Full list of works (with Amazon.co.uk links)

Title begins with:  A B C D E F G H I L M N O P R S T V W

A Severn Rhapsody

This early work, akin to Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad rhapsody, was cited as “a picturesque and imaginative composition” and given a Carnegie publication award in 1924. With its luminous textures and obvious folksong influences, the music has the strongest English resonance to appeal to and stimulate the imagination of an audience.

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A Young Man’s Exhortation

This collection of the late 1920s acknowledges the influence of Holst and Vaughan Williams at times in its textures and melodic structure. It is Finzi’s only true song cycle for voice and piano, non-narrative yet tracking a path from youthful vigour and idealism to a peaceful farewell to life beneath the autumnal trees. The first part of the cycle is subtitled with the text: “In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up” while that attached to the second part is “In the evening it is cut down, and withereth.” The songs span the full range between the lush harmony of Her Temple and the sparse strands of The Comet at Yell’ham. Here are songs of youthful sincerity in which moments of moving intensity shine through, the composer showing himself to be at one with the mind of the poet.

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All This Night

A colourful Christmas fanfare which makes a dramatic addition to any programme of festive music or liturgical celebration. The text describes the cockerel ‘chanticleer’ crowing all night with joy at the birth of Christ. As with all of Finzi’s music, the tuning in this unaccompanied motet is crucially important and, given the amount of divisi writing, it does present choirs with a considerable challenge. It repays the study amply, however, and also makes an excellent foil to Finzi’s more lyrical, reflective music with which most people are familiar.

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Before and After Summer

Within this group of Hardy settings the quizzical conclusion of Childhood among the ferns and the expectant fervour of the piano opening of Before and After Summer are notable highlights. The collection as a whole is marked by its varied colouring and the composer’s gift of mirroring musically the inflexions of speech. Most remarkable of all is the setting of Hardy’s war poem Channel Firing, one of Finzi’s most ambitious songs in scope and formal design, in which a six-minute structure somewhat resembling the four movements of a symphony is held together tautly by a gunfire figure and a brief melodic motif.

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Boy Johnny

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By Footpath and Stile

This cycle of six songs represents the first of Finzi’s over fifty settings of Hardy. The music reflects a youthful composer’s intuitive response to poems which were themselves newly published but Finzi’s musical hallmarks are already evident, even if they are not as sophisticated in their presentation as in the songs which were to follow. The collection forms an important first milestone.

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Cello Concerto

The last phase of Finzi’s output following the Second World War saw a series of larger scale works culminating in the completion of the Cello Concerto, the work which dominated his final year and was first broadcast on the night before his death in 1956. Barbirolli championed the concerto actively, with the Cheltenham premiere being followed by a Royal Festival Hall and a Prom performance, which at any other time in Finzi’s life would have signalled a major breakthrough. In the years since the composer’s death, the work has become increasingly admired and performed as one of Finzi’s most eloquent and richly inventive scores. The solo writing for cello, whilst remaining in a traditional orbit, is the most virtuosic of any of his works, with a growing list of solo interpreters, headed by Raphael Wallfisch.

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Channel Firing

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Childhood Among the Ferns

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Clarinet Concerto

The Clarinet Concerto, Finzi’s most widely performed and recorded orchestral work, shows his particular empathy for this solo instrument. Here the clarinet’s equal facility for sustained legato melody and rapid virtuosic figuration is supported by and interacts with his ever-imaginative writing for strings. The concerto breathes an air of fresh spontaneity, moving through baroque-inflected pastoralism, aching Elgarian echoes and lively folk-inspired melody. Artists who have become particularly associated with the work in concert and on disc in recent years include Emma Johnson, Richard Stoltzman, Michael Collins and Andrew Marriner. Its string accompaniment makes it ideal for coupling with Dies natalis or Let us garlands bring, shorter works such as the Prelude and Romance, or string orchestra repertoire by Elgar, Vaughan Williams or Britten.

