movement. In other words, here Finzi, in some of the most turbulent passages of music he penned, brought back memories of synagogue music from his childhood.. to brilliant effect.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 08, 2012, 05:31:37 AM
I never knew Finzi was Jewish... Which demonstrates that I still have a long way go in Finzi country. I am waiting for the moment when I feel like listening to his Hardy songs (2 CDs, Lyrita). I must be in the right (receptive) frame of mind for new (to me) music.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on May 08, 2012, 02:11:10 PM
"I never knew Finzi was Jewish".

The Finzis were an old Italian Jewish family* and Gerald's ancestors arrived in England around 1800 I believe. He had a very unhappy childhood, his father died when he was young, two of his brothers died in WW1, Earnest Farrar, whom he studied with, also died in the War. Finzi after his adolescence never 'identified' as being Jewish, maybe as a way of coping with this loss, maybe he just preferred being 'English'. Stephen Banfield goes into it a lot in his book, and he thinks this is all part of the emotional repression that stopped Finzi writing longer and more numerous works and stifled the creativity in the ones he did write. I happen to think that everyone who knew Finzi knew perfectly well what his ancestry was, but didn't mention it, not because of anti-Jewishness, but because they respected Gerald's right to choose how he represented himself.

*I've ordered some music by Aldo Finzi, who is probably a very distant relative of Gerald. He was an Italian Jewish composer who died in 1945. I think the story is that his family had to live in hiding and the stress of this caused his early death in February 1945. Who knows, I might start a thread on his music (which is hard to find, just a few CDs, no downloads).
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on May 09, 2012, 12:27:27 AM
Very interesting. Thank you!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on September 22, 2012, 12:13:04 AM
More thoughts on Finzi, Diamond and Jewish music.

In Kaddish, written in 1980, Diamond could easily have been alluding to Finzi's Cello Concerto, made available in the 1975 Yo Yo Ma recording. However in som e of his music of the 1930s (such as the slow movements of the
Third Symphony and Rounds for String Orchestra), he was already writing music that sounds like Finzi's even though he couldn't have heard any at the time.

This suggests that Diamond and Finzi had a common musical heritage, presumably in synagogue music they heard as children. It would be tremendously ironic if the very English style of Finzi actually had a source in synagogue music, and only sounds English because they both have a modal, rather than tonal, flavour.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on September 23, 2012, 07:56:37 AM
Finzi, I believe came from the same family as that portrayed in the film 'The Garden of the Finzi Contini'. I have not seen it but think that it was about a Jewish family in wartime Fascist Italy (I may have got this wrong).

Finzi was very highly strung and nervous. He hated his prep school and spent four years in the same form.  He fabricated fainting fits and was, according to himself rescued from a nervous breakdown by his marriage. Dies Natalis is a great favourite of mine and the old EMI CD linking the classic Wilfrid Brown version with Howells's 'Hymnus Paradisi' (Willcocks) is one of my all time Desert Island Discs.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: snyprrr on October 21, 2013, 10:56:22 AM
bump for pretty music
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 21, 2013, 10:59:06 AM
Dies Natalis is a great favourite of mine and the old EMI CD linking the classic Wilfrid Brown version with Howells's 'Hymnus Paradisi' (Willcocks) is one of my all time Desert Island Discs.

Hmm, I have a reissue compilation with the Dies natalis, but not the Howells . . . which is another piece I am inclined to think would interest me.

Oh, the blessings and the torments of the reissues . . . .
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: kyjo on October 21, 2013, 11:33:37 AM
Hmm, I have a reissue compilation with the Dies natalis, but not the Howells . . . which is another piece I am inclined to think would interest me.

Oh, the blessings and the torments of the reissues . . . .

Karl, the Howells Hymnus Paradisi is a most moving work - one of the most beautiful choral works I know!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 21, 2013, 11:36:04 AM
We sang a set of Canticles of Howells's (I know he wrote a slew of 'em . . . forget just which were the ones we sang) for an Evensong at St Paul's here in Boston, back in the day.  Great writing; so in the back of my mind, investigating some more music of his has always been a good-ish idea.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on October 21, 2013, 11:36:33 AM
Hmm, I have a reissue compilation with the Dies natalis, but not the Howells . . . which is another piece I am inclined to think would interest me.

Oh, the blessings and the torments of the reissues . . . .

You have to listen to the Howells Karl.

Totally coincidentally I happened to be playing a Decca CD of Dies Natalis when I came across this thread. Am very pleased as I got a second hand copy of it dirt cheap on Amazon. The CD also features the lovely 'In terra Pax', 'Magnificat' and 'For St Cecilia' a lovely disc.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Tsaraslondon on October 23, 2013, 11:44:28 PM
You have to listen to the Howells Karl.

Totally coincidentally I happened to be playing a Decca CD of Dies Natalis when I came across this thread. Am very pleased as I got a second hand copy of it dirt cheap on Amazon. The CD also features the lovely 'In terra Pax', 'Magnificat' and 'For St Cecilia' a lovely disc.

Is that the one conducted by Richard Hickox? If so, how lucky you are to have a copy as it is now deleted. I had it on LP, and wish now I had bought the CD when it was briefly available. The performance of "In Terra Pax" is superior, IMO, to the one at present available in the Decca catalogue.

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on October 24, 2013, 02:22:17 AM
Is that the one conducted by Richard Hickox? If so, how lucky you are to have a copy as it is now deleted. I had it on LP, and wish now I had bought the CD when it was briefly available. The performance of "In Terra Pax" is superior, IMO, to the one at present available in the Decca catalogue.

Yes, that's the one. I was lucky to find a second hand copy very cheaply on the UK Amazon site recently. I had the LP featuring 'In Terra Pax' - a most lovely work. My favourite version of 'Dies Natalis' is the one sung by Wilfred Brown on EMI but Philip Langridge gives a very fine performance too. This has to be my favourite Finzi disc as I like every work on it. 'For St Cecilia' is a comparatively new discovery and I find the 'Magnificat' to be very moving - one of my favourite works by Finzi and in its best performance I think.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Octave on October 24, 2013, 02:43:25 AM
Since the thread is active again, have any of the Finzians here heard this collection of song cycles on Hyperion? 


Finzi: SONGS CYCLES TO WORDS BY THOMAS HARDY (Hyperion, 2cd)
Earth and Air and Rain; Till Earth Outwears; I Said to Love; A Young Man's Exhortation; Before and after the Summer.
Martyn Hill w/Stephen Varcoe and Clifford Benson
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on October 24, 2013, 11:26:01 AM
Since the thread is active again, have any of the Finzians here heard this collection of song cycles on Hyperion? 


Finzi: SONGS CYCLES TO WORDS BY THOMAS HARDY (Hyperion, 2cd)
Earth and Air and Rain; Till Earth Outwears; I Said to Love; A Young Man's Exhortation; Before and after the Summer.
Martyn Hill w/Stephen Varcoe and Clifford Benson

No, but I bet it's good!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on October 24, 2013, 07:17:21 PM
The Hyperion Hardy Songs set is the one I grew up listening to. The alternative (apart from various separate recordings of the 6 individual Hardy song-cycles) is the Naxos set of three or four discs (which includes a seventh cycle "By Footpath and Stile" for baritone and string quartet).

For my money either set will do, they are both very good.

I was at university with Roderick Williams (singer on some of the Naxos discs) in the mid 1980s and he was giving Finzi recitals then!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on October 25, 2013, 06:34:29 AM
The Hyperion Hardy Songs set is the one I grew up listening to. The alternative (apart from various separate recordings of the 6 individual Hardy song-cycles) is the Naxos set of three or four discs (which includes a seventh cycle "By Footpath and Stile" for baritone and string quartet).

For my money either set will do, they are both very good.

I was at university with Roderick Williams (singer on some of the Naxos discs) in the mid 1980s and he was giving Finzi recitals then!

Roderick Williams is a wonderful singer. I was lucky to hear him in the staged version of Pilgrim's Progress by Vaughan Williams in London.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 21, 2014, 12:24:04 PM
I've just finished listening to the complete Finzi song-cycles on the Naxos three-disc set with baritone Roderick Williams and tenor John Mark Ainslie.

