Magazine article Gramophone. Finzi Five Bagatelles. Although Finzi did not compose much chamber music, his I innately contrapuntal style, informed by enduring fascination for the music of Bach, lends itself well to the idiom--especially when as stunningly performed as here by the Kolner Kammersolisten and a singular instance of a continental recording of Finzi to boot. This is especially true of the two original chamber works from the s, the rarely heard Interlude for oboe and string quartet, and Prelude and Fugue for string trio dedicated to that luminary of counterpoint and pedagogy, RO Morris.
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Finzi is best known as a choral composer, but also wrote in other genres. Large-scale compositions by Finzi include the cantata Dies natalis for solo voice and string orchestra, and his concertos for cello and clarinet. Finzi became one of the most characteristically "English" composers of his generation.
Despite being an agnostic of Jewish descent, several of his choral works incorporate Christian texts. Finzi's father, a successful shipbroker , died just a fortnight short of his son's eighth birthday. During these formative years he also suffered the loss of all three of his brothers. These adversities contributed to Finzi's bleak outlook on life, but he found solace in the poetry of Thomas Traherne and his favourite, Thomas Hardy , whose poems, as well as those by Christina Rossetti , he began to set to music.
In the poetry of Hardy, Traherne, and later William Wordsworth , Finzi was attracted by the recurrent motif of the innocence of childhood corrupted by adult experience. From the very beginning, most of his music was elegiac in tone. Finzi was a former vegetarian. He gave up vegetarianism and favoured eggs, fish and sometimes bacon or chicken.
After Farrar's death, Finzi studied privately at York Minster with the organist and choirmaster Edward Bairstow , a strict teacher compared to Farrar. In , following five years of study with Bairstow, Finzi moved to Painswick in Gloucestershire , where he began composing in earnest. His first Hardy settings and the orchestral piece A Severn Rhapsody were soon performed in London to favourable reviews. In , at the suggestion of Adrian Boult , Finzi took a course in counterpoint with R.
Finzi never felt at home in the city and, having married the artist Joyce Black , settled with her in Aldbourne , Wiltshire , where he devoted himself to composing and apple-growing, saving a number of rare English apple varieties from extinction.
He also amassed a large library of some volumes of English poetry, philosophy and literature, now kept at the University of Reading and a collection some volumes including books, manuscripts and printed scores of 18th-century English music, now kept at the University of St Andrews. During the s, Finzi composed only a few works, but it was in these, notably the cantata Dies natalis to texts by Thomas Traherne , that his fully mature style developed.
He also worked on behalf of the poet-composer Ivor Gurney , who had been committed to a mental hospital. Finzi and his wife catalogued and edited Gurney's works for publication. In the Finzis moved to Ashmansworth in Hampshire , where he founded the Newbury String Players , an amateur chamber orchestra which he conducted until his death, reviving eighteenth century string music as well as giving premieres of works by his contemporaries, and offering chances of performance for talented young musicians such as Julian Bream and Kenneth Leighton.
The outbreak of World War II delayed the first performance of Dies natalis at the Three Choirs Festival , an event that could have established Finzi as a major composer. After the war, he became somewhat more productive than before, writing several choral works as well as the Clarinet Concerto , perhaps his most popular work. By now, Finzi's works were being performed frequently at the Three Choirs Festival and elsewhere.
But this happiness was not to last. In , Finzi learned that he was suffering from the then incurable Hodgkin's disease and had at most ten years to live. Something of his feelings after this revelation is probably reflected in the agonized first movement of his Cello Concerto , Finzi's last major work, although its second movement, originally intended as a musical portrait of his wife, is more serene.
In , following an excursion near Gloucester with Vaughan Williams , Finzi developed shingles , probably as a result of immune suppression caused by Hodgkin's disease. Biographies refer to him subsequently developing chickenpox , which developed into a "severe brain inflammation ". What this probably means, in modern medical language, is that the shingles developed into disseminated shingles , which resembled chickenpox, and was complicated by encephalitis. He died soon afterwards, aged 55, in the Radcliffe Infirmary , Oxford, the first performance of his Cello Concerto on the radio having been given the night before.
His ashes were scattered on May Hill near Gloucester in Among his other songs, the settings of Shakespeare poems in the cycle Let Us Garlands Bring are the best known.
For voice and orchestra he composed the above-mentioned Dies natalis , and the pacifist Farewell to Arms He began what is believed to have been intended as a piano concerto. This was never finished or given a title, but after his death his publisher gave two of the individual movements names and published them as the separate works Eclogue and Grand Fantasia and Toccata.
He also completed a violin concerto which was performed in London under the baton of Vaughan Williams, but was not satisfied with it and withdrew the two outer movements; the surviving middle movement is called Introit. This concerto thus received only its second performance in and its first recording is now on Chandos.
Finzi's Clarinet Concerto and his Cello Concerto are possibly his most famous and frequently performed instrumental works. Of Finzi's few chamber works, only the Five Bagatelles for clarinet and piano have survived in the regular repertoire.
Finzi had a long friendship with the composer Howard Ferguson who, as well as offering advice on his works during his life, helped with the editing of several of Finzi's posthumous works. Finzi's younger son Nigel was a successful violinist, and worked closely with their mother in promoting his father's music. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: List of compositions by Gerald Finzi. This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations.
Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations. June Learn how and when to remove this template message. Gerald Finzi: His Life and Music. Boydell Press. University of St Andrews. Archived from the original on 12 December Retrieved 3 May Categories : births deaths 20th-century classical composers English classical composers Jewish classical composers Jewish agnostics English Jews English people of German-Jewish descent English people of Italian-Jewish descent Academics of the Royal Academy of Music People associated with the University of Reading People from Basingstoke and Deane Musicians from London Compositions by Gerald Finzi Deaths from varicella zoster infection 20th-century English musicians Choral composers 20th-century British composers.
Finzi - Five Bagatelles
A well presented and clearly formatted edition of Gerald Finzi's Five Bagatelles for clarinet. Includes separate piano accompaniment sheet. This product includes pieces featured in grade exams. Click on a grade to view the full syllabus. The first piece, the Prelude, has an exciting edge to it, the way the piano starts playing in a lively way to start off the suite, and then the clarinet enters, and at the end it finishes with a fantastic trill and hits a "D" up of middle "C", it sounds fantastic. The second piece Romance, is indeed romantic, it is slow and melancholic, and in some ways emotional - i could just drift off to sleep when i play it! The third piece, Carol is a lovely piece for the clarinettist of grade 3 standard [ABRSM], the piano introduction is very welcoming and has the "listen" factor, this piece also sounds more complicated than it actually is!
Finzi - Five Bagatelles, Op. 23
Finzi is best known as a choral composer, but also wrote in other genres. Large-scale compositions by Finzi include the cantata Dies natalis for solo voice and string orchestra, and his concertos for cello and clarinet. Finzi became one of the most characteristically "English" composers of his generation. Despite being an agnostic of Jewish descent, several of his choral works incorporate Christian texts.
The Clarinet Quintet