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Clear & Gentle Stream

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Clock of the Years

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Concertos for strings, or piano (organ or harpsichord) with string accompaniment

Finzi was an artist highly cultivated in the range of his interests. Whether it be the collecting of English literature, the saving from extinction of rare varieties of apple, or the promotion of composers – dead and living – who he considered to be neglected, he threw himself heart and soul into the task. With music, this enthusiasm resulted in a number of arrangements and performing editions which remain, as much as ever, of practical use and interest, while also serving as testimony to Finzi’s energy and vision.

Sheet Music: No.1 in D | No. 2 in B minor | No. 3 in GNo. 4 in D minor | No. 5 in A | No. 6 in B flat


Concertos for cello, clarinet & violin

Issued in conjunction with the Finzi Trust to mark the composer’s centenary

Cello Concerto edited by Jeremy Dale Roberts, solo part edited by Raphael Wallfisch. New authoritative edition supplants the existing edition by Christopher Bunting

Violin Concerto edited by Stephen Banfield, solo part edited by Tasmin Little. First performed in 1928, only the slow movement was published in the composer’s lifetime, as the Introit op.6 for solo violin and small orchestra. That work remains available in its own right, but in the Violin Concerto nine bars have been restored to the slow movement for inclusion at performers discretion. Recording of the complete Violin Concerto by Tasmin Little and the City of London Sinfonia, conducted by Richard Hickox, has recently been released by Chandos

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Dancing On The Hilltops

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Dead In The Cold

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Dies Natalis

Quintessentially the essence of Finzi, Dies Natalis sets texts by the 17th century poet Thomas Traherne which reflect the joy and wonder of a newborn child’s innocent perspective on the world. The richly textured, resourceful string writing and the long instrumental melodic lines have a broad sweep which carries the music naturally forwards in a unity of spirit with the poetry – a hallmark of Finzi’s art. The subtle inflections of the word-setting and the arching lyricism have attracted many leading vocalists to the work in concert and on disc, including Wilfred Brown, Ian Partridge, Philip Langridge, Ian Bostridge and John Mark Ainsley. Although particularly associated with the tenor voice, Dies natalis was premiered and is increasingly performed by sopranos, including Amanda Roocroft and Rebecca Evans.

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Earth and Air and Rain

Composed between 1932 and 1936, this cycle contains two of Finzi’s best known songs Rollicum-Rorum and To Lizbie Browne. Curiously, in a self-effacing moment, he described these pieces as “the two worst in the set”, an opinion which says more about Finzi’s introvert character than his artistic judgement. The exuberance of the former song and the simple pathos of the latter in which the music and the text seem to have been forged together, speaks memorably to the listener, whilst the drama of The Clock of the Years is terrifyingly vivid. As Stephen Banfield writes, “In some ways this is Finzi’s richest score”.

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Eclogue

This central movement of an uncompleted piano concerto, with its posthumous editorial title, was subject to two reworkings in Finzi’s lifetime. Simple yet rich in texture and imbued with strength and eloquence, this is musical concentrate of the highest quality which is unfailingly moving in performance. Its immediate popular appeal has been proven by the mass CD sales which followed the release and broadcast of the Nimbus recording.

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Elegy

Composed in June 1940 and intended to be the central section of a violin sonata, this serene movement acknowledges Finzi’s indebtedness to Bach. The sonority and length of line are beguiling as the music builds to a climax of arresting intensity, from which it recedes to the final repose, evident too in the simplicity of its opening.

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Farewell to Arms

“A poetic diptych of lyric simplicity and directness” – The Guardian

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Ferry Me Across The Water

There are currently no details.

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Five Bagatelles

This distinctive suite of short movements is now a cornerstone of the clarinet repertoire for players of all ages. Orchestral, string quartet and wind ensemble versions are also available.