"Sigh", the man was a genius, I can't think of any other song writer who combines such good choices of text and just melodic and harmonic wizardry. I suspect that if I was a German speaker I might say the same about several of the lieder writers, but as I can only "understand" the texts, ie not appreciate the level of language, the connotations and so forth, I can't really appreciate them to the same extent. The same would be the case with Nielsen and other Scandinavian song-writers.

Can anyone suggest other writers of songs in English that they think have Finzi's gift (I like Butterworth's songs, and VW's Songs of Travel, and some of Gurney's (though I prefer Finzi's setting of "Only the Wanderer"), and various disks of English folk-songs I have come across (inc Britten settings), but most other song-writers in English seem to be writers of art-songs rather than songs).
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: snyprrr on April 22, 2014, 05:09:56 PM
I've just finished listening to the complete Finzi song-cycles on the Naxos three-disc set with baritone Roderick Williams and tenor John Mark Ainslie.

"Sigh", the man was a genius, I can't think of any other song writer who combines such good choices of text and just melodic and harmonic wizardry. I suspect that if I was a German speaker I might say the same about several of the lieder writers, but as I can only "understand" the texts, ie not appreciate the level of language, the connotations and so forth, I can't really appreciate them to the same extent. The same would be the case with Nielsen and other Scandinavian song-writers.

Can anyone suggest other writers of songs in English that they think have Finzi's gift (I like Butterworth's songs, and VW's Songs of Travel, and some of Gurney's (though I prefer Finzi's setting of "Only the Wanderer"), and various disks of English folk-songs I have come across (inc Britten settings), but most other song-writers in English seem to be writers of art-songs rather than songs).

What are Finzi's Greatest Songs that I can YouTube?

Also, not English, but I hear that-Finzi-thing in Malipiero. I don't know which vocal piece to go for though (mostly Opera, but maybe the style... eh... mm... nevermind :-\)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on April 22, 2014, 06:46:26 PM
I don't know about greatest, but my favourites are:

So I have fared
Proud Songsters
A Young Man's Exhortation
Her Temple
At a Lunar Eclipse
The Self-unseeing
Channel Firing (all Hardy)

Only the Wanderer (Gurney)

Come away, Come away, Death
Fear no more the heat o'the Sun (Shakespeare)

Oh Fair to See (Christina Rossetti)

Since we Loved (Bridges)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on June 16, 2015, 03:20:01 PM
(http://i.prs.to/t_200/mdgmdg9031894.jpg)

New disk by the Cologne Chamber Soloists of various Finzi peices including one new piece, and some new arrangements.

The new piece is a two-minute variation in a set of variations by various composers on a popular song, 'Diabellieries'. The other composers are Howard Ferguson, Alan Bush, Rawsthorne, Elizabeth Lutyens, Elizabeth Maconchy, Grace Williams and Gordon Jacob. Great fun, with Finzi's piece (written 1956) being another Forlana, other composers being themselves too (Elizabeth Lutyens doing her best not to be atonal and so forth :-) )

The Cologne Chamber Soloists  have some interesting views on Finzi, sometimes they play faster than we expect, sometimes they are slower and more reflective than English peformers (!). All well worth a listen, there is the arrangement for Clarinet and SQ of the 5 Bagatelles, a new arrangement of the Romance for String Orchestra for SQ which works really well. There are good performances of the Elegy for Vln and Paino, the Interlude for Oboe and SQ and the Prelude and Fugue for String Trio.

The only disppointing piece is Howard Ferguson's arrangement of the Introit for Vln and Orchestra (slow mov of Vln Conc). It's too brisk and matter-of-fact, and the piano reduction of the orchestra writing in the movement makes it sound silly.

But a must-buy for all Finiz lovers none the less.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on April 18, 2016, 04:47:55 PM
I think that the Lyrita CD of short orchestral works is the best Finzi CD I know (conducted by Boult)

Quite an old post I know, but I think this Boult recording is the best Finzi recording out there, too, Jeffrey. William Boughton has a nice one on Nimbus, but Boult really has the full measure of this music. As for the masterful Cello Concerto, I have always preferred Yo-Yo Ma here to Hugh and Wallfisch. I also think the accompaniment from Vernon Handley is the best I've heard. Miles ahead of Griffiths and Hickox.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on April 18, 2016, 04:59:55 PM
I'll also add that after RVW, Elgar, and Delius that Finzi, Moeran, and Britten are my favorite Brits.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on April 18, 2016, 09:36:41 PM
Today is the anniversary of his death.

Gerald Finzi : British composer (https://musicakaleidoscope.wordpress.com/2015/09/27/gerald-finzi-british-composer/)

(https://musicakaleidoscope.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cropped-mk2.png)

Finzi wrote two masterpieces - his Cello Concerto, completed in 1955 and his choral work Intimations of Immortality -a setting of words by William Wordsworth.  In 1951, however, Finzi learned that he was suffering from Hodgkin’s Disease, a form of leukaemia, and was told he had between five and ten years to live. The discovery in no way lessened his activities, particularly those undertaken for other composers.  Finzi finally lost the fight against his illness and he died on September 27, 1956. His Cello Concerto was first broadcast the night before he died.

(https://musicakaleidoscope.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/finzi2.jpg?w=459&h=122)
These are fine works but for me his masterpiece is 'Dies Natalis'; the recording with Wilfred Brown conducted by Christopher Finzi is the best. It was once coupled with Herbert Howell's choral masterpiece 'Hymnus Paradisi' - one of the great CDs of all time in my view.
This, more recent release, doesn't feature the Howells but is a wonderful disc:

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on April 18, 2016, 09:40:15 PM
I'll also add that after RVW, Elgar, and Delius that Finzi, Moeran, and Britten are my favorite Brits.
No Bax?  :(
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Maestro267 on April 18, 2016, 10:50:15 PM
I need to get around to listening to some Finzi again. It's been a while. I have two discs of his music; Dies Natalis and Intimations of Immortality on one (Hyperion), and the Cello Concerto, Eclogue and Grand Fantasia & Toccata on the other (Naxos).
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Scion7 on April 19, 2016, 01:05:47 AM
No Bax?  :(

It's even worse than that - no Bliss, no Bowen  .... and Britten?? Ugh.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on April 19, 2016, 05:04:25 AM
No Bax?  :(

I own a lot of Bax, but I'm having a hard time connecting to his music. Any secrets to understanding the composer, Jeffrey?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on April 19, 2016, 05:24:00 AM
It's even worse than that - no Bliss, no Bowen  .... and Britten?? Ugh.

I guess the part where I said my favorite Brits didn't register with you? :-\ Anyway, I don't like Bliss or Bowen well enough to call them favorites.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2016, 07:22:32 AM
I own a lot of Bax, but I'm having a hard time connecting to his music. Any secrets to understanding the composer, Jeffrey?
It's not all great but I like all the symphonies, Symphonic Variations and many of the tone poems as well as the lovely Harp Quintet. Oddly enough one of my favourite Bax CDs is of lesser known orchestral works (see below). I'd be inclined, John, to start with symphonies 3 and 5 which are my favourites but you probably know these already:


The lovely Christmas Eve is available dirt cheap on Amazon UK with symphony 1 - a great disc:


So as not to derail the thread completely here is a new and very enjoyable Finzi CD although I don't like the way in which they have broken up the movements of 'Dies Natalis' and transposed the vocal part for the Saxophone. 'A Severn Rhapsody' is a beautiful work:

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 19, 2016, 07:40:04 AM
It's not all great but I like all the symphonies, Symphonic Variations and many of the tone poems as well as the lovely Harp Quintet. Oddly enough one of my favourite Bax CDs is of lesser known orchestral works (see below). I'd be inclined, John, to start with symphonies 3 and 5 which are my favourites but you probably know these already:



