Top positive review
36 people found this helpful
dip your toe into the world of Finzi
on 28 May 2008
2008 may be officially the year of Vaughan Williams - 50th anniversary of his death and all, but it also looks like being the year that Finzi takes his rightful place among the great 20th century composers of England. This is due in no small part to the excellent performances being released by Naxos, which are shaping up as the strongest set of recordings of his works yet released.
Finzi's music is just right for a compilation disc like this. His great strength was song writing, whether he was writing individual songs, cycles of songs, or the songs without words that most of his instrumental works in fact are. While his style flows in a classic Vaughan Williams meets Elgar kind of way the real interest is in the detail. Finzi is a master, the British master, of small scale articulation - of words and even of syllables within words. Naxos' recordings bring this out vividly.
Yes - the larger song cycles are best heard in full - as they tell developing stories over their lengths - but the individual songs from them here stand on their own. The one work that really suffers from being heard in part is the Cello Concerto - Finzi's strongest completed long orchestral work - and one in which he breaks out of his concentration on detail into the successful handling of larger musical structures. The disc ends wonderfully with the brilliantly poised end of the day music of the Eclogue for piano and strings which is excellently recorded.
I'm not the greatest fan of `Best ofs', but this one works. As Finzi's star is still rising this disc may serve a useful purpose as a stepping stone to buying his whole larger works. Mind you - if you like the classic English pastoral sound of Elgar and Vaughan Williams you can confidently buy the discs Naxos compiled this CD from. There is nothing difficult about Finzi - but nothing shallow either - his music is like a pool - you can relax by gazing at it's surface - or you can dip your toes in deeper and start to appreciate the treasures within.