Buy CD | Sheet music: Clarinet and piano | Clarinet and strings | Flute and piano | Clarinet and string quartet | Symphonic band


For St Cecilia

This is ideal for choirs who have enjoyed performing works such as Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens, an ode with which it bears many similarities, not least in the resplendent, ceremonial orchestral prelude which announces the choir’s fanfare-like first entry. The work provides plenty of variety in the choral writing and there are few sections with complex counterpoint, making it readily performable by most choral societies. There are doublings in all four voice parts but these are by no means extended and, save for a few isolated bars, the orchestra accompanies the choir throughout. A semi-chorus is indicated for a short passage in the centre of the work but this may be sung by all the singers if the choir is small. For choirs who have not performed any Finzi previously, this work would make an excellent and rewarding introduction.

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Four Songs

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God is Gone Up

This anthem has rightly become an integral part of the choral repertoire, suitable for use on festive and celebratory occasions. Larger choruses will welcome the version with full orchestra – God is Gone Up would make an excellent opening item for a concert. Composed in a simple ABA form, the outer sections capture the celebratory spirit of the text with rising figures and fanfare effects, while the central section is a more reflective contrast, while still energetic. This anthem, probably Finzi’s most well-known piece of sacred music, is of immediate appeal to choirs, congregations and concert audiences alike.

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Grand Fantasia and Toccata

This novel response to concerto form offers a refreshing counterblast to the former perception of Finzi as a purely pastoral composer. The stately Fantasia, with its dotted rhythms suggesting a baroque French overture, is improvisatory in mood: the orchestra silently observes the keyboard’s elaborate flourishes for much of the movement, before providing its own commentary. The accumulated tension is released in the energy and orchestral brilliance of the Toccata, the principal thematic material here resembling a fugue subject (though without the expected contrapuntal development) and being deployed on the keyboard with sparkling fingerplay.

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Haste On My Joys

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I Have Loved Flowers That Fade

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I Praise The Tender Flower

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I Said to Love

Finzi planned several volumes of songs in addition to those published in his lifetime, including at least two collections of settings of Hardy’s poetry. I Said to Love was given its first performance at Finzi’s memorial concert in 1957, prompting Vaughan Williams to particularly praise the first and last songs, I Need to Go and I Said to Love, which “hit the nail in my head right away”. Three songs in the collection date from Finzi’s final year: At Middle-Field Gate shows the composer exploring an adventurous harmonic pallette with whole tone configurations, For Life I had never cared greatly has a gentle tunefulness which disguises the skill required to achieve such natural intimacy, and I said to Love provided the composer with a violent, vigorous contrast to his work at scoring In terra pax.

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In Terra Pax

Written just two years before Finzi’s death in 1956, In Terra Pax skilfully juxtaposes words of Robert Bridges (which are set for the baritone soloist) with the familiar Christmas passage from St Luke (set for the soprano soloist and chorus). With a childlike serenity of style, the work unites all its feelings, images and familiar events into one simple, shapely musical narrative. The choral writing falls into a series of short sections: while there is doubling in all four parts, in particular the soprano and tenor sections, and while there are some isolated moments of unaccompanied singing, the individual lines are not technically demanding. Given the varied possibilities of accompaniment, In Terra Pax is a work that is suited to choirs of all sizes.

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In Years Defaced

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Interlude

Stemming from a suggested commission of an oboe concerto or suite, this music (when published in 1936) represented as Stephen Banfield asserts “the first real manifestation of Finzi’s mature idiom”. The demanding solo part is underpinned with idiomatic string writing, as the music evolves with a natural flowing momentum. The work has a cyclic feeling to it. Its power of expression makes it rewarding for players and listeners alike.

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Intimations of Immortality

This is the most extended of Finzi’s choral works, composed in one continuous musical movement of truly symphonic proportions. Perhaps of all the choral works, Intimations shows his word-setting at its most expressive and poignant, demonstrating his personal and individual affinity with the poet Wordsworth, and his resourcefulness in finding imaginative ways to set poetry which many had regarded as unsettable because of its classic status. The variety of moods ranges widely, from the pastoral lyricism of the opening, through the intimate Delius-like The rainbow comes and goes, to the jazzy and extrovert depiction of birdsong which is close in idiom to Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast or Lambert’s Rio Grande. The work would provide a substantial second half to a programme for choral societies, and is enjoyable and rewarding to rehearse, but is not without its demands on the chorus in terms of stamina and expressive flexibility. The solo tenor part has been performed and recorded by leading tenors including Philip Langridge, Martyn Hill and John Mark Ainsley.

