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More than any other composer, Gerald Finzi (1901–1956) has come to embody the lyrical pastoralism so associated with English twentieth-century music. This anthology includes eight critically acclaimed recordings of Finzi’s works. The themes of fragility and transient existence are expressed in three early song anthologies with words by Thomas Hardy, Finzi’s favourite poet. Intimations of Immortality is a deeply touching lament for the passing of the freshness of childhood, while the tender Dies Natalis is a setting of texts by the 17th-century poet Thomas Traherne. Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice takes the listener through a feast of moods and textures and ends with one of the most sublime Amens in all choral music. Finzi’s enchanting Clarinet Concerto was completed in 1949 in response to a commission from the Three Choirs Festival, and the Cello Concerto, with its elegiac slow movement, was composed when Finzi learned that he was suffering from an incurable illness and is one of his finest works.

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