Finzi’s Classic FM hat trick

Geraldfinzi.com has received an interesting email from Gordon Thompson, who writes:

You may know that, in the recent Hall of Fame countdown of 300 pieces on Classic FM, Gerald had three entries – which is a remarkable achievement for a composer often perceived to be one with a low(ish) public profile.

I was particularly pleased to see the clarinet concerto (a piece with such a beautiful and moving slow movement) re-enter the chart after quite a long absence, joining Five Bagatelles and the Eclogue.

It annoys me that all sorts of tosh like Philip Glass (sorry if you feel differently about him!) and various sundry purveyors of fashionable contemporary stuff are to be found in the Hall of Fame but there is no room for Dies Natalis or Intimations or the cello concerto – the last being a wonderful piece whose succinct finale is far better, in my opinion, than Elgar’s rambling effort. 

Possibly because of the Barbirolli/DuPré version, the Elgar concerto has almost an untouchable, god-like status in the boardroom at Classic FM and it certainly seems to have airtime sewn up.

There may once have been a problem with Gerald’s traditional image as a “pastoral” composer (with all the adverse associations and implications of that expression), but surely we should be listening, in these more liberal days, to all sorts of music (so far as we can) with unbiased ears or without preconceptions?

Encouraging us to do so, rather than just flogging us the same old, should surely be one of Classic FM’s missions. Someone said to me that, if they heard Rach 2 or the above Elgar (or The Lark or Downton Abbey) again, this week, the radio was going out of the window. I am not (yet) at that point, although another dose of Downton may alter that!

What can we add but “hear, hear!”? For the record (pardon the pun), those chart positions were as follows:

  • 265  – Clarinet Concerto
  • 254 – Five Bagatelles
  • 133 – Eclogue.