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Introit (for solo violin and small orchestra)

Finzi, who constantly revised his own work, could not bring himself to rest contentedly with the outer movements of his Violin Concerto. However, the central section became established during the composer’s lifetime as a piece in its own right. It is described in the score as “a short work in the nature of a concertante movement, with an orchestral accompaniment almost as important as the solo violin part. Marked molto sereno, it is in a mood of quiet rapture throughout.” With its ever soaring solo line, the spirit of the music has much in common with Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending.

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Let us Garlands Bring

Five Shakespeare Songs for baritone and piano, or baritone and strings

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Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
(for tenors (or sopranos) and basses (or altos) and piano)

This song, together with God is Gone Up and All this night, occupied the composer during the first period of hospital treatment for Hodgkin’s Disease. Despite these circumstances, the resulting work is tunefully optimistic in its bright march-like character. The music was originally intended for male voices, but is equally performable by female voices, and accompaniment can be either piano, or strings and piano.

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Lily Has A Smooth Stalk

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Linnet In A Gilded Cage

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Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice

This is one of a distinguished series of choral works commissioned by the Rev Walter Hussey for performance by the choir of St Matthew’s Church, Northampton (others include Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb, and Hussey commissioned Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms when his career took him to Chichester Cathedral). In terms of Finzi’s output, this was the longest single span of music he had yet written, and is available in versions with full orchestra or organ. Stephen Banfield in his book on the composer thinks it contains some of Finzi’s finest music, portraying the liturgical drama of the Eucharist in a series of characterful sections commencing with a solemn, almost improvisatory, introduction. Although the work is suitable for both small and large choirs, the voice-parts themselves (all of which divide) need to be well balanced: each is cast into the limelight at some point (some lines may even be sung as a solo) during the piece and there are a few passages of unaccompanied writing, most notably the first, very magical chorus entry. The expressive lines, colourful accompaniment and dramatic choral writing make this a great favourite with choirs. The closing eight-part Amen is one of the most remarkable and poignant pieces of choral writing of its period.

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Love’s Labours Lost

Finzi’s music for Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost, one of his least-known works that deserves wider performance, was created soon after the end of World War II and represented something of a compositional watershed. Writing short items to the tight three-week deadline of a broadcast proved to be a liberating experience for a composer so used to revisiting and refining works over decades: the theatrical fluency Finzi discovered was an important ingredient in the confident burst of works of his last years. The three orchestral soliloquies, originally written to accompany spoken passages in the play, may be performed separately, and are perfect fare for summer festivals or concerts with a Shakespearean theme.

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Lullaby Oh Lullaby

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Magnificat
for soloists (ad lib), chorus and orchestra)

This is one of the most extended of Finzi’s shorter choral works, and was written for the choir of Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, the composer’s first overseas commission. It was intended for a Christmas Vespers service, rather than for standard liturgical use, concluding with an Amen not a Gloria, and the composer planned an orchestral version from the onset. It is typical of Finzi’s lyrical approach with a great deal of contrapuntal writing. There is also great drama in the work, with the scattering of the proud, and the shewing of strength being particularly forceful. The solo parts are generally brief but telling, and there is a section for semi-chorus. The final Amen is similar in nature to the great conclusion Finzi wrote for Lo, the full, final sacrifice. Arrangements for chorus and string orchestra and chorus and organ are also available.

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Margaret Has A Milking Pail

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My Lovely One

This is the first of the set of three anthems in this opus which also includes God is Gone Up, and Welcome Sweet and Sacred feast, but is on an altogether different scale from the others, being short and straightforward. It sets post-metaphysical verse by the 16th/17th century poet Edward Taylor and is a piece which is full of beauty and longing, making it entirely suitable as a wedding anthem, as at its first performance.