What's Irravel, Jeffrey?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2016, 12:16:27 PM
What's Irravel, Jeffrey?
Your wish is my command Karl ;D
I've fished out the CD:
Bax derived the name 'Irravel' from the Irish Gaelic, characterising the dancer as a 'fantastic dream impersonation of a reckless impossible mood or whim...at the close the music becomes more and more remote in mood and harmonically bizarre, as though the vision were gradually fading away.
Apparently the work anticipates 'La Valse' by Ravel, written several years later.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on April 19, 2016, 05:59:02 PM
It's not all great but I like all the symphonies, Symphonic Variations and many of the tone poems as well as the lovely Harp Quintet. Oddly enough one of my favourite Bax CDs is of lesser known orchestral works (see below). I'd be inclined, John, to start with symphonies 3 and 5 which are my favourites but you probably know these already:


The lovely Christmas Eve is available dirt cheap on Amazon UK with symphony 1 - a great disc:


So as not to derail the thread completely here is a new and very enjoyable Finzi CD although I don't like the way in which they have broken up the movements of 'Dies Natalis' and transposed the vocal part for the Saxophone. 'A Severn Rhapsody' is a beautiful work:



Thanks for the recommendations, Jeffrey. I own all of Thomson's and Handley's Bax recordings (incl. both conductors' symphony cycles). I seem to remember preferring Thomson's symphony cycle over Handley. Thankfully, Handley recorded Spring Fire and this remains, for me, one of Bax's strongest works. There's a naturalness and flowing lyricism to this work that caught my ears as soon as heard it. The problem I'm having with Bax is his music tends to go in one ear and out the other, but I admittedly haven't given him a thorough listening session in about six years. I'm hankering to get back on that wagon and give him some much needed attention.

P.S. Coincidently, that Finzi recording came in the mail the other day. I haven't listened to it (yet), but Collon/Aurora Orchestra are up against some stiff competition from the likes of Boult and Handley.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on April 19, 2016, 08:54:59 PM
Thanks for the recommendations, Jeffrey. I own all of Thomson's and Handley's Bax recordings (incl. both conductors' symphony cycles). I seem to remember preferring Thomson's symphony cycle over Handley. Thankfully, Handley recorded Spring Fire and this remains, for me, one of Bax's strongest works. There's a naturalness and flowing lyricism to this work that caught my ears as soon as heard it. The problem I'm having with Bax is his music tends to go in one ear and out the other, but I admittedly haven't given him a thorough listening session in about six years. I'm hankering to get back on that wagon and give him some much needed attention.

P.S. Coincidently, that Finzi recording came in the mail the other day. I haven't listened to it (yet), but Collon/Aurora Orchestra are up against some stiff competition from the likes of Boult and Handley.
You should enjoy the Finzi disc John. Do you know this CD? I bought it for Bridge's towering masterpiece 'Enter Spring' but it features Bax's 'Spring Fire' too:

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 20, 2016, 02:48:03 AM
Your wish is my command Karl ;D
I've fished out the CD:
Bax derived the name 'Irravel' from the Irish Gaelic, characterising the dancer as a 'fantastic dream impersonation of a reckless impossible mood or whim...at the close the music becomes more and more remote in mood and harmonically bizarre, as though the vision were gradually fading away.
Apparently the work anticipates 'La Valse' by Ravel, written several years later.

Thanks!  I took it over here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,315.msg966791.html#msg966791).
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on April 20, 2016, 04:18:13 AM
You should enjoy the Finzi disc John. Do you know this CD? I bought it for Bridge's towering masterpiece 'Enter Spring' but it features Bax's 'Spring Fire' too:



Yep, I own all of those Elder 'English' recordings. I can't say I was too impressed with Elder's performance of Spring Fire and vastly prefer Handley's performance, but perhaps this is just the crazy, biased viewpoint doing the talking? ;) Bridge is another composer I can't get into, but that's another topic for another thread. :)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: cilgwyn on April 25, 2016, 11:03:55 PM
Thanks for the recommendations, Jeffrey. I own all of Thomson's and Handley's Bax recordings (incl. both conductors' symphony cycles). I seem to remember preferring Thomson's symphony cycle over Handley. Thankfully, Handley recorded Spring Fire and this remains, for me, one of Bax's strongest works. There's a naturalness and flowing lyricism to this work that caught my ears as soon as heard it. The problem I'm having with Bax is his music tends to go in one ear and out the other, but I admittedly haven't given him a thorough listening session in about six years. I'm hankering to get back on that wagon and give him some much needed attention.

P.S. Coincidently, that Finzi recording came in the mail the other day. I haven't listened to it (yet), but Collon/Aurora Orchestra are up against some stiff competition from the likes of Boult and Handley.
I keep thinking that Spring Fire is a composition that might convince unbelievers. It might have sounded even better to my ears if Thomson had recorded it. Oh,well! I love the build up,the nature painting and the wildness when all that underlying tension explodes. It's very focused. It's sensuous and luxuriant,but without that degree of self indulgence that puts some critics off; and the atmosphere and sounds evoked remain in the mind,even if there aren't any memorable 'tunes'! I like allot of Bax's music,but I have a 'problem' with some of the tone poems. Roscatha,Into the Twilight,In the faery Hills Enjoyable as they are at the time,I can't remember a d*** thing afterwards! The best ones like Tintagel,The Garden of Fand,November Woods,Northern Ballad No1 are a different kettle of fish! I like all the Northern Ballads,though. I think it was great that Handley recorded them together. Although,I prefer The performances on the Boult,Downes and (Handley,Spring Fire) cd. I like the sound world in these Ballads. The bleakness and desolates wildness of the atmosphere conveyed by No 2 and 3,which is,apparently,actually entitled,Prelude for a Solemn Occassion and just III on the score, makes up for any deficiency in the tune department.
However,having said all that,I don't think I find anything as remote,mysterious and otherworldly in Bax as I do in North Country Sketches by Delius,or Eventyr,Over the Hills and Far Away or In a Summer Garden for that matter,however! Comparisons,eh?!! ::)
I'm listening to Beecham conducting Sibelius at the moment (Symphony No 1 on the Sony cd) which doesn't help!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on April 26, 2016, 04:21:11 AM
I keep thinking that Spring Fire is a composition that might convince unbelievers. It might have sounded even better to my ears if Thomson had recorded it. Oh,well! I love the build up,the nature painting and the wildness when all that underlying tension explodes. It's very focused. It's sensuous and luxuriant,but without that degree of self indulgence that puts some critics off; and the atmosphere and sounds evoked remain in the mind,even if there aren't any memorable 'tunes'! I like allot of Bax's music,but I have a 'problem' with some of the tone poems. Roscatha,Into the Twilight,In the faery Hills Enjoyable as they are at the time,I can't remember a d*** thing afterwards! The best ones like Tintagel,The Garden of Fand,November Woods,Northern Ballad No1 are a different kettle of fish! I like all the Northern Ballads,though. I think it was great that Handley recorded them together. Although,I prefer The performances on the Boult,Downes and (Handley,Spring Fire) cd. I like the sound world in these Ballads. The bleakness and desolates wildness of the atmosphere conveyed by No 2 and 3,which is,apparently,actually entitled,Prelude for a Solemn Occassion and just III on the score, makes up for any deficiency in the tune department.
However,having said all that,I don't think I find anything as remote,mysterious and otherworldly in Bax as I do in North Country Sketches by Delius,or Eventyr,Over the Hills and Far Away or In a Summer Garden for that matter,however! Comparisons,eh?!! ::)
I'm listening to Beecham conducting Sibelius at the moment (Symphony No 1 on the Sony cd) which doesn't help!

