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Gerald Raphael Finzi
1901 - 1956
Great Britain, England
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G. Finzi
Gerald Finzi (14/07/1901 - 27/09/1956), an English composer, born in London. He studied composition with Farrar in Harrogate and Bairstow in York, and counterpoint with RO Morris. Deaths of father, three older brothers and teacher introduced theme of the fragility and transience of existence explored in many later works. Early musical influences include Parry, Elgar and Vaughan Williams, and song composers such as Ivor Gurney. He moved to London in 1926 where he befriended Ferguson and Rubbra and met Vaughan Williams, Holst and Bliss. Early successes included the Thomas Hardy cycles A Young Man's Exhortation and Earth and Air and Rain, which established him as a masterly and sensitive setter of poetry - his oeuvre extends to over 100 songs for soloist or choir. Although many works point to his skill as a miniaturist, after World War II he embraced larger forms including Clarinet Concerto, For St Cecilia and Intimations of Immortality. Works are lyrical, subtly understated, often elegiac in tone, mingling human pain and natural beauty. One of most popular of 20th century British composers, in concert and on disc.
Requiem da Camera
Period:Expressionism
Composed in:1924
Musical form:songs
Text/libretto:John Masefield, Thomas Hardy and W.W. Gibson
Duration:23'42''
In memory of:Ernest Farrar
Label(s):Chandos CHAN 8997
This requiem (for baritone, chorus & orchestra) was dedicated to the memory of his composition tutor Ernest Farrar (1885-1918), who was killed on active service in September 1918. It is no surprise to discover, then, that Finzi was a pacifist.
It contains three songs:
1. Prelude (instrumental)
2. August 1914 by John Masefield (1878 - 1967)
3. In time of the breaking of nations by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
4. Lament by Wilfred Wilson Gibson (1878-1962)
Finzi's "Only a man harrowing clods," text by his favorite Hardy, comes from an unfinished Requiem da Camera. Finzi completed everything but the orchestration. Typically, he put it in a desk drawer and forgot about it until he died. The Requiem has since been orchestrated (by Philip Thomas) and is available on Chandos CHAN8997, along with choral works by Britten and Holst.
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E. Farrar
(dedicatee)
J. Masefield
(text)
Th. Hardy
(text)
W.W. Gibson
(text)