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My Spirit Sang All Day

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Nightingales

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Nocturne (New Year Music)

“I love New Year’s Eve,” wrote Finzi, “though I think it’s the saddest time of the year”. Of New Year Music, he added “Here, then, are no merry-makings and such-like, but something of the mood which is well suggested by the words of Robert Bridges: ‘When the stars were shining / Fared I forth alone’.” From the softest of openings, Finzi conjures an atmospheric picture in sound, climaxing in a broad chorale reminiscent of a carol, before the opening tranquillity returns to this piece of high solemnity.

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Oh Fair to See

The first five songs in this posthumous collection date from the late 1920s and early ’30s when Finzi’s vocal art was first flowering. Poets appear as old friends such as Hardy and Rossetti, or as new acquaintances such as Ivor Gurney whose poetry and songs Finzi discovered and worked hard to bring to greater recognition, and Edmund Blunden who inspired in To Joy a moving and bleak depiction of the child lost to death in a wintry landscape. Harvest was progressed at the time of the composer’s collaboration with Blunden on For St Cecilia in the 1940s when a cycle was under discussion. The song was not completed until Finzi’s final summer of 1956, when he also composed the Bridges setting Since We Loved, his last completed music which turned out to be a fitting memorial, described by Stephen Banfield as a “beautiful and perfect final love letter to [his wife] Joy, to his art, and to life itself.”

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Prelude

Originally conceived in the 1920s as the opening movement of a (subsequently uncompleted) chamber symphony, to be entitled The Bud, the Blossom and the Berry, the Prelude nevertheless stands convincingly as an independent piece. The music has a compelling forward drive, building to a concluding climax of power and expectancy, as the prevailing minor key breaks into the radiant warmth of the major.

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Prelude and Fugue

Conceived as a tribute to Finzi’s renowned teacher R O Morris, this piece follows contrapuntal disciplines with a strictness of which the dedicatee would certainly have approved. With its piquant dissonances the music follows a Purcellian tradition, whilst standing alone as the only chamber piece for strings within the Finzi catalogue.

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Rollicum-Rorum

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Romance

Highly passionate in character and rich in its melodic invention, Finzi’s writing here is characteristically open-hearted and approachable. From the stillness of the opening, the music unfolds, reaching a peak of intensity before returning to its roots. This miniature is a string orchestral gem to set alongside Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro.

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Rosy Maiden Winifred

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Seven Unaccompanied Part Songs

A wide-ranging quintessentially English setting of lyrical poetry by Robert Bridges, resulting in some of the finest unaccompanied part songs of their period. Enter Bridges’s descriptive world and you will find that Finzi adds a vivid third dimension. There is a great deal of variety in the set from the simple and direct setting of I Praise the Tender Flower, the omission of the basses in I Have Loved Flowers that Fade, through the elated emotions of My Spirit Sang All Day, to the sultry summer by the river in Clear and Gentle Stream, the beautiful and ruminative Nightingales with its extraordinary ending, the lightness of touch in Haste on, my joys!, and weighty emotions expressed in the last song, Wherefore Tonight so Full of Care.

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Songs to Poems by Christina Rossetti

Finzi’s op.1 followed a contemporary vogue for the artfully simplistic verse of Christina Rossetti, but responded with choral settings pointing the way towards an individual style and foreshadowing word-setting techniques in the later songs.

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The Fall of the Leaf (Elegy)

Encouraged by Arthur Bliss, Finzi retained this final part of a projected chamber symphony, giving it a title borrowed from a dance in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. The music remained the subject of continued scrutiny by the composer until a two-piano version was completed in the 1940s. Even then, the orchestration was left for completion by Howard Ferguson after Finzi’s death. Unashamedly elegiac in character, the piece is vivid in its contrasts, being majestic and particularly impressive at the summits of its musical contours.

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The Phantom

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There’s Snow On The Fields

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Thou Didst Delight My Eyes

This setting of a poem by Robert Bridges is a short but highly effective part song which needs tenors capable of sustaining high A flats for a number of beats, and basses who are able to sustain high D flats quite gently. It is an interesting supplement to the Bridges settings in the Seven Part Songs.

