Gerard Finzi, Romance in E flat Major, Op. 11
April 7, 2014 6 Comments
For day six of the A-toZ Challenge, my subject, Gerard Finzi, was suggested by fellow blogger, the Scottish poetess, Marie Marshall (link). For those new to my site, I am attempting to blog every day (excepting Sundays) during the month of April. During this month, I am curating a collection of “classical” music pieces, which are lesser known or by lesser known composers.
Gerard Finzi, was born in London in1901, to parents of German and Italian Jewish descent. Finzi’s father died when the child was 8 and he was privately tutored. He studied composition with the organist, Ernest Farrar. Farrar describe Finzi as being “full of poetry.” Unfortunately, Farrar enlisted in WW I and was killed in 1915. After his father, his three brothers also died and this left a deep mark on Finzi.
His early composition were setting to music poems by the British poets, Thomas Hardy, Christine Rossetti, and Thomas Traherne. Eventually he caught the attention of conductor Adrian Boult, and he became friends with Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughn Williams, the latter helping him to find a teaching post at the Royal Academy of Music.
He never felt comfortable in London so in the 1930, with his wife, he moved to Wiltshire where he devoted himself to composing and apple growing.
He seems to have had a successful life, but then he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 1951 and was given at most 10 years to live. In his last year, he composed a Cello Concerto, which was dedicated to his wife. It received its premier and was broadcast on the radio the night before he died in 1956.
The Romance is a lush piece of music. My best friend, David Hendrickson, who died in 2012, introduced me to a number of English composers. Before then I’d only listened to the big European ones, especially Beethoven, Brahms and Bach. David told me the Brits weren’t as prolific or as well-known, but their music was incredibly beautiful. Listening to the Romance I’m sure you’ll agree. And thanks to my new friend, Marie, for introducing me to another Brit.