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new-classics.co.uk, November 2016

This splendid 8 CD anthology includes critically acclaimed recordings of some of Gerald Finzi’s works. The themes of fragility and transient existence are expressed in three early song anthologies with words by Thomas Hardy. Intimations of Immortality is a deeply touching lament for the passing of the freshness of childhood, while the tender Dies Natalis is a setting of texts by the 17th century poet Thomas Traherne. Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice takes the listener through a feast of moods and textures and ends with one of the most sublime Amens in all choral music. His wonderful songs use soul-searching, poignant, romantic texts and he had the knack for writing singable, graceful melodies. …His music continues to be much admired and celebrated as it embraces a rich variety of moods, from elegiac lyricism, through spiritual reflection, to radiant joy. © 2016 new-classics.co.uk Read complete review



David Denton
Yorkshire Post, October 2016

Featuring the singers Roderick Williams and James Gilchrist; cellist Tim Hugh; the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia, these excellent studio recordings, made over the last ten years, come in as attractive boxed set with detailed programme notes, and are offered in the super-budget price category. © 2016 Yorkshire Post



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, October 2016

Finzi’s ineffable enchantment at word setting and musicality generally has won an enduring place in the annals of twentieth century pastoral-mystical-ecstatic British music.

The recordings date from 1995 to 2008 and are good interpretations and recordings. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Jerobear
Review Corner, September 2016

…enjoyable and relatively undemanding. © 2016 Review Corner Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2016

Released over a period of ten years, these eight discs provide the perfect introduction to the works of the 20th century English-born composer, Gerald Finzi. Born in 1901 and musically educated during the turbulent years of the First World War, Finzi was never a physically strong person, his early years scarred by the death of his father with his three brothers soon afterwards dying in quick succession. The final piece of sadness came with the loss of his mentor, Ernest Farrar, killed in action during the war. He was to seek solace with a life largely spent in the countryside, a spiritual relationship that brought a pastoral atmosphere to much that he wrote, his music following closely in the footsteps of Vaughan Williams. He did enjoy some success in the concert hall, but it was muted, and in the years that followed his death in 1956, his sizeable collection of works suffered much neglect. I guess that it came as something as a surprise to Naxos that their recording of the Clarinet Concerto, linked with sundry works for chamber orchestra, became one of the label’s top selling releases and a classical chart-topping disc. It was to be the precursor of the eight discs that have done much to bring his name to an international audience. It speaks volumes of Naxos’s belief in British music and their choice of artists has been inspired, and nowhere more so than in the tenor, James Gilchrist, the incomparable soloist in Dies natalis, and Intimations of Immortality. Tim Hugh’s playing is outstanding in the Cello Concerto, arguably Finzi’s finest score written when he knew his life was almost at an end. More recently we have had three releases in the ‘English Song Series’, two featuring the UK’s most outstanding baritone, Roderick Williams. Finzi also wrote choral music, the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, covering much ground on a disc that includes, Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice, and Seven Unaccompanied Partsongs. The Northern Sinfonia and the Bournemouth Symphony cover the orchestral discs, and the pianist, Iain Burnside, has masterminded the Song Series discs. The sound quality throughout is very good, with the orchestral discs being of exceptional quality. Now conveniently packaged in a box, but still in jewel cases with highly informative notes, they also contain, with one exception, the vocal words. Eight discs that come for the price of six. Highly recommended. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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