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Three Short Elegies

These settings of the 16/17th century poet William Drummond were composed early in Finzi’s career and, in focusing on human transience, can be seen to set the elegiac tone for many of his later works. The three miniatures have many familiar musical fingerprints which Finzi aficionados will relish. As with all of the composer’s unaccompanied part songs, the settings are free and need careful thought and interpretation to make the most of his often gestural approach which, when handled with sensitivity, puts the music on to a higher plane than the bare notes on the page might suggest.

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Till Earth Outwears

This posthumous collection of Hardy settings follows Finzi’s example of assembling songs from throughout his life. Both It never looks like summer here and I look into my glass parallel Hardy’s inexorable twists of fate through darkening harmonic cycles. The market-girl and At a lunar eclipse were first penned in the late ’20s and originally intended for A Young Man’s Exhortation, but were revisted in the early ’40s: the former is a good example of Finzi’s syllabic parlando style, and the latter an astronomical study akin to The comet at Yell’ham. The collection is rounded off in apt fashion with Life laughs onward, a resourceful and wistful depiction of the old succumbing to the young – central imagery for both Hardy and Finzi.

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To a Poet

The song To a poet had a special significance for Finzi as something of an artistic credo, in which time is the ultimate and apt testimony for a creative artist. A first version was written in the 1920s, and the composer buried a copy of the song under the porch when his new house at Ashmansworth was being built, returning to revise the song in the early war years. He selected the song as one of his most satisfying creations, along with June on Castle Hill. The latter dates from the same wartime period and can be seen as a direct response to Finzi’s despairing reaction to darkening events in Europe. Intrada sets the Traherne poem that also inspired the opening orchestral movement of Dies natalis, while the Ode on the rejection of St Cecilia provided the composer with a biting modernist antithesis to his work on Blunden’s celebratory Ode to St Cecilia.

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Two Sonnets
(for tenor (or soprano) and small orchestra)

In returning to consider the brevity of life – a subject which continually inspired his creativity – Finzi employs chamber orchestra forces to match those of Farewell to Arms. The songs, in the composer’s words, “come off better in performance than they look as if they would”. Indeed, the instrumental textures here are often thinner, but Finzi’s melodic and harmonic hallmarks shine out as clearly as ever in this intuitive musical response to Milton’s verse.

Sheet music: Original version | Piano accompaniment


Violin Concerto

Finzi wrote his Violin Concerto in the mid-1920s for Sybil Eaton (a gifted young artist with whom he had become infatuated). In May 1927, Eaton played the second and third movements under Malcolm Sargent (Finzi having already rejected the opening movement), and when Vaughan Williams arranged another performance the following year, Finzi decided to have another stab at that problematic first movement. Still he was dissatisfied, and subsequently published the slow movement separately as his Op.6 Introit. It’s a hugely enjoyable creation, the bracingly, back-to-Bach vigour of its outer movements framing a central molto sereno of limpid beauty.

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Welcome, Sweet and Sacred Feast

One of Finzi’s outstanding choral pieces. More straightforward (and shorter) than the better-known Lo, the full, final sacrifice (with which it shares a eucharistic theme), this piece will serve as an ideal introduction to Finzi’s more extended choral works with organ. It contains some of Finzi’s most impressive word setting in this medium and a good deal of variety and colour.

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When I set out for Lyonnesse

The appeal of this popular song from the cycle Earth and Air and Rain is heightened in an orchestral arrangement which adds colour and drama to the steady tread of the poet’s journey.

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Wherefore Tonight So Full of Care

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White-Flowering Days

This was Finzi’s contribution to A Garland for the Queen, a collection of part songs by major British composers of the day commissioned as an act of homage to the new Queen on the occasion of her coronation and first performed on the night before the ceremony. Finzi set a poem of Edmund Blunden and responded perfectly in music to his images of nature, spring and renewal which were entirely appropriate to the occasion.

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Title begins with:  A B C D E F G H I L M N O P R S T V W