Gerald Finzi (1901-1956): Wherefore Tonight So Full Of Care

The seventh and last of Finzi’s cycle of seven Part-songs setting the poetry of Robert Bridges, Wherefore to-night so full of care’s text is the darkest and most troubled of the set. For Bridges everything about life, including sorrow, was fleeting and this transience provides him with solace. Finzi’s setting reflects this in his harmonic…

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956): Haste On, My Joys!

Haste On, My Joys! is the sixth in the series of seven songs setting poems by Robert Bridges. It’s a five-part setting (SSATB) written shortly after Finzi stopped teaching harmony at the Royal Academy of Music in London. With its very energetic part-writing and rhythmic writing Finzi’s music reflects the youthful exuberance of the first…

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956): Nightingales

Of one thing we can be certain; what Hanslick called ‘the morganatic marriage of words and music’ is the least destructible of all musical elements. The marriages may be happy or unhappy, but, surely as birds must sing, so long as words exist and man is capable of feeling, there will be song. —Gerald Finzi,…

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956): Clear And Gentle Stream!

The fourth in Finzi’s series of seven part-songs setting poems by Robert Bridges Clear And Gentle Stream! reflects  Finzi’s intense love  for  the  English countryside and his acceptance – which he shares with Bridges of  of life’s impermanence. I love this song, its almost madrigalian nature, and the way in which Finzi treats the text…

Judith Bingham (born 1952): The clouded Heaven

Judith Bingham’s ‘The clouded Heaven’ commissioned jointly by The Dean and Chapter of Winchester Cathedral and by Ruth Daniel, a long-standing benefactor of the Choir of Saint Johns College Cambridge and received its simultaneous premieres at both places during their 1998 Advent Sunday services. The text is a conflation of a prayer by the seventeenth…

Orlande de Lassus (±1530-1594): Laudent Deum cithara

This four-part (SATB) setting of a paraphrase of the third and fourth verses of psalm 150 is both surprisingly brief and admirably concise. Faced with a list of musical instruments a lesser composer would most likely have produced something a lot more grandiose, not to say pompous than this quietly confident motet.  De Lassus gives…