Finzi - James Gilchrist - Sunday Herald

Next year sees the 50th anniversary of Gerald Finzi's death. As a result there are quite a number of recordings of his at the songs around at the moment. Among the very best will certainly be this very fine collection from tenor James Gilchrist and pianist Anna Tilbrook. Gilchrist, who left a career in medicine some years back to concentrate on music, has a finely focussed tenor which he uses with considerable sensitivity and expression on this, his first solo recital recording. He sings with grace and musicianship while his partner, Anna Tilbrook, is an admirable accompanist - sensitive, enhancing when appropriate, never intrusive, her playing perfectly expressing the interdependency of voice and instrument so important in any song recital.

Finzi was particularly painstaking in his approach to composition. His songs could take years of gestation before he felt satisfied, and even after that he was quite likely to keep them on the shelf until a suitable set could be put together. As a result, some 24 of his songs were unpublished when he died. Of these, the cycles Of Fair to See and Till Earth Outwears are included here together with the wonderful group of songs, A Young Man's Exhortation. These are fine performances and a valuable insight into the art of Finzi.

18 September 2005