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Finzi - Choral Works

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Lo, the full, final sacrifice is the big work that concludes this CD: a ‘Festival Anthem’ commissioned from Gerald Finzi (1901-56) by Walter Hussey for St Matthew, Northampton in 1946, three years after he commissioned Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb – in both cases for the church’s patronal festival. From the organ introduction (Alexander Hamilton, one of the two excellent organ scholars) through to the final Amen, this large-scale depiction of the mystery of the Eucharist receives a stunning performance. ‘Visionary’ is an adjective often used for Finzi’s music, and Layton and his 39 mixed-voice singers give a performance that vividly captures this.

The disc opens with a Magnificat written for Vespers and so without a Gloria or accompanying Nunc Dimittis – but this CD later includes a Nunc Dimittis by David Bednall, described as a homage to Finzi and, to my ears, a worthy companion to the Magnificat. Also on the CD are the three short anthems My lovely one, God is gone up (with brass and organ) and Welcome sweet and sacred feast, plus secular part-songs.

★★★ (essential listening)

Julian Elloway

Finzi - Choral Works
Hyperion Records CDA68222