Gerald Finzi (14th July 1901 - 27th September 1956)
Gerald Finzi was a British composer best known as a song writer, but also wrote in other genres. Large scale compositions by Finzi include Dies Natalis for solo voice and string orchestra. Born in London the son of John (Jack) Finzi of Italian/Jewish descent and Eiiza (Lizzie) Emma Leverson. Finzi became one of the most characteristically "English" composers. Finzi was educated privately, funded by the success of his father as a wealthy ship broker. During World War I the family settled in Harrogate and Finzi began to study music at Christ Church, High Harrogate. Dispite being an agnostic he wrote some inspired and imposing Christian choral music. He studied under Ernest Farrar from 1915 and was described by Farrar as "very shy, but full of poetry". Finzi found Farrar a sympathetic teacher and Farrar`s death at the Western Front affected him deeply. This coupled with the loss of three brothers contributed to Finzi`s bleak outlook on life, finding solace in the poetry of Thomas Traherne, his favorite Thomas Hardy whose poems, as well as those of Christina Rossette he began to set to music. From the very beginning most of his music was elegiac in tone. .....(Read more ....)
1918 - 1922
Studied privately at York Minster with organist and choirmaster Edward Bairstow.
Moved to Painswick in Gloucestershire and began composing in earnest.
Took a course in counterpoint with R.O. Morris and then moved to London.
1930 - 1933
Took a teaching post at the Royal Academy of Music.
1933 - 1939
Married Joyce Black and moved to Aldbourne, Wiltshire where he devoted himself to composing and apple-growing.
Moved to Ashmansworth, Hampshire where he founded the Newbury String players an amateur chamber orchestra.
Composed the Clarinet Concerto.
Learnt he was suffering from Hogkins disease.
Died in an Oxford hospital of encephalitis after the first performance of his Cello Concerto was played on the radio the night before.
"By Footpath and Stile" for voice and string quartet.
"Introit" - Violin Concerto premiered.
1938 - 1939
"Dies natalis" for soprano or tenor solo and string orchestra.
"Let Us Garlands Bring" settings of songs from the plays of William Shakespeare.
"Farewell to Arms."
"Lo the Full, Final Sacrifice" for mixed SATB choir and organ.
Clarinet Concerto perhaps his most popular work.
"White Flowering Days" - setting of a poem by Edmund Blunden.
Cello Concerto in three movements.
I. Allegro moderato
II. Andante quieto.
III. Rondo: Adagio giocoso.