Sunday, September 9
On today’s date in 1949, the British composer Gerald Finzi conducted the premiere performance of his Clarinet Concerto at the Three Choirs Festival in Hereford.
During his lifetime Finzi never achieved the fame of some other 20th-century British composers, but he did—and still does—have admirers. British tenor Mark Padmore wrote a recent appreciation entitled “The quiet man of British music,” which included these lines:
“I want to make a case for taking the time to get to know a composer… whose plumage is discreet and whose song is quiet and subtle. Finzi might be termed one of classical music's wrens. Despite his exotic-sounding surname and mixed Italian, Sephardic and Ashkenazi heritage, Finzi was in many ways an archetypal English gentleman... One of his passions was the saving of old English varieties of apples… [his] music was written slowly and often it would take many years for a piece to reach its final form.”
Finzi died in 1956, aged 55, from Hodgkin's lymphoma. He was concerned his music would be forgotten after his death and added this note to his catalogue of works:
"I like to think that in each generation may be found a few responsive minds… To shake hands with a good friend over the centuries is a pleasant thing, and the affection which an individual may retain after his departure is perhaps the only thing which guarantees an ultimate life to his work."
Music Played in Today's Program
Gerald Finzi (1901 - 1956) Clarinet Concerto Alan Hacker, cl; English String Orch/Wm/ Boughton Nimbus 5101