Thanks for your feedback, cilgwyn. I'll continue to give Bax a chance, but prefer Delius by a large margin. The problem I'm having with Bax is general lack of memorability in his music. There's just nothing for my ears to latch onto. In my earlier listening days, I liked Bax a good deal and found much to admire, but it's amusing how opinions can change over time. I still like a few of his chamber works a lot, though, and, of course, Spring Fire.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on April 26, 2016, 09:21:23 PM
Thanks for your feedback, cilgwyn. I'll continue to give Bax a chance, but prefer Delius by a large margin. The problem I'm having with Bax is general lack of memorability in his music. There's just nothing for my ears to latch onto. In my earlier listening days, I liked Bax a good deal and found much to admire, but it's amusing how opinions can change over time. I still like a few of his chamber works a lot, though, and, of course, Spring Fire.
I much prefer Bax to Delius although I love 'In a Summer Garden' and the end of the underrated Requiem is very moving. I bought the Charles Groves box set recently which has a lot of Delius in it, including the fine North Country Sketches. So I will be listening to more Delius soon.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on April 27, 2016, 02:20:55 AM
I much prefer Bax to Delius although I love 'In a Summer Garden' and the end of the underrated Requiem is very moving. I bought the Charles Groves box set recently which has a lot of Delius in it, including the fine North Country Sketches. So I will be listening to more Delius soon.

Perhaps if I ever unlock the secrets to Bax, I'll end up preferring him to Delius as well, but, right now, Bax has an uphill struggle. ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 27, 2016, 03:06:58 AM
(With apologies for protracting the parenthesis...) A conductor friend has always spoken highly of Tintagel.  When I told him that I've sprung for a CD (which has not arrived yet), he pointed me to this video:

http://www.youtube.com/v/B3lPDkk-8Mk
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on April 30, 2016, 04:44:24 AM
(With apologies for protracting the parenthesis...) A conductor friend has always spoken highly of Tintagel.  When I told him that I've sprung for a CD (which has not arrived yet), he pointed me to this video:

http://www.youtube.com/v/B3lPDkk-8Mk
Thanks for posting this Karl. Sounds like a wonderful performance of Bax's best known work.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on July 31, 2016, 04:47:01 PM
I see from their website that on 1 September Naxos intend to release a Finzi 8 cd set. Presumably this is the eight CDs of his music they have already published.
People should check this out, if you don't have any of these recordings they would probably be cheaper than buying them separately, and there are some great recordings amongst them, especially the songs sung by Roderick Williams and others.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Maestro267 on September 26, 2016, 10:35:52 AM
Bumping this thread as tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of Finzi's death. A particularly moving anecdote is how he listened to a broadcast of his Cello Concerto (one of his last completed works) from his bed on the night before he died.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on September 26, 2016, 11:10:33 AM
Bumping this thread as tomorrow is the 60th anniversary of Finzi's death. A particularly moving anecdote is how he listened to a broadcast of his Cello Concerto (one of his last completed works) from his bed on the night before he died.

His Cello Concerto must be counted as one of the great masterpieces written for that instrument.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on September 26, 2016, 11:25:32 AM
His Cello Concerto must be counted as one of the great masterpieces written for that instrument.

Yes I agree, although 'Dies Natalis' is Finzi's masterpiece I think. The Wilfred Brown, Christopher Finzi version is best of all.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Maestro267 on September 27, 2016, 10:43:58 AM
I'd forgotten how wonderful Intimations of Immortality is. The introduction, with its widely-spaced, RVW-like chords in the strings, is beautiful.

Listening now to the Cello Concerto, with its dramatic start (complete with tam-tam strike) and its lovely slow movement.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on December 30, 2016, 10:34:46 PM
Does anyone have access to the score of Finzi's A Severn Rhapsody. I want to know what the first woodwind instrument is that plays (right at the beginning). I have an idea it might be an oboe d'amore.  :)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on December 31, 2016, 01:59:28 PM
And another thing, I had my obligatory listen to Finzi last night, including Nocturne: New Year Music. It occurred to me that I had never heard a performance of Dies Natalis with a soprano, so I downloaded the Susan Gritton Chandos performance. Unfortunately it's not very good, firstly it's badly balanced so Gritton seems at times to fighting to be heard over the orchestra, which is the exact opposite of what you want—the voice floating ethereally above a subdued orchestra. Secondly I don't like the quality of Gritton's voice, which sounds rather strangled, meaning the words aren't clear and it makes you feel tense listening to it. Back to Wilfred Brown.

There's doesn't seem to be another recording of DM with a soprano.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on January 03, 2017, 06:15:49 PM
There is a good performance of Dies Natalis with a soprano: Valdine Anderson with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra on the CBC label. She has a beautiful voice, the words are very clear and the balance between the orchestra and soloist is just right.

Thank goodness.

(I can't vouch for the rest of the disk as I only downloaded DM, but the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra are a very good ensemble. I have a great recording of theirs of Grace Williams' Sea Sketches).
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: cilgwyn on June 06, 2017, 02:45:45 AM
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.
Going through the Finzi thread,because I've just been enjoying the Wilfred Brown recording of Dies natalis,I found this post. Yes,I liked that the first time I heard it on the radio. I remember taping it. I like the way it begins too.....and ends. I love the whole atmosphere of the piece. VW's Five Mysical Songs is on the same cd,in this collection. Another favourite! And not forgetting the Holst. A wonderful collection from emi's glory years. They don't even seem to exist as a brand name now! :( By the way,someone was saying they didn't like VW's Flos Campi on this Forum. That's a favourite of mine! >:( ;D

(http://i.imgur.com/J73uwd2.jpg)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on June 06, 2017, 02:49:16 AM
Going through the Finzi thread,because I've just been enjoying the Wilfred Brown recording of Dies natalis,I found this post. Yes,I liked that the first time I heard it on the radio. I remember taping it. I like the way it begins too.....and ends. I love the whole atmosphere of the piece. VW's Five Mysical Songs is on the same cd,in this collection. Another favourite! And not forgetting the Holst. A wonderful collection from emi's glory years. They don't even seem to exist as a brand name now! :( By the way,someone was saying they didn't like VW's Flos Campi on this Forum. That's a favourite of mine! >:( ;D

(http://i.imgur.com/J73uwd2.jpg)
That's a terrific boxed set cilgwyn - I like every work on it. I like Flos Campi. The combination of Five Mystical Songs and Dies Natalis with Holst's Psalm is wonderful.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: cilgwyn on August 04, 2017, 08:16:55 AM
And lo,there was a Finzi thread!! ??? :o
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Oates on August 09, 2017, 02:56:30 AM
My favourite Finzi work is A Severn Rhapsody which was a blank on the CD map for years until the Naxos appeared. I was disappointed with this version - I thought the earlier Lyrita / Boult version that did finally emerge on CD was much better. It is worth noting that I also heard a very good recording of A Severn Rhapsody by Richard Hickox about 20 years ago which was a BBC session.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2017, 11:53:38 AM
My favourite Finzi work is A Severn Rhapsody which was a blank on the CD map for years until the Naxos appeared. I was disappointed with this version - I thought the earlier Lyrita / Boult version that did finally emerge on CD was much better. It is worth noting that I also heard a very good recording of A Severn Rhapsody by Richard Hickox about 20 years ago which was a BBC session.
That Boult CD is terrific.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Omicron9 on August 23, 2017, 06:13:10 AM
Great thread.  I love his Cello Concerto, but originally discovered him through "Eclogue."  What an amazing piece to me, and on multiple levels.  If you don't know it, allow me to introduce you.

https://www.youtube.com/v/EkQbzZgwfl0
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB on August 23, 2017, 08:30:35 AM
Eclogue blew me away when I heard the first time. A gem!  0:)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 23, 2017, 11:36:46 AM
Eclogue blew me away when I heard the first time. A gem!  0:)
Yes, a great work.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: SymphonicAddict on August 23, 2017, 11:46:17 AM
Great thread.  I love his Cello Concerto, but originally discovered him through "Eclogue."  What an amazing piece to me, and on multiple levels.  If you don't know it, allow me to introduce you.

https://www.youtube.com/v/EkQbzZgwfl0

Eclogue blew me away when I heard the first time. A gem!  0:)

Yes, a great work.

+1
Placidly pastoral, bucolic.

The cello concerto is almost unbeatable for me. Despite Finzi composed more choral works, I tend to prefer his clarinet and cello concertos.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 24, 2017, 05:17:30 AM
+1
Placidly pastoral, bucolic.

