Magazine article Gramophone

Finzi: Finzi Five Bagatelles

Magazine article Gramophone

Finzi: Finzi Five Bagatelles

Article excerpt

Finzi

Finzi Five Bagatelles. Elegy. Romance. Introlt. Interlude. Prelude and Fugue Vaughan Williams/Ferguson/A Bush/ Rawsthorne/Lutyens/Maconchy/ Finzi/G Wllliams/Jacob Diabelleries Cologne Chamber Soloists

Dabringhaus und Grimm (F)[SACD] MDG9031894-6 (75' * DDD/DSD)

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Although Finzi did not compose much chamber music, his I innately contrapuntal style, informed by enduring fascination for the music of Bach, lends itself well to the idiom--especially when as stunningly performed as here by the Kolner Kammersolisten (and a singular instance of a continental recording of Finzi to boot). This is especially true of the two original chamber works from the 1930s, the rarely heard Interlude for oboe and string quartet, and Prelude and Fugue for string trio dedicated to that luminary of counterpoint and pedagogy, RO Morris. The Interlude is a bittersweet essay, encapsulating most of those haunting lyrical attributes of Finzi's style (and beautifully played by Tom Owen), while the Prelude and Fugue is more astringent in its leaner texture and plaintive mood (surely the Prelude makes allusion to Warlock's The Curlew?).

The Five Bagatelles for clarinet and solo strings lend themselves well to Christian Alexander's instrumentation and were, as he apdy argues, surely intended for such an ensemble (Lawrence Ashmore's arrangement for string orchestra is similarly successful--Naxos, 12/98), and the Romance is also convincing as a chamber piece (though I own to preferring its string-orchestra garb). This 'chamber' element is also betrayed in the two affecting violin miniatures, the Elegy and Introit (intended originally for larger works), both of which fluctuate between a post-Romantic yearning and a neo-Baroque style (which Finzi surely derived from his admiration for Parry). …

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