to Finzi Friends

Supporting and sustaining interest in British composer Gerald Finzi

Exploring Finzi – further suggestions

1. To Lizbie Browne

To Lizbie Browne is a song from Finzi’s cycle Earth and Air and Rain (1936), setting poems by Thomas Hardy. In the first of two short videos Martin Bussey, introduces the song cycle and the connection between Finzi and Hardy.

In the second video Martin moves to the piano to discuss the song in detail, playing and singing extracts as illustration. 

Here are links to a couple of recordings of different baritones and pianists performing To Lizbie Browne:

Benjamin Luxon and David Willinson

Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside

Mark Stone and Stephen Barlow

Stephen Varcoe and Clifford Benson’s recording is not currently available to listen to online but you can find it to buy here.

Let us know if there’s a particular work by Finzi which you would like to hear explored in this way!

2. A Young Man’s Exhortation

In this second video in our series, Finzi Friends Chairman Martin Bussey, introduces the song cycle A Young Man’s Exhortation. His previous video (below) looking at the song To Lizbie Browne described the important artistic and creative connection between Finzi and Hardy. Here Martin develops this subject in more detail before moving to the piano to play excerpts from A Young Man’s Exhortation.

Here are links to a couple of recordings of different tenors and pianists performing A Young Man’s Exhortation:

John-Mark Ainsley and Iain Burnside

Neil Jenkins and Howard Ferguson

Each of the links above takes you to the first song, and the other songs in the cycle are individually listed on You Tube.

Two other recordings – by Mark Padmore and Roger Vignoles, and Martyn Hill and Clifford Benson – are not currently available to listen to online but you can buy them here.

Let us know if there’s a particular work by Finzi which you would like to hear explored in this way!

3. Cello Concerto

Finzi Friends Chairman Martin Bussey continues his Exploring Finzi series of short videos examining key works by the composer. Martin looks here at a late composition, the ‘cello concerto, and considers whether the work’s structure may seem problematic for modern listeners. Martin explores the composer’s approach to orchestration and, illustrated by excerpts at the piano, looks at Finzi’s thematic ideas.

Here are links to free recordings of performances of the Cello Concerto:

Yo-Yo Ma with RPO and Vernon Handley

Tim Hugh with the Northern Sinfonia and Haward Griffiths

Michael Grebanier (orchestra and conductor uncredited)

Recordings by Paul Watkins (with the BBCSO/Andrew Davis) and Finzi Friends’ Vice-Chairman Raphael Wallfisch (with the RLPO/Vernon Handley) are not currently available to listen to online. Click here to watch Raphael Wallfisch’s own guide to the Cello Concerto.

The Exploring Finzi series features other significant works by Finzi, such as his setting of To Lizbie Browne and the song-cycle A Young Man’s Exhortation, both featuring the poetry of Thomas Hardy. These videos can be viewed here.

 

Let us know if there’s a particular work by Finzi which you would like to hear explored in this way!

4. Proud Songsters

In this fourth video, Finzi Friends Chairman Martin Bussey returns to Finzi’s relationship with the poetry of Thomas Hardy, to consider the setting of Proud Songsters. Exploring not only the version by Finzi, but also that of Britten, Martin illustrates with examples sung at the piano, and introduces his own setting of Hardy’s poem, the prelude to his new opera Timeless Figure for Tête à Tête: the Opera Festival this September.

Here are links to free recordings of Finzi’s Proud Songsters:

Roderick Williams with Iain Burnside (piano)

Benjamin Luxon with David Willison (piano)

John Carol Case with Howard Ferguson (piano)

And recordings of Britten’s Proud Songsters:

Peter Pears with Benjamin Britten (piano)

Ian Bostridge with Antonio Pappano (piano)

Ian Partridge with Jennifer Partridge (piano)

 

Let us know if there’s a particular work by Finzi which you would like to hear explored in this way!