The cello concerto is almost unbeatable for me. Despite Finzi composed more choral works, I tend to prefer his clarinet and cello concertos.
Dies Natalis remains my favourite - in the Wilfred Brown/Christopher Finzi version which is unrivalled IMHO. In Terra Pax and the last ditch Cello Concerto are both great and, of course, the shorter works. In fact I like all of his music.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 24, 2017, 07:09:32 PM
Just realised that it's coming up to the 60th anniversary of GF's death next month.

I'd better start registering to all his works.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 24, 2017, 10:29:39 PM
Just realised that it's coming up to the 60th anniversary of GF's death next month.

I'd better start registering to all his works.
This is one of the great Finzi discs. If you don't know it you have to hear the Wilfred Brown version of Dies Natalis.


Vaughan Williams told his second wife Ursula that he was 'burying his old comrades' in his Ninth Symphony. Finzi must have been one of them as he died at that time. Part of Vaughan Williams's Ninth Symphony was composed at Finzi's house.

The drawing of Boult on the CD above was by Joy Finzi, the wife of Gerald.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Christo on August 24, 2017, 10:40:06 PM
This is one of the great Finzi discs. If you don't know it you have to hear the Wilfred Brown version of Dies Natalis.

The cover made me think for a long time that this is what Finzi looked like.  :D
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 25, 2017, 12:13:44 AM
The cover made me think for a long time that this is what Finzi looked like.  :D
Yes, that's quite understandable. I like this photo of the young Finzi:
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=gerald+finzi&prmd=visn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj7htfzhPLVAhVJDcAKHVkDBd4Q_AUIESgC&biw=1024&bih=672#imgrc=b1SkNBgeARvTZM:
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 25, 2017, 12:41:25 AM
Ha, I originally wrote "I'd better start relistening to all his works." Bloody auto-correct. >:(

I think I have recordings of all his works, and most of the available versions. I agree that the Boult (+Handley) disk contains many of the best versions of the various works. Also agree about the Wilfred Brown Dies Natalis.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Christo on August 25, 2017, 04:10:30 AM
Yes, that's quite understandable. I like this photo of the young Finzi:
In reality, (https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/find-a-grave-prod/photos/2012/339/9691852_135477372612.jpg) did not look at all like (http://media5.picsearch.com/is?gQlGeAq6d8LHh-B1DklC6LsQhkOgfo4_4jCg6mnHMOw&height=231)
Ha, I originally wrote "I'd better start relistening to all his works." Bloody auto-correct. >:(
Yes, you better start unregistering with it.  ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 25, 2017, 04:43:43 AM
Quite right; he looked more like this:
https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=gerald+finzi&prmd=visn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjnv7PtwfLVAhXjBsAKHf7ECegQ_AUIESgC&biw=1024&bih=672#imgrc=DNkYILuN5S5LWM:
 ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Monsieur Croche on August 25, 2017, 04:49:24 AM
Great thread.  I love his Cello Concerto, but originally discovered him through "Eclogue."  What an amazing piece to me, and on multiple levels.  If you don't know it, allow me to introduce you.

https://www.youtube.com/v/EkQbzZgwfl0

This is simply superb writing.  In a near arch-conservative neoclassical style, it is a movement from a projected but not completed three-movement concerto for piano and strings -- I believe this one movement is all that Finzi composed towards that end; it feels entirely complete on its own. 

Of the recordings up on youtube, I most prefer the one you've posted, w Peter Donohoe, piano and the Northern Sinfonia conducted by Howard Griffiths.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Maestro267 on August 25, 2017, 06:08:49 AM
Just realised that it's coming up to the 60th anniversary of GF's death next month.

I'd better start registering to all his works.

61st, actually. He died in September 1956.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Omicron9 on August 25, 2017, 08:38:48 AM
This is simply superb writing.  In a near arch-conservative neoclassical style, it is a movement from projected but not completed three-movement concerto for piano and strings -- I believe this one movement is all that Finzi composed towards that end; it feels entirely complete on its own. 

snip......

I quite concur.  It's a remarkable piece.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Maestro267 on August 25, 2017, 09:58:10 AM
That's interesting, because I pair the Eclogue with the Grand Fantasia and Toccata, to form the last two movements of a three-movement piano concerto. It's quite feasible to picture a Piano Concerto's slow movement omitting all orchestral forces but the strings.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 25, 2017, 12:58:57 PM
61st, actually. He died in September 1956.

Damn it, I was sure it was 1957. Still any reason is a good reason to listen to Finzi.

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: snyprrr on August 26, 2017, 08:11:40 AM
what's up with his mouth, lips, ... ??...
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi, Such A Boring Thread Title
Post by: snyprrr on August 26, 2017, 08:13:28 AM
Now we have the two most boring ThreadTitles ever back-to-back. Oy vey, 'The Gardens of Finzi', already! :P
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB on October 27, 2018, 10:33:40 AM
Been listening to Finzi again (and ordered Dies Natalis - Wilfred Brown/Christopher Finzi).



Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on October 27, 2018, 10:57:55 AM
Been listening to Finzi again (and ordered Dies Natalis - Wilfred Brown/Christopher Finzi).

That is by far the best recorded performance of that wonderful work.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: 71 dB on October 27, 2018, 11:10:28 AM
That is by far the best recorded performance of that wonderful work.

I listened to it on Spotify and found it very good so I pulled the trigger as it was only £3.77 delivered (used)  ;D
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on October 27, 2018, 11:38:35 AM
I listened to it on Spotify and found it very good so I pulled the trigger as it was only £3.77 delivered (used)  ;D

A great bargain. The original CD release was coupled with Howells's 'Hymnus Paradisi' - one of my all time favourite discs.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.


Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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.

(http://)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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):
(http://)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: SymphonicAddict 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons 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):
(http://)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: kyjo 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons 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. ???
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on April 25, 2019, 09:27:27 AM
P.S., haven't gotten the recording yet.

And why not?
 8)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on June 06, 2019, 12:12:14 PM
(https://d27t0qkxhe4r68.cloudfront.net/t_900/5060262790083.jpg?1464776643)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons 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......

(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/MhQAAOSw-0xYjlRu/s-l1600.jpg)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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......

(https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/MhQAAOSw-0xYjlRu/s-l1600.jpg)
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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons 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.

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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:
(http://)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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:


(http://)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: SymphonicAddict 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:

(https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O3FehdhQ_lI/VjCqFTTsebI/AAAAAAAAeI0/Mf4rpgPMxws/s1600/Boult%2BFinzi%2B1.jpg)

Absolutely majestic piece, intensely impassionate and melancholy, featuring a heart-wrenching and memorable melody. This kind of works melts me.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image 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:

(https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O3FehdhQ_lI/VjCqFTTsebI/AAAAAAAAeI0/Mf4rpgPMxws/s1600/Boult%2BFinzi%2B1.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons 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:
(http://)

Possibly "English Pastoral Impressions" as the piece I heard on YT which so impressed me was more pastoral then heroic.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons 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:

(https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O3FehdhQ_lI/VjCqFTTsebI/AAAAAAAAeI0/Mf4rpgPMxws/s1600/Boult%2BFinzi%2B1.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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:

(https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-O3FehdhQ_lI/VjCqFTTsebI/AAAAAAAAeI0/Mf4rpgPMxws/s1600/Boult%2BFinzi%2B1.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: SymphonicAddict 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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:
(http://)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons 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:
(http://)

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.   
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: kyjo 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vers la flamme 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?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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:

(http://)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vers la flamme 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:

(http://)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: kyjo 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! ;)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on July 04, 2020, 11:17:04 PM
I find that of the three or four recordings I have of The Fall of the Leaf I think the Hickox one is the best.

I have playlist of Finzi's Four Seasons which some might like to listen to. It comprises spring (Prelude for Strings), summer (Romance for String Orchestra), autumn (Fall of the Leaf) and winter/new year (Nocturne). I know these pieces are in different keys and some are for strings whilst others are for full orchestra, but it makes a kind of sense.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on July 05, 2020, 10:40:20 AM
I find that of the three or four recordings I have of The Fall of the Leaf I think the Hickox one is the best.

