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FINZI: Dies natalis / Farewell to Arms / 2 Sonnets

Composer(s):Finzi, Gerald
Artist(s) Hill, David, Conductor • Bournemouth Symphony OrchestraGilchrist, James, tenor
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category OrchestralVocal
Catalogue 8.570417
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps
Album Price
 
MP3
USD 6.99
 

 


Quintessentially Finzi, the tender yet radiant Dies natalis, a setting of texts by the 17thcentury poet Thomas Traherne, depicts both the first sensations of a child as it enters the world, and life’s tarnishing experience of the innocence of childhood. In Farewell to Arms, a further example of Finzi’s enthusiasm for 17th-century poets, the steady but inevitable tramp of time, symbolized by the measured bass and the tenor’s sad, arching melody, becomes a poignant symbol for the brevity of life as expressed in lines such as ‘O time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing’. Finzi knew all too well that ‘Beauty, strength, youth are flowers but fading seen’.


   




Review By Andrew Stewart,Classic FM,June 2008

Life’s corrupting compromises, disappointments and shocks inform Finzi’s cantata Dies natalis, a celebrated product of the interwar years that holds its relevance at a time when childhood innocence is so cheaply sold. Yet again in this unbeatable Naxos series, the English tenor James Gilchrist brings musical authority and emotional maturity to bear on music that can easily sound trite or even folksy faux-naïve. His impassioned eloquence is matched by David Hill’s big-boned yet flexible conducting and really fine playing from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Finzi newcomers should start by sampling the first of the Two Sonnets for tenor and orchestra and prepare to be hooked by this truly outstanding album. Farewell to Arms is a welcome

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Review By ,Boosey & Hawkes,April 2008

A superb follow-up to the critically-acclaimed collaboration between James Gilchrist and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under David Hill on the Naxos CD “Intimations of Immortality/For St Cecilia”, “Dies Natalis/Farewell to Arms/Two Sonnets” depicts Gerald Finzi in elegiac mode.

Quintessentially Finzi, the tender yet radiant Dies natalis, a setting of texts by the 17th-century poet Thomas Traherne, depicts both the first sensations of a child as it enters the world, and life’s tarnishing experience of the innocence of childhood.

more....


Review By ,Boosey & Hawkes,April 2008

A superb follow-up to the critically-acclaimed collaboration between James Gilchrist and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under David Hill on the Naxos CD “Intimations of Immortality/For St Cecilia”, “Dies Natalis/Farewell to Arms/Two Sonnets” depicts Gerald Finzi in elegiac mode.

Quintessentially Finzi, the tender yet radiant Dies natalis, a setting of texts by the 17th-century poet Thomas Traherne, depicts both the first sensations of a child as it enters the world, and life’s tarnishing experience of the innocence of childhood.

more....



Review By David Denton, Naxos,April 2008

For too long the music of Gerald Finzi has been kept in England’s artistic backwater as the easier commercial attractions of Vaughan Williams and Elgar have been internationally exploited. He was a very private person, not helped by the fact that he studied composition privately and was never part of the competitive life of a music college. That tendency to introversion was broadened by the death of his mentor and so many friends in the First World War. He was to spend much of his life in the seclusion and peace of the countryside, never craving for the popularity coveted by other composers of his generation. In these surroundings he had many ideas but few that came to fruition, and those that did often took many years. The orchestral song cycle, Dies Natalis, was such a work, having been conceived in the 1920’s but remained unfinished until 1939. He was reluctant to use texts from fashionable sources, the words for the cycle coming from the 17th century writer Thomas Traherne. The result was a score of intense beauty that is a masterpiece of the English vocal repertoire, the use of a high voice and strings creating music that floats on air. Two of his unfinished works share the disc, the Prelude for Strings having started life as a projected first section of a triptych based on the seasons. The final movement became The Fall of the Leaf, but that largely remained in piano duet form on his death, the task of completing the orchestration falling to his friend, Howard Ferguson. When he did use a known poet, John Milton, for the Two Sonnets for Tenor and Orchestra, he was then taken to task for using words that could not be set to music. The short orchestral work, Nocturne (New Year Music), and a further score for tenor and orchestra, Farewell to Arms, complete the release. I don’t suppose we will ever have a more deeply felt recorded performance of Dies Natalis, the music and the tenor voice of James Gilchrist being as one. This is sublime music making, the Bournemouth Symphony strings playing with that innate Englishness Finzi requires. David Hill is the admirable conductor, and the disc is completed by a sound quality of great beauty.

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