Wednesday, October 22, 2014


The world is in too much of a hurry.  It`s a world of instant communication, hustle, bustle, me-me, now-now.   And so more than ever there is a need for quiet contemplation, for a bit of peace and comfort, perhaps an escape back to times when time itself was valued as a precious commodity rather than a challenge to be overcome.

Gerald Finzi (1901 - 1956) must surely be one of England`s most underrated composers. Maybe because he died at just 56 and his output was relatively short, he didn`t achieve the fame of English contemporaries such as Holst, Vaughan Williams or Walton but his work is as typically English as any of those.   The death of his first music teacher, Ernest Farrar, in The first World War had a profound effect on Finzi`s formative years, as did the loss of his father and three brothers at that time.

Perhaps another reason for his relative obscurity was that he disliked London and the city life, so he settled in Wiltshire, at Aldbourne, where he was able to devote himself to composing and apple growing at the same time saving a number of rare English apple varieties from extinction.  His profound love of the English countryside is perhaps best captured in the elegiac quality of his Romance in Eb major, written in 1928 when the world was so much more reflective than the one we have today.  So, if like Gerald Finzi you feel the need to escape to the country and lose yourself for eight minutes in the peace and tranquillity that he has left us, here it is:-

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