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Gerald Finzi - Violin Concerto CD

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Performer: Gerald Finzi, Richard Hickox, John Mark Ainsley
  • Orchestra: City of London Sinfonia
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Composer: Gerald Finzi, City of London Sinfonia
  • Audio CD (15 Jan. 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B000056KNH
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 88,575 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Concerto for Small Orchestra and Solo Violin
  2. Romance, Op. 11
  3. Prelude, Op. 25
  4. In Years Defaced
  5. To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence
  6. When I Set Out for Lyonnesse
  7. In Years Defaced
  8. Tall Nettles
  9. At a Lunar Eclipse
  10. Proud Songsters

Product Description

Product Description

Concerto pour violon - Romance - Prélude op.25 / John Mark Ainsley, ténor - Tasmin Little, violon - City of London Sinfonia - Richard Hickox, direction

Amazon.co.uk

Gerald Finzi wrote his Violin Concerto in the mid-1920s for Sybil Eaton (a gifted young artist with whom he had become infatuated). In May 1927, Eaton played the second and third movements under Malcolm Sargent (Finzi having already rejected the opening movement), and when Vaughan Williams arranged another performance the following year, Finzi decided to have another stab at that problematic first movement. Still he was dissatisfied, and subsequently published the slow movement separately as his Op.6 Introit. It's a hugely enjoyable creation, the bracingly, back-to-Bach vigour of its outer movements framing a central Molto sereno of limpid beauty. A lovely first recording, too, with Tasmin Little at her rapt best. The concerto is preceded by sensitively shaded readings of the wonderfully touching Romance and Prelude, and there's another debut on disc in the shape of In Years Defaced. Of the six songs that comprise the latter, only one ("When I Set Out for Lyonnesse") was actually orchestrated by Finzi, the remainder having been clothed in the most subtle garb by five contemporary composers including such luminaries as Colin Matthews, Judith Weir and Anthony Payne (of Elgar Three fame). Tenor John Mark Ainsley is as eloquent as one could wish, and the sound is excellent. --Andrew Achenbach

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a disk of two halves both of which are quite literally stunning. The arrangements of the songs in the Years Defaced cycle are wonderfully sympathetic to the Finzi heritage and performed with glorious tone and diction. There are too few orchestral songs of this calibre in the English heritage. The violin Concerto is typical Finzi and rapturous as might be anticipated. The slow movement is too long, as he acknowledged, but this serves to heighten the emotional experience. I have played this over and over again and it rates as one of the best Finzi disks I have found.
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Format: Audio CD
In addition to the wonderful songs and the reconstructed concerto (with its perfect slow movement) this disc also contains superb performances of both the Prelude and the Romance for string orchestra.
The only problem with this recording will be stopping listening to it.
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By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Jan. 2016
Format: Audio CD
This disc of Finzi’s work features the premier recording of his violin concerto of 1927. (In his sleevenotes Stephen Banfield explains why the performance at Southampton University in 1999 was only the second performance ever of a work that Finzi had started in 1925.)

Tamsin Little provides an inspirational performance. The work lasts twenty minutes: a six-minute allegro, a superb central ten-minute molto sereno, and ending with a four-minute hornpipe rondo. It is difficult to understand why Finzi was dissatisfied with his the allegro as it combines beauty with energy, like being punched in the face with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. It is instantly likeable and still sounds fresh after repeated hearings. Through its sheer romantic beauty, the molto sereno is one of those pieces where the hairs stand up on the back of the neck. The stylistic link to Vaughan Williams is clear. Finally, the hornpipe rondo is not as naff as it sounds: the piece has much melody but is never a parody.

