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Finzi: Choral Works / Spicer, Bickert, The Finzi Singers


Release Date: 10/28/1992 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 8936   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Fine performances here, and a programme full of music that one can be sure will always reward re-hearing. Best-known are the first and last, "God is gone up" (from the Op. 27 Anthems) and Lo, the full, final sacrifice, yet they are not entirely the most characteristic. The first rejoices in fortissimo, which is comparatively rare in Finzi, and the other I find (but perhaps mistakenly) passes somewhat unmemorably till towards the end, with the haunting effect of its repeated "come away" and the great beauty of its "Amen". That (the heart-easing loveliness of the "Amen") is also a feature of the Magnflcat, the work which, on this occasion at least, I thought the finest. It is interesting to compare Read more this, the original version with organ accompaniment, with the scoring for orchestra used in the recording made in 1979 by Richard Hickox with his singers and the London Sinfonia (Decca ( 425 660-213M); there is additional colour, and almost, at the start, a Waltonian splendour in the orchestration, but it also introduces a secular association, whereas the organ is like a hand cupped to hold the singers in a closer unity and blessedness of spirit. It is a marvellously resourceful composition, and performed with just the right combination of rhythmic vigour and lyrical ease.

The Finzi Singers are an able and devoted choir, as we have known for many years. The voices are fresh, sure in intonation and admirably balanced without acquiring that kind of anonymity which some highly practised choirs assume. Among the best performances are some of the unaccompanied pieces, the Elegies of William Drummond, for instance, with their inspired use of silences, and the Seven Partsongs to words by Robert Bridges, especially in that mounting phrase "the innumerable choir of day" at the end of "Nightingales". White-flowering days was Finzi's contribution to A Garland for the Queen in Coronation year, and I should say that no other offering to that "queenly beauty youngly crowned" caught the hope and freshness of the time better than this.

-- Gramophone [9/1991]
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Works on This Recording

1. Anthems (3), Op. 27: no 2, God is gone up by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; England 
2. Welcome Sweet and Sacred Feast by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
3. Short Elegies (3), Op. 5 by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 
Language: English 
4. Thou Didst Delight My Eyes, Op. 32 by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
5. Anthems (3), Op. 27: no 1, My lovely one by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; England 
6. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Op. 35 by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
7. Partsongs (7), Op. 17 by Gerald Finzi
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934-1937; England 
8. Magnificat for Choir and Organ/Orchestra, Op. 36 by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
9. White-flowering Days, Op. 37 by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
10. All This Night, Op. 33 by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
11. Lo, the full, final sacrifice, Op. 26 by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Harry Bicket (Organ)
Conductor:  Paul Spicer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Finzi Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946/1947; England 
Language: English 

Sound Samples

3 Anthems, Op. 27: No. 2. God is gone up
3 Anthems, Op. 27: No. 3. Welcome sweet and sacred feast
3 Short Elegies, Op. 5: No. 1. Life a right shadow is
3 Short Elegies, Op. 5: No. 2. This world a hunting is
3 Short Elegies, Op. 5: No. 3. This life, which seems so fair
Thou didst delight my eyes, Op. 32
3 Anthems, Op. 27: No. 1. My lovely one
Let us now praise famous men, Op. 35
7 Partsongs, Op. 17: No. 1. I praise the tender flower
7 Partsongs, Op. 17: No. 2. I have loved flowers that fade
7 Partsongs, Op. 17: No. 3. My spirit sang all day
7 Partsongs, Op. 17: No. 4. Clear and gentle stream
7 Partsongs, Op. 17: No. 5. Nightingales
7 Partsongs, Op. 17: No. 6. Haste on, my joys!
7 Partsongs, Op. 17: No. 7. Wherefore tonight so full of care
Magnificat, Op. 36
White-flowering days, Op. 37
All this night, Op. 33
Lo, the full, final sacrifice, Op. 26

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