I have playlist of Finzi's Four Seasons which some might like to listen to. It comprises spring (Prelude for Strings), summer (Romance for String Orchestra), autumn (Fall of the Leaf) and winter/new year (Nocturne). I know these pieces are in different keys and some are for strings whilst others are for full orchestra, but it makes a kind of sense.

Out of curiosity, how did you arrive at idea that the Prelude for Strings represents spring while the Romance for Strings represents summer?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on July 05, 2020, 01:58:28 PM
In the early 20s Finzi completed an orchestral suite called The Bud, the Blossom and the Berry. The Prelude for strings is crafted out of the material for The Bud, the Fall of the Leaf from the material for the Berry. So much is confirmed by Banfield.
I have always had it in my head that the Romance comes from the material for the Blossom. I can’t find confirmation of this, but it sounds warmer than the Prelude anyway.  :)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on July 05, 2020, 02:01:40 PM
In the early 20s Finzi completed an orchestral suite called The Bud, the Blossom and the Berry. The Prelude for strings is crafted out of the material for The Bud, the Fall of the Leaf from the material for the Berry. So much is confirmed by Banfield.
I have always had it in my head that the Romance comes from the material for the Blossom. I can’t find confirmation of this, but it sounds warmer than the Prelude anyway.  :)

Hmm..interesting take. I might have to do a listen of the Finzi ‘season works’ and try to relay my thoughts here.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Brian on September 28, 2020, 11:31:25 AM
Michael Collins' very straightforward explanation for why he has re-recorded the Finzi Clarinet Concerto on a new BIS album:

"I did it with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and I am really happy with it…but to get down to brass tacks the Finzi is a very popular piece with Classic FM, and they aren’t allowed to play my recording because it’s with a BBC orchestra, which I thought was a shame! My Mozart recording with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra is on Classic FM virtually every day, and the Finzi is just as popular, so I decided to do another version with my old orchestra that will actually get some air-time!"
https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/articles/3501--interview-michael-collins-on-his-dual-career
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on September 28, 2020, 07:00:09 PM
Michael Collins' very straightforward explanation for why he has re-recorded the Finzi Clarinet Concerto on a new BIS album:

"I did it with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and I am really happy with it…but to get down to brass tacks the Finzi is a very popular piece with Classic FM, and they aren’t allowed to play my recording because it’s with a BBC orchestra, which I thought was a shame! My Mozart recording with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra is on Classic FM virtually every day, and the Finzi is just as popular, so I decided to do another version with my old orchestra that will actually get some air-time!"
https://www.prestomusic.com/classical/articles/3501--interview-michael-collins-on-his-dual-career
Shows the problem with these “popular” classical channels. Even though the Finzi  and the Mozart cl concs are wonderful works you shouldn’t feature them every day, especially when there is so much other fine music to explore.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on November 12, 2020, 02:27:03 PM
Interlude for Oboe and String Quartet.

(https://i.imgur.com/Wx1NwVy.jpg)

Typical of self-effacing Finzi to title such a fine work as 'Interlude'. I am wary of English chamber music with oboe as it has become at times a cliché, Finzi is too good a composer for that to occur. Pastoral connotations are few as this is mainly music of the human condition. Though only eleven and a half minutes it packs quite a few emotions, sad and at times angry, others wistful. A theme from Finzi's masterpiece Dies Natalis is easily recognisable in the middle section. I was taken in by the title thinking Interlude would be slight - it's not.   
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on November 16, 2020, 02:17:47 AM
Shows the problem with these “popular” classical channels. Even though the Finzi  and the Mozart cl concs are wonderful works you shouldn’t feature them every day, especially when there is so much other fine music to explore.
Good point.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on November 16, 2020, 02:18:35 AM
Interlude for Oboe and String Quartet.

(https://i.imgur.com/Wx1NwVy.jpg)

Typical of self-effacing Finzi to title such a fine work as 'Interlude'. I am wary of English chamber music with oboe as it has become at times a cliché, Finzi is too good a composer for that to occur. Pastoral connotations are few as this is mainly music of the human condition. Though only eleven and a half minutes it packs quite a few emotions, sad and at times angry, others wistful. A theme from Finzi's masterpiece Dies Natalis is easily recognisable in the middle section. I was taken in by the title thinking Interlude would be slight - it's not.
What are the other works like Lol?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Oates on November 16, 2020, 04:54:19 AM
What are the other works like Lol?

An ambitious coupling I'd say. I've only heard Michael Berkeley's orchestral works on Chandos - I don't dislike them but he tends towards the atonal approach.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on November 16, 2020, 08:48:09 AM
An ambitious coupling I'd say. I've only heard Michael Berkeley's orchestral works on Chandos - I don't dislike them but he tends towards the atonal approach.

If you mean by ambitious, unsuitable, I very much agree. To be fair to Michael Berkeley he has suffered a disservice by Hyperion for his String Quartet being programmed following the Finzi on side one of this LP. Hyperion repeat the error on the reverse with two Berkeley works - one for unaccompanied oboe - and closing with Finzi. Coupling these two composers together does neither any favours. Shame as Interlude is top drawer Finzi.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 08, 2021, 12:51:47 PM
I was thinking about the Yo Yo Ma recording of the Cello Concerto today and it occurred to me that I don't actually know the story of why Ma made his recording. On the face of it is seems very unlikely, a young American cello virtuoso makes his first recording... of an almost unknown (and previously unrecorded) British cello concerto.

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2021, 01:02:34 AM
I was thinking about the Yo Yo Ma recording of the Cello Concerto today and it occurred to me that I don't actually know the story of why Ma made his recording. On the face of it is seems very unlikely, a young American cello virtuoso makes his first recording... of an almost unknown (and previously unrecorded) British cello concerto.
I read an interview with Yo Yo Ma in which he chose the Finzi Cello Concerto as the one of his recordings that he would like to re-record.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Roasted Swan on August 09, 2021, 06:03:08 AM
I listened to the Cello Concerto the other day in this version;

(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ldYbwVi_lAQ/hqdefault.jpg)

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!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 09, 2021, 08:19:02 AM
I listened to the Cello Concerto the other day in this version;

(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ldYbwVi_lAQ/hqdefault.jpg)

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!
Sorry to hear that you don't enjoy his cello concerto.  Years ago a British friend introduced me to the work with the recording that you have and I found it do be intensely moving--particularly in light of what was going on in Finzi's life and his tragically young death.  We all experience music differently though.  Haven't heard his Grand Fantasia & Toccata before though.

I do quite enjoy this album.  Are you familiar with it RS?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71Ed7S5zsAL._SX425_.jpg)

PD
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2021, 08:24:29 AM
Sorry to hear that you don't enjoy his cello concerto.  Years ago a British friend introduced me to the work with the recording that you have and I found it do be intensely moving--particularly in light of what was going on in Finzi's life and his tragically young death.  We all experience music differently though.  Haven't heard his Grand Fantasia & Toccata before though.

I do quite enjoy this album.  Are you familiar with it RS?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71Ed7S5zsAL._SX425_.jpg)

PD
Not addressed to me but I think that it's a great album PD. I think that Finzi worked best on a small scale, with his masterpiece being 'Dies Natalis'.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Spotted Horses on August 09, 2021, 08:26:47 AM
Sorry to hear that you don't enjoy his cello concerto.  Years ago a British friend introduced me to the work with the recording that you have and I found it do be intensely moving--particularly in light of what was going on in Finzi's life and his tragically young death.  We all experience music differently though.  Haven't heard his Grand Fantasia & Toccata before though.

The Grand Fantasia and Toccata is well worth seeking out. I've lost track of which versions I have listened to, but most recently listened to a recording with Hickox, Langrange and the Liverpool Philharmonic. A striking, genre-defying piece of music.

