An Ear for Poetry

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

It is often said that music can express those things that words cannot. In the world of Gerald Finzi, musical composition and poetry were seamlessly intertwined.

Gerald Finzi was born in 1901 and during World War I his family settled in Harrogate, England. During his early years he experienced many devastating losses including his father, three brothers, and his music teacher. Though these many tragedies caused him to have a dark view on life, his exploration of the poetry of Thomas Hardy, Thomas Traherne and Christina Rossetti brought him consolation and inspiration. The themes of those poets which reflect childhood joy and innocence, and how the experiences of adulthood changes this resonated with him.

Based on the text of Traherne, Finzi's Dies Natalis for solo soprano (tenor) and orchestra, revolves around this theme and remains one of his most well-known works. His orchestral writing is opulent, with elegant melodic lines which highlight the homogeneity between the music and the text.

This week, we also hear the works of other poetic composers such as John Corigliano, Arvo Pärt, and William Grant Still.


William Grant Still
Kelly Hall-Tompkins, violin
Craig Ketter, piano

Time for Love / My Funny Valentine

Mandel/Webster, Roger/Hart, Assad
Clarice Assad, piano and vocals; Ethan Startzman, bass

Hymn to a Great City

Arvo Pärt
Michael McHale, piano; Michael McHale, celeste
Louth Contemporary Music Society

Intermezzo in E Minor, Op. 119/2
Johannes Brahms
Richard Goode, piano

Canto de cuna para los Huerfanos de Espana (Lullaby for the Orphans of Spain)
Joaquin Nin
Thomas Tirino, piano

String Quartet No.4 (Amazing Grace)

Ben Johnston
Kronos Quartet

Amazing Grace

John Newton/Wycliffe Gordon
Wycliffe Gordon (tb/tu); Victor Goines, tenor-sax; Eric Reed, piano; Rodney Whitaker, bass; Herlin Riley, drums
Nagel Heyer

Transcendental Etude No. 10 in F Minor: Allegro agitato molto
Franz Liszt
Andre Watts, piano

Jason Treuting
So Percussion

Voyage for Flute and String Orchestra
John Corigliano
Paul Edmund-Davies, flute
I Fiamminghi
Rudolf Werthen, conductor

Symphony No. 3

Arvo Part
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Franz Welser-Most, conductor

Dies natalis, Op. 8

Gerald Finzi
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Vernon Handley, conductor
Rebecca Evans, soprano

Swara-Kakali (based on Raga Tilang)
Ravi Shankar
Daniel Hope, violin; Gaurav Mazumdar, sitar; Asok Chakroborty, tabla; Gilda Sebastian, tanpura; Sebastian Knauer, piano, lutheal
Warner Classics

Comments [3]

Gabriel Leon from Edison,New Jersey

Hi Terrance,Is it possible to include "The black emperor" opera of William Grant in the Black history month music program,I would be very much delighted to listen to the music.
Thanks in advance
yours truly

Feb. 09 2011 07:48 PM
Michael Meltzer

From wikipedia:
His recent (2008) Symphony No. 4 is named “Los Angeles” and was dedicated to Mikhail Khodorkovsky. It is Pärt's first symphony written in over 37 years, since 1971's Symphony No. 3. It premiered in Los Angeles, California, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on January 10, 2009,[8] and has been nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

Jan. 29 2011 11:08 PM
George Jochnowitz from New York

Just in case anybody's interested, here's a review of a book about Gerald Finzi:

Jan. 29 2011 10:14 PM

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