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. 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 .
James Gilchrist's singing is at one with this approach. It is good to hear the voice gain resonance and make the comparatively rare forte carry more in the way of release than a more habitually robust manner would do. His clarity and precision are warmed by a rare sweetness of tone, and the lie of these songs appears to suit him to perfection. --Gramophone
These are fine performances....The Bournemouth chorus sing cleanly..... The orchestra sustain all comparisons and one feels David Hill's direction to be both firm and inspiring. --Gramophone