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Cat. No. CHAN 9888 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9888 - Finzi: Violin Concerto
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Available From: 15 January 2001
Finzi wrote his Concerto for Small Orchestra and Solo Violin, his earliest extended instrumental work, in 1925-7. It was written for Sybil Eaton, a young violinist with whom he had fallen ineffectually in love, and she performed its second and third movements in Queen’s Hall, London on 4 May 1927. Finzi was unhappy with the first movement and had already discarded it. His second attempt at a first movement was responsible for the concerto’s mixed reception when conducted by Vaughan Williams and Finzi subsequently published just the slow movement as the Introit in 1935, thus sealing the fate of the concerto. Very much of its period, the Violin Concerto’s English amalgam of folksong pastoral and Bach constitutes an ‘arts and crafts’ ploy countering Stravinskyan neo-baroque with a vernacular version.

The Prelude and Romance date from 1929 and 1928 respectively and it would seem that both were originally intended as part of larger works.

Most of Finzi’s song collections were written for voice and piano, though, as in ‘When I set out from Lyoness’, he clearly responded vividly when given the opportunity to work in a more colourful medium. The orchestration of a number of Finzi’s songs could have proven difficult, particularly the selection of a coherent group and the fact that the piano accompaniments, often restricted in range and austerely contrapuntal, do not always lend themselves to orchestration. Most of the songs were written in the thirties, a time of Finzi’s early maturity, although only two were published in his lifetime. ‘Tall Nettles’, his only setting of Edward Thomas, was written when he was only nineteen and the manuscript, in open score, unmistakably suggests an orchestral texture, prefiguring in its harmonic layers and flickering arabesques the fleeting shadows of Vaughan Williams’s ‘Pastoral’ Symphony.

‘…John Mark Ainsley brings an exquisite darkness to these persuasive readings… [Tasmin] Little could not be a more committed, yet gentle soloist: this is absolutely her repertoire’.
BBC Music Magazine

Little and Ainsley are at their best in this enterprising anthology for Finzi’s centenary.
Gramophone Editor's Choice

‘…the violinist, Tasmin Little, provides a sweetly lyrical account…’
Fanfare on CHAN 9595 (Lloyd Webber)

‘…this is an outstanding issue. The performances are lovingly conducted, well sung, and beautifully played.’
American Record Guide on CHAN 8997 (Finzi)


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