Following the publication of Francis Jackson’s organ reduction of Finzi’s Requiem da Camera in 2014, Robert Gower, chairman of the Finzi Trust, recitalist and organist of Nottingham Cathedral, has created reductions of the full orchestra accompaniments to two more of Finzi’s choral works. These reductions broaden the reach of these works to choirs which do not wish to present the works with orchestra, as with other standards from the sacred repertoire such the Requiems of Fauré and Duruflé. Suitable for advanced standard organists.
The reductions sympathetically recreate the orchestra scoring for a three-manual organ. Ingeniously, the manual couplings (II to III, II and III to I) are unaltered throughout, with pedal coupled to manuals as appropriate. Detailed registrations are not indicated as these are best left to the performer, taking into account the unique circumstances of the particular instrument, size of choir and acoustic setting at each performance. The scores are user-friendly, in landscape format and with at least one principal vocal line cued throughout, and a cappella choral passages are reproduced in full. The reductions are fully compatible with the published piano vocal scores of the respective works which the singers will use.
In terra pax, Christmas Scene for soprano & baritone soli, chorus & orchestra (1954/6). The text conflates Robert Bridges’s poem Noel: Christmas Eve, 1913 and Luke 2: 8–14. Finzi suggested that the Nativity ‘becomes a vision seen by a wanderer on a dark and frosty Christmas Eve, in our own familiar landscape’. In terra pax is a masterpiece in miniature, Finzi’s pacifism at its heart, and his belief that