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Finzi: Dies Natalis; Farewell To Arms; Two Sonnets

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 29, 2008
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Finzi: Dies Natalis; Farewell To Arms; Two Sonnets
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  • Finzi: Concerto for cello & orchestra, Op. 40 / Eclogue for piano & strings, Op. 10 / Grand Fantasia and Toccata, Op. 38
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Editorial Reviews

Quintessentially Finzi, the tender yet radiant Dies natalis, a setting of texts by the 17thcentury poet Thomas Traherne, depicts both the first sensations of a child as it enters the world, and life' tarnishing experience of the innocence of childhoo
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Product Details

  • Performer: James Gilchrist
  • Orchestra: Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: David Hill
  • Composer: Gerald Finzi
  • Audio CD (April 29, 2008)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0015DM3AG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,412 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Finzi admirers probably have all of the selections on this wonderful Naxos disc, because once you hear any of his music, you have to pursue his other works (he only has 40 opus numbers). But for those who haven't had the pleasure yet, I urge you to give this disc a try. Although all the pieces were composed in an era when Berg, Webern, Stravinsky, Schoenberg & Hindemith were getting the lion's share of performances and critic's notice, they all have Finzi's gift for an elegaic, lyric sweetness.
(Two or three of his 40 published works have the title Elegy, but everything that he wrote, instrumental or vocal, could be described as an elegy in one way or another, such was the man's sensitivity to life's brevity. Loss of both parent's, and others, at a young age made its mark on all of his endeavors, not just his music).

Some say the cantata for high voice (soprano or tenor) & strings is, along with the Clarinet Concerto, Finzi's masterpiece. Titled "Dies Natalis" (Day of Birth) and set to selections of 17th century poet Thomas Traherne's "Centuries of Meditation", the work is from the viewpoint of a newborn child bewildered and enchanted at the beautiful but strange world. Ralph Vaughan Williams, Arthur Bliss, Edmund Rubbra, and Herbert Howells all thought that Finzi matched verse/text with music better than any other composer of their time. I have recordings with both soprano (Rebecca Evans) and tenor (Phillip Langridge), and either one works well.
Its a tenor, James Gilchrist, that sings it on this release.

The Prelude for strings is a short gem that could be an actual prelude for many of Finzi's compositions. Its quintessential Finzi, having that elegaic quality I mentioned.
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Best interpretation by the tenor and conductor I've heard & it's been a fave of mine since the 80's ~
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While never being completely satisfied with Naxos recordings of Finzi, I am glad that they exist and offer an introduction to this very special composer. Dies Natalis is his masterpiece, but the version conducted by Christopher Finzi & sung with such passion by the incredible Wilfred Brown will be impossible to improve upon... this Naxos recording also has the beautiful Farewell to Arms and the rare sonnets. A worthy exploration that one critic said long ago about a composer who is "such good company". The Diana Mc Veagh biography: Gerald Finzi: His Life and Music is an excellent read... exploring not only the man's life but detailing his poignant and haunting music.
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