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Finzi, Gerald (Raphael)

Finzi, Gerald (Raphael)

Finzi, Gerald (Raphael), gifted English composer; b. London, July 14, 1901; d. Oxford, Sept. 27, 1956. After training with Ernest Farrar in Harrogate (1914–16) and Edward Bairstow in York (1917–22), he studied counterpoint with R.O. Morris in London (1925). From 1930 to 1933 he taught composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. In 1940 he founded the Newbury String Players, which he conducted in varied programs, including music of 18th century English composers. During World War II, he worked in the Ministry of War Transport (1941–45). He also made his home a haven for German and Czech refugees. In 1951 he was stricken with Hodgkin’s disease, but he continued to pursue his activities until his death. While the influence of Parry, Elgar, and Vaughan Williams may be discerned in some of his works, he found a distinctive style which is reflected in a fine body of orch. and vocal scores. Among his most notable works are the Concerto for Clarinet and Strings, the Cello Concerto, the cantata Dies Natalis, the Intimations of Immortality for Tenor, Chorus, and Orch., and For St. Cecilia for Tenor, Chorus, and Orch.


DRAMATIC Love’s Labours Lost, incidental music to Shakespeare’s play (BBC, Dec. 16, 1946; orch. suite, 1952, 1955; 1st complete perf., BBC, July 26, 1955). ORCH.: Prelude for Strings (1920s; Stockcross, Berks, April 27, 1957); A Severn Rhapsody for Chamber Orch. (1923; Bournemouth, June 4, 1924); Introit for Violin and Small Orch. (1925; 1st perf. as the 2nd movement of a Violin Concerto, later withdrawn, London, May 4, 1927; 1st perf. as a separate work, London, Jan. 31, 1933; rev. 1942); New Year Music (Nocturne) (1926; Bournemouth, March 16, 1932; rev. 1940s); Eclogue for Piano and Strings (late 1920s; rev. late 1940s; London, Jan. 27, 1957); Fantasia for Piano and Orch. (c. 1928; rev. version as Grand Fantasia and Toccata, Newbury, Dec. 9, 1953); The Fall of the Leaf (Elegy) (1929; rev. 1939–41; orchestration completed by H. Ferguson; Manchester, Dec. 11, 1957); Interlude for Oboe and Strings (1932–36; also for Oboe and String Quartet); Concerto for Clarinet and Strings (1948–49; Hereford, Sept. 9, 1949); Cello Concerto (1951–52, 1954–55; Cheltenham, July 19, 1955) CHAMBER: Interlude for Oboe and String Quartet (1932–36; London, March 24, 1936; also for Oboe and String Orch.); Prelude and Fugue for String Trio (1938; Birmingham, May 13, 1941); 5 Bagatelles for Clarinet and Piano (1938–43; London, Jan. 15, 1943; arranged for Symphonic Wind Band by B. Wiggins, 1984, and for Clarinet and String Orch. by L. Ashmore, 1992); Elegy for Violin and Piano (1940; London, Dec. 1954). VOCAL: (10) Children’s Songs for Chorus and Piano (1920–21); By Footpath and Stile, song-cycle for Baritone and String Quartet (1921–22; London, Oct. 14, 1923; rev. 1941); To a Poet, 6 songs for Low Voice and Piano (1920s-56; London, Feb. 20, 1959); Oh Fair to See, 7 songs for High Voice and Piano (1921–56; London, Nov. 8, 1965); Requiem da camera for Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1924; London, June 7, 1990); Farewell to Arms for Voice and Small Orch. or Strings (c. 1925, 1944; Manchester, March 30, 1945); 2 Sonnets for Tenor or Soprano and Small Orch. (c. 1925; London, Feb. 6, 1936); Dies natalis, cantata for Tenor or Soprano and Strings (c. 1925, 1938–39; London, Jan. 26, 1940); 3 Short Elegies for Chorus (1926; BBC, March 23, 1936); A Young Man’s Exhortation, 10 songs for Tenor and Piano (1926–29; London, Dec. 5, 1933); Till Earth Outwears, 7 songs for High Voice and Piano (1927–56; London, Feb. 21, 1958); Earth and Air and Rain, 10 songs for Baritone and Piano (1928–32; London, July 2, 1945); / Said to Love, 6 songs for Baritone and Piano (1928–56; London, Jan. 27, 1957); Let Us Garlands Bring, 5 songs for Baritone and Piano (1929–42; London, Oct. 12, 1942; also for Baritone and Strings, BBC, Oct. 18, 1942); Before and After Summer, 10 songs for Baritone and Piano (1932–9); 7 Unaccompanied Part Songs (1934–37; BBC, Dec. 29, 1938); Intimations of Immortality’, ode for Tenor, Chorus, and Orch. (c. 1938, 1949–50; Gloucester, Sept. 5, 1950); Lo, the full, final sacrifice, festival anthem for Chorus and Organ (Northampton, Sept. 21, 1946; also for Chorus and Orch., Gloucester, Sept. 12, 1947); For St. Cecilia, ceremonial ode for Tenor, Chorus, and Orch. (1946–47; London, Nov. 22, 1947); My lovely one, anthem for Chorus and Orch. (1947); Muses and Graces for Soprano or Treble Voices and Piano or Strings (Northamptonshire, June 10, 1950); God is gone up, anthem for Chorus and Organ (Holborn Viaduct, Nov. 22, 1951; arranged for Chorus, Organ, and Strings by W. Godfree, London, May 20, 1952); Thou didst delight my eyes for Men’s Chorus (1951); All this night, motet for Chorus (London, Dec. 6, 1951); Let us now praise famous men for Tenors or Sopranos, Basses or Contraltos, and Strings (1951; also with piano, 1952); Magnificat for Chorus and Organ (Northampton, Mass., Dec. 12, 1952; also for Soloists ad libitum, Chorus, and Orch., Bromley, May 12, 1956); White-flowering days for Chorus (1952–53; London, June 2, 1953); Welcome sweet and sacred feast, anthem for Chorus and Organ (BBC, Oct. 11, 1953); In terra pax, Christmas scene for Soprano, Baritone, Chorus, and Orch. (1954; BBC, Feb. 27, 1955; rev. version, Gloucester, Sept. 6, 1956).


J. Dressier, F. F.: A Bio-Bibliography (Westport, Conn., 1997).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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