‘In Years Defaced’ comprises six of Finzi’s songs. Each has been orchestrated by a different composer: Colin Matthews, Jeremy Dale Roberts, Christian Alexander, Judith Weir, Anthony Payne, and Finzi himself. The suite was Jeremy Dale Roberts’s idea at the behest of the Finzi Trust to celebrate his centenary. Four of the songs are to poems by Thomas Hardy, and the whole set is sung by John mark Ainsley. I tried but had difficulty getting much inspiration from the set, although there are pleasant surprises, such as the subtle and unexpected tam-tam at the end of Colin Matthews’s contribution. Perhaps the problem lies in the use of a tenor rather than a baritone. The best of the six is Finzi’s own, which has been transposed!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a devotee of Gerald Finzi having recently bought the Diana McVeagh Biography if the great man.
This CD contains some really interesting Finzi music with tams in Little expert at expressing his thoughts in the sole Violin Concerto that Finzi wrote.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x93c2078c) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94457324) out of 5 stars Finzi's Modest Beauty 6 May 2001
By Thomas F. Bertonneau - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Much worthy English music issues from the atéliers of minor talents and has a cottage or "small beer" quality. Of course "small beer" (locally brewed) can put the grand variety to shame, and so too in music, where dedication within limitation can produce work of exceptional beauty and character. John Ireland is one such (a miniaturist extraordinaire); Gerald Finzi (1901-1957) is another. Finzi, although of Italian-Jewish extraction, was London-born and in many ways more English than his teacher Ralph Vaughan Williams. Finzi's best-known work, the "Fantasia" for male voice and strings on texts by Thomas Traherne, "Dies Natalis" (1939), has appeared now and then on records and belongs within the knowledge of those who make a place for English composers. It displays its author's strong points - felicitous writing for the voice, a preference for homogeneous accompaniment (string orchestra), employment of fluid polyphony, and a spaciousness in the sound. Finzi occasionally wrote large, as in his setting of Wordsworth's "Ode: On Intimations of Immortality" (1950) for tenor solo, chorus, and orchestra; or in his Cello Concerto (1955). Oftener, he could not quite execute his own ambitions and a projected big work would appear as separate, smaller offerings. The lovely, Bach-like "Eclogue" for Piano and Strings (1956) represents what remains of a forecast piano concerto, never fulfilled. Likewise and for a long time the "Introit" (1925) for Violin and Small Orchestra, also Bach-like in character, betokened fragmentarily an intended "Concerto for Small Orchestra and Violin." A "reconstruction" of this Concerto forms the cynosure of the program on the new Chandos disc, the producers having restored the two outer movements, suppressed by Finzi after an early performance, for the purpose. Once Finzi fashioned his voice, in the mid-1920s, it never really changed. The original stand-alone "Introit" sounds remarkably like the stand-alone "Eclogue" of thirty years later - but this is not a complaint. The duty of the soloist in all three movements of the Concerto is to levitate his vocally-inflected line above the quiet accompaniment of the chamber orchestra; he must hover, not quite as ecstatically as the lark in RVW's 1914 masterpiece, but with equal serenity. The Finale consists of a Howells-like hornpipe, quite jolly. Hints of English folksong make themselves felt. This is not surprising as the Concerto comes from only a year later than Finzi's first preserved effort, the idyllic "Severn Rhapsody," modeled in turn on similar evocations of genius loci by RVW and Gustav Holst. The Concerto's closest kin might in fact be Holst's Double Concerto, also from the mid-1920s, although the Holst work is more robust than the Finzi, the Finzi more sweetly lyrical than the Holst. Tasmin Little brings an appropriately delicate manner to the solo execution. The other major work on the program also happens to be a "reconstruction," made in this case by transferring a half-dozen Finzi songs from their original keyboard settings to the orchestra, each arrangement having been undertaken by a different composer. (One of the arrangements is by Finzi himself.) The resulting vocal cycle is called "In Years Defaced." The arrangers are: Judith Weir, Anthony Payne, Colin Matthews, Christian Alexander and Jeremy Dale Roberts - who have managed individually and convincingly to recreate Finzi's usual ensemble texture (mainly strings with a few winds for color). Mark Ainsley sings tenor. The "Prelude" and the "Romance," both for string orchestra, have circulated previously in a number of recordings, most recently on a Nimbus 2CD set. They contribute worthily to the English genre of music for strings, being very beautiful, almost retiring in their quietness and modesty. Richard Hickox leads the City of London Sinfonia. Recommended, to aficionados of Finzi especially, but also to lovers of English music.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94457570) out of 5 stars A gem of a cd ! 28 Sept. 2006
By jean couture - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Certainly one of the top five best Finzi discs - i've heard quite a lot and can assess as to the considerable value of this album. Here we find the finest in terms of orchestral and vocal music England has to offer (imho, Holst and Vaughan Williams excepted). Both the `Romance' and the `Prelude' are exemplary ; they arguably receive their finest accounts to date. It doesn't get any better than this! The City of London Sinfonia "gets" what i would term "the Finzi sound" and seems not only to understand but also to convey with the last ounce of authenticity the undercurrents and the many intrinsic subtleties of this music. The Concerto is a nice rarity on disc (the wonderful and well-known `Introit' derives from its Molto sereno centrepiece). Tasmin Little's violin parts are very persuasive and apparently a tad better than her otherwise expressive insights in the renowned Vaughan Williams piece `The Lark Ascending' (BBC/Davis, Teldec). The song cycle `In Years Defaced' is a collage of song arrangements which works rather well in spite of disparate orchestrative roots. Richard Hickox and his musicians share a good part of the merits for the fortunate results in such an adventurous program. Tenor John Mark Ainsley is a wise choice for that kind of stuff, for the result is in the best case pretty good. I agree with Mr. Bertonneau's accurate review and with Andrew Achenbach who, effectively, evaluated the album with positive vibes. I personally rank this album highly in Gerald Finzi's discography. For the sum of its best parts, what you have here is a monumental release in clear and crisp Chandos sound.
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