English Song Series 15 - Finzi: Earth And Air And Rain

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Lovely rich, dark tone, exquisite enunciation … glorious songs brilliantly performed.

Roderick Williams has already recorded the Finzi song-cycles I Said to Love, Let Us Garlands Bring, and Before and After Summer on Naxos. Here he continues the sterling work.

English solo song is a deceptive genre. Although the songs often appear simple, in actual fact they are not easy to pull off effectively. For them to work, every nuance must be brought out, every slightly inflection must be spot-on, every word invested with the right emotion. Williams is no stranger to English solo song and always gets to the heart of the work. Here he is, as always, beautifully sympathetic, awake to all nuances of the text – listen to wonderful shades of light and dark in When I set out for Lyonesse, to the poignancy in Lizbie Brown and the chilling intensity in Clock of the Years. He demonstrates excellent versatility – from the rumbustious Rollicum-Rorum, scintillatingly performed – through to the intense and serious (Ode on the Rejection of St. Cecilia), or the beautifully tender – The Birthnight.

This is the only version of By Footpath and Stile currently available. It was Finzi’s earliest Hardy setting, written in 1921-22, and was later withdrawn by the composer, whose plans to revise it were not fully seen through. The work was abandoned until Finzi’s friend, the composer Howard Ferguson edited it for republication. Although not as convincing as Finzi’s later Hardy settings, it nonetheless demonstrates the composer in the process of finding his own “voice”. The songs are deftly crafted, and often deeply moving. It is scored for string quartet accompaniment, sensitively performed here by the Sacconi Quartet.

Williams has a lovely rich, dark tone, and exquisite enunciation that facilitates his excellent communication of the words and the meaning. He is well accompanied by Iain Burnside. Glorious songs, and brilliantly performed.

-- Em Marshall, MusicWeb International

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8557963

  • UPC: 747313296323

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Gerald Finzi

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Sacconi String Quartet

  • Performer: Ben Hancox, Cara Berridge, Hannah Dawson, Iain Burnside, Robin Ashwell, Roderick Williams