Finzi - James Gilchrist - Scotland on Sunday

The English composer Gerald Finzi took great care over his songs settings, and particularly disliked the habit of composers seeking to somehow add to the poetry: the composer's role was only to gild the lily. As a result, his settings are spare, exposing the partnership between singer and pianist, and relying on the value of the poetry for impact.

Settings of works by Edmund Blunden, Christina Rossetti and Ivor Gurney are included, but the mainstay of this CD are poems by Thomas Hardy, grouped together as "Till Earth Outwears" and "A Young Man's Exhortation": almost half of Finzi's 160 settings are of Hardy poems, with their mixture of small events and the transcience of life. A welcome addition to the English song genre.

Scotland on Sunday
25 September 2005