GERALD FINZI (1901 - 1956)
Of Italian Jewish ancestry, Gerald Finzi was among the most English of composers, spending much of his life in the countryside of Hampshire and later near Newbury, where the string orchestra he founded became an important vehicle for the performance of his music. His interest in earlier English music and in English literature is largely reflected in his own works, which owe something to Parry, to his older contemporary Vaughan Williams, and to Elgar.
Finzi’s orchestral music includes a Clarinet Concerto and a Cello Concerto, with a Grand Fantasia and Toccata for piano and orchestra. His very English Severn Suite enjoys some popularity, while Introit survives from an abandoned violin concerto.
Vocal and Choral Music
Choral music by Finzi demonstrates his wide knowledge of English literature; it includes settings of poems by near contemporaries such as Edmund Blunden and Robert Bridges, and by the 17th-century poets Crashaw, Traherne and Vaughan. His setting of Wordsworth’s Intimations of Immortality was performed at the West of England Three Choirs Festival in 1950, while his Dies natalis, for soprano or tenor and string orchestra, setting poems by Traherne, was originally intended for the same festival in 1939. The cycle Let us garlands bring, settings of Shakespearian verses for baritone and piano, was also arranged for baritone and string orchestra, and other groups of songs aptly set poems by Hardy.
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|English Choral Music