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Finzi - Choral Works

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When asked to name a well-known British composer, Gerald Finzi (1901-1956) is rarely one of the first ones that instantly comes to mind, possibly because most of his output revolved around choral music. Yet when I hear the anthem God is gone up, Op. 27 No. 2, I am deeply moved and can’t help but feel lifted. In just the opening phrase the choir, through leaps and bounds, moves up a full octave, setting an immediate upwards motion. Or how the tone of Lo, the full, final sacrifice, Op. 26 fully captures and projects the essence of the written text.

The Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge under the intuitive and astute direction of Stephen Layton, has been ranked as one of the top five choirs in the world, and rightfully so. In previous reviews of recordings covering the music of Eriks Esenvalds, David Briggs and Herbert Howells, I’ve pointed out that this choir seems to glow from within and can produce the softest whisper or the loudest declamations perfectly with complete control over a full dynamic range. And their unmatched blend is almost other-worldly. Listen to the last few bars of Lo, the full, final sacrifice and you will know what I mean. And again the audio engineers at Hyperion have not only managed to perfectly balance the choir, pipe organ and brass ensemble, but have also caught the scope of the space that sound resonates in, sitting the listener within its walls.

If you weren’t sure where to start with the music of Gerald Finzi, this recording will do just fine.

Jean-Yves Duperron

Finzi - Choral Works
Hyperion Records CDA68222