The Cello Concerto and Clarinet Concerto are my favorite Finzi.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Roasted Swan on August 09, 2021, 09:36:54 AM
Sorry to hear that you don't enjoy his cello concerto.  Years ago a British friend introduced me to the work with the recording that you have and I found it do be intensely moving--particularly in light of what was going on in Finzi's life and his tragically young death.  We all experience music differently though.  Haven't heard his Grand Fantasia & Toccata before though.

I do quite enjoy this album.  Are you familiar with it RS?

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71Ed7S5zsAL._SX425_.jpg)

PD

I don't know that specific disc although I know all of the music from other versions.  I think I'm with Jeffrey on this - Finzi's genius works best in the smaller scale works.  Not that smaller means lesser. For sure Dies Natalis is a work of genius.  One of the few occasions where I would say one version rules supreme which is of course......

(https://img.discogs.com/3hZBgK7VhGDSIdTBLuf1Pvtrz7U=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-4847514-1501920813-5091.jpeg.jpg)

I've chosen this image because this was the LP version my father bought when I was just a teenager and I was transfixed........
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 09, 2021, 11:40:06 AM
I read an interview with Yo Yo Ma in which he chose the Finzi Cello Concerto as the one of his recordings that he would like to re-record.

Hope he does! And perhaps he could record the Moeran Cello Concerto as well. (Like the Finzi CC, there have only been three cellists who have recorded the Moeran CC as far as I know)!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 09, 2021, 11:43:15 AM
Not addressed to me but I think that it's a great album PD. I think that Finzi worked best on a small scale, with his masterpiece being 'Dies Natalis'.

The Grand Fantasia and Toccata is well worth seeking out. I've lost track of which versions I have listened to, but most recently listened to a recording with Hickox, Langrange and the Liverpool Philharmonic. A striking, genre-defying piece of music.

The Cello Concerto and Clarinet Concerto are my favorite Finzi.
That's fine.  I probably should have added "and to others here too".  :)  Must listen to Dies Natalis.

I'll try to either find a copy of his Grand Fantasia to listen to soon S.H.  :)

Roasted Swan,

I can't read who all recorded the album that you had.  Type is coming up too small for me alas.  :(

PD
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 09, 2021, 11:45:01 AM
Hope he does! And perhaps he could record the Moeran Cello Concerto as well. (Like the Finzi CC, there have only been three cellists who have recorded the Moeran CC as far as I know)!
I've heard his early recording of the Finzi and must admit that it didn't have the impact on me like Tim Hugh's recording, but would love for him to rerecord it too.  I suspect that he has 'new' insight into it.  :)

PD
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 09, 2021, 12:03:49 PM
Actually, now I think of it four cellists have recorded the Finzi: Ma, Wallfisch, Hugh and Watkins, though haven't heard the Watkins yet (no prizes for guessing what I'll be doing tonight).
:laugh:
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Roasted Swan on August 09, 2021, 12:42:43 PM
That's fine.  I probably should have added "and to others here too".  :)  Must listen to Dies Natalis.

I'll try to either find a copy of his Grand Fantasia to listen to soon S.H.  :)

Roasted Swan,

I can't read who all recorded the album that you had.  Type is coming up too small for me alas.  :(

PD

Apologies - its the famous version with Wilfred Brown singing and the composer's son Christopher Finzi conducting the ECO.  The kind of recording for which the phrase "Great Recordings of the Century" was coined
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on August 09, 2021, 11:13:19 PM
I listened to the Cello Concerto the other day in this version;

(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ldYbwVi_lAQ/hqdefault.jpg)

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!

Coincidently I listened to the Wallfisch recording last week. Good as it is, does not displace Yo-Yo Ma. I am surprised you are not keen on the work, I would have thought it right up your street. Similar to the Clarinet Concerto, which is admittedly finer, I find the finale joyous and uplifting.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2021, 11:51:36 PM
I don't know that specific disc although I know all of the music from other versions.  I think I'm with Jeffrey on this - Finzi's genius works best in the smaller scale works.  Not that smaller means lesser. For sure Dies Natalis is a work of genius.  One of the few occasions where I would say one version rules supreme which is of course......

(https://img.discogs.com/3hZBgK7VhGDSIdTBLuf1Pvtrz7U=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-4847514-1501920813-5091.jpeg.jpg)

I've chosen this image because this was the LP version my father bought when I was just a teenager and I was transfixed........
That Apollo 8 'Earth-rise' photo is wonderful and I'm old enough to remember the excitement when it was seen for the first time (Christmas 1968). That was the LP I rushed out to buy when I returned from a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales where I happened to catch the last part of 'Dies Natalis' on the radio early one morning - one of those occasion when the beautiful landscape view from the remote house where I was staying and the music seemed to merge into one - I never forgot that moment. As soon as I returned to London I rushed out to HMV in Oxford street to but that LP which I still regard as easily the finest version of 'Dies Natalis' on disc. Happy memories.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2021, 11:56:19 PM
Apologies - its the famous version with Wilfred Brown singing and the composer's son Christopher Finzi conducting the ECO.  The kind of recording for which the phrase "Great Recordings of the Century" was coined
Yes, I agree - and this is one of the great CDs of all time IMO:
(http://)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 09, 2021, 11:57:22 PM
Coincidently I listened to the Wallfisch recording last week. Good as it is, does not displace Yo-Yo Ma. I am surprised you are not keen on the work, I would have thought it right up your street. Similar to the Clarinet Concerto, which is admittedly finer, I find the finale joyous and uplifting.
I like the Leighton Concerto as well Lol.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Roasted Swan on August 10, 2021, 12:02:28 AM
Coincidently I listened to the Wallfisch recording last week. Good as it is, does not displace Yo-Yo Ma. I am surprised you are not keen on the work, I would have thought it right up your street. Similar to the Clarinet Concerto, which is admittedly finer, I find the finale joyous and uplifting.

Yes indeed - its one of those odd "blank spots" I think we all probably have where music you think you would like just doesn't quite hit the spot.  But I keep returning to it - one day I'll probably have a light-bulb moment (I hope!)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 10, 2021, 02:14:15 AM
Apologies - its the famous version with Wilfred Brown singing and the composer's son Christopher Finzi conducting the ECO.  The kind of recording for which the phrase "Great Recordings of the Century" was coined
Thanks!  I now recall someone mentioning that his son had conducted and recorded at least one of his father's works. 

Does anyone here know whether or not Christopher Finzi recorded other works of his father?

PD

p.s.  I'll have to revisit Mr. Ma's recording of the Finzi cello concerto and see how it strikes me this time.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 10, 2021, 02:39:39 AM
Thanks!  I now recall someone mentioning that his son had conducted and recorded at least one of his father's works. 

Does anyone here know whether or not Christopher Finzi recorded other works of his father?

PD

p.s.  I'll have to revisit Mr. Ma's recording of the Finzi cello concerto and see how it strikes me this time.

There is this LP. If you like Finzi then Milford should appeal to you. There is a lovely CD of Milford's gentle music also entitled 'Fishing by Moonlight' but not conducted by Finzi:
(http://)
There is this salacious news item as well:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7828813/Christopher-Finzi-affair-sister-law-famed-cellist-Jacquelin-Du-Pre-dies-85.html
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on August 10, 2021, 03:02:59 AM
There is this LP. If you like Finzi then Milford should appeal to you. There is a lovely CD of Milford's gentle music also entitled 'Fishing by Moonlight' but not conducted by Finzi:
(http://)
Thank you.  I'll keep that Milford LP and CD in mind.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Roasted Swan on August 10, 2021, 04:17:48 AM
There is this LP. If you like Finzi then Milford should appeal to you. There is a lovely CD of Milford's gentle music also entitled 'Fishing by Moonlight' but not conducted by Finzi:

There is this salacious news item as well:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7828813/Christopher-Finzi-affair-sister-law-famed-cellist-Jacquelin-Du-Pre-dies-85.html
+1 for Robin Milford - a lovely work of his is on this disc too;

(https://robinmilfordtrust.org.uk/pics/DKLTHR.JPG)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on August 10, 2021, 06:36:55 AM
I like the Leighton Concerto as well Lol.

