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Gerald Finzi studied composition with Farrar in Harrogate and Bairstow in York, and counterpoint with RO Morris * Deaths of father, three older brothers and teacher introduced theme of the fragility and transience of existence explored in many later works * Early musical influences include Parry, Elgar and Vaughan Williams, and song composers such as Ivor Gurney * Moved to London in 1926 where he befriended Ferguson and Rubbra and met Vaughan Williams, Holst and Bliss * Early successes included the Thomas Hardy cycles A Young Man's Exhortation and Earth and Air and Rain, which established him as a masterly and sensitive setter of poetry - his oeuvre extends to over 100 songs for soloist or choir * Although many works point to his skill as a miniaturist, after World War II he embraced larger forms including Clarinet Concerto, For St Cecilia and Intimations of Immortality * Works are lyrical, subtly understated, often elegiac in tone, mingling human pain and natural beauty * One of most popular of 20th century British composers, in concert and on disc

Works by Gerald Finzi include:
Dies natalis (mid-1920s,1938-39) Cantata for tenor or soprano solo and strings
Earth and Air and Rain (1928-32) Ten songs for baritone and piano
For St Cecilia (1946-47) Ceremonial ode for tenor, chorus and orchestra
Clarinet Concerto (1948-49) for clarinet and strings

"The artist is like the coral insect, building his reef out of the transitory world around him and making a solid structure to last long after his fragile and uncertain life..." — Gerald Finzi

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