Another on the list. ;)

Thanks!  I now recall someone mentioning that his son had conducted and recorded at least one of his father's works. 

Does anyone here know whether or not Christopher Finzi recorded other works of his father?

PD

p.s.  I'll have to revisit Mr. Ma's recording of the Finzi cello concerto and see how it strikes me this time.

MW met Cristopher Finzi and described him as lovely and courteous gentleman.

There is this LP. If you like Finzi then Milford should appeal to you. There is a lovely CD of Milford's gentle music also entitled 'Fishing by Moonlight' but not conducted by Finzi:
(http://)
There is this salacious news item as well:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7828813/Christopher-Finzi-affair-sister-law-famed-cellist-Jacquelin-Du-Pre-dies-85.html

I may have it completely wrong Jeffrey and not for the first time by any means, but I do not find the du Pré/Finzi ménage a trois salacious. I view it as the ultimate show of love and compassion from Hilary to her stricken sister who had been abandoned by her husband in her greatest hour of need. Jackie who had the world at her feet was dying a slow terrible death and her sister made a great sacrifice to give Jackie some comfort.     
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 10, 2021, 06:51:52 AM
Another on the list. ;)

MW met Cristopher Finzi and described him as lovely and courteous gentleman.

I may have it completely wrong Jeffrey and not for the first time by any means, but I do not find the du Pré/Finzi ménage a trois salacious. I view it as the ultimate show of love and compassion from Hilary to her stricken sister who had been abandoned by her husband in her greatest hour of need. Jackie who had the world at her feet was dying a slow terrible death and her sister made a great sacrifice to give Jackie some comfort.   
A very good point Lol. I stand corrected. The 'salacious' quote is probably more of a reflection on my own gossipy interests  8)

PS Who's MW?

PPS I remember attending a Prom concert in London where the orchestra played 'Nimrod' as a tribute to Jacqueline du pre, who then movingly appeared in a wheelchair to acknowledge the applause of the audience - it was a very moving scene.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 10, 2021, 01:54:48 PM
Ok so the Watkins version of the Cello Concerto I didn't find very good at all, (in fact I thought the whole disc was a bit sub-par).

I think I like the Ma version the best of all followed the Hugh. Wallfisch lags behind (I never find his recordings very inspiring, though the Moeran CC is OK and his recording of the Simpson CC is the only one we have :-( ). Watkins is definitely behind all these. The first three recordings manage to preserve a sort of epic tone in the first movement whereas Watkins (and Davis) relax at the first opportunity.

With this work I find the first movement, as I said, epic and tragic, the slow movement poignant with tragedy behind it (the last painful climax that Banfield objects to in his account of the work I interpret and the pain and terror of the inexorable tread of time, which was as painful for Finzi in New Year Music (written when he was young, but after the tragic deaths of his teacher and two brothers in WW1) as it is in this work, but now with added urgency in the light of his terminal illness). The final movement which others, including Banfield, find too light, I find just wonderful, that Finzi could throw off all the weight of sorrow and mortality and come up with with those few minutes of marvellous, but not trivial music, and end defiantly.

 
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on August 10, 2021, 10:05:18 PM
Ok so the Watkins version of the Cello Concerto I didn't find very good at all, (in fact I thought the whole disc was a bit sub-par).

I think I like the Ma version the best of all followed the Hugh. Wallfisch lags behind (I never find his recordings very inspiring, though the Moeran CC is OK and his recording of the Simpson CC is the only one we have :-( ). Watkins is definitely behind all these. The first three recordings manage to preserve a sort of epic tone in the first movement whereas Watkins (and Davis) relax at the first opportunity.

With this work I find the first movement, as I said, epic and tragic, the slow movement poignant with tragedy behind it (the last painful climax that Banfield objects to in his account of the work I interpret and the pain and terror of the inexorable tread of time, which was as painful for Finzi in New Year Music (written when he was young, but after the tragic deaths of his teacher and two brothers in WW1) as it is in this work, but now with added urgency in the light of his terminal illness). The final movement which others, including Banfield, find too light, I find just wonderful, that Finzi could throw off all the weight of sorrow and mortality and come up with with those few minutes of marvellous, but not trivial music, and end defiantly.
Very interesting review - makes me want to hear it again. It was the last music Finzi probably heard, as it was broadcast on the radio the night before he died in hospital.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on August 10, 2021, 10:43:48 PM
A very good point Lol. I stand corrected. The 'salacious' quote is probably more of a reflection on my own gossipy interests  8)

PS Who's MW?

PPS I remember attending a Prom concert in London where the orchestra played 'Nimrod' as a tribute to Jacqueline du pre, who then movingly appeared in a wheelchair to acknowledge the applause of the audience - it was a very moving scene.

A chap from another forum I frequented in a past life. I stood in open-mouthed shock at the vastness of his LP and CD collection and extremely jealous what he played them on.

I don't think I could have handled that, Jeffrey. There have been some tragic stories in the world of music but Jaqueline du Pré is the cruellest.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on August 10, 2021, 10:51:11 PM
Very interesting review - makes me want to hear it again. It was the last music Finzi probably heard, as it was broadcast on the radio the night before he died in hospital.

+1 for the review. Tragic Finzi died so young. There was so much more music to come from him.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on August 17, 2021, 05:59:32 PM
I was listening to Intimations of Immortality yesterday when I was struck by a funny thought.

I was once again marvelling at how Finzi comes up with a melody for each phrase that is so perfect for it that you can't ever again remember or read that phrase without recalling the melody.

Anyway, I suddenly thought 'I wish Finzi had written an opera!' Of course he never would, he would have needed a whole team of people to encourage and cajole him into finishing it and the premiere would have had to have been put back and put back, but still a nice thought. I wonder what author he would have picked?
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on August 18, 2021, 06:33:00 AM
I was listening to Intimations of Immortality yesterday when I was struck by a funny thought.

I was once again marvelling at how Finzi comes up with a melody for each phrase that is so perfect for it that you can't ever again remember or read that phrase without recalling the melody.

Anyway, I suddenly thought 'I wish Finzi had written an opera!' Of course he never would, he would have needed a whole team of people to encourage and cajole him into finishing it and the premiere would have had to have been put back and put back, but still a nice thought. I wonder what author he would have picked?

Thomas Traherne?

As the projected violin concerto Finzi would have rejected most of his opera as not good enough and left just a snippet with us all thinking.......if only! 

Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: calyptorhynchus on September 11, 2021, 07:14:35 PM
I just found this nice performance of the Cello Concerto on YouTube

 https://youtu.be/CcuaLej7EhQ (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!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: kyjo on September 14, 2021, 01:57:41 PM
I listened to the Cello Concerto the other day in this version;

(https://i.ytimg.com/vi/ldYbwVi_lAQ/hqdefault.jpg)

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!
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on September 15, 2021, 05:15:29 AM
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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Symphonic Addict on September 15, 2021, 07:00:23 PM
(https://storage.highresaudio.com/web/imgcache/b7255ad24c560663756cd1aca22914c2/zi63tk-finziorche-preview-m3_550x550.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on September 15, 2021, 10:53:05 PM
(https://storage.highresaudio.com/web/imgcache/b7255ad24c560663756cd1aca22914c2/zi63tk-finziorche-preview-m3_550x550.jpg)

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?

(https://i.imgur.com/3PZxI4w.jpg)
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on September 17, 2021, 10:08:38 AM
(https://storage.highresaudio.com/web/imgcache/b7255ad24c560663756cd1aca22914c2/zi63tk-finziorche-preview-m3_550x550.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Roasted Swan on September 17, 2021, 11:35:10 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.......
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: vandermolen on September 17, 2021, 08:30:10 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on September 19, 2021, 10:45:48 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on September 20, 2021, 02:14:20 AM
The only section of my LPs sorted by label not composer.
Interesting!  ;D

PD
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Irons on September 20, 2021, 06:44:16 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.
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Pohjolas Daughter on September 20, 2021, 07:06:24 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
Title: Re: Gerald Finzi
Post by: Mirror Image on September 20, 2021, 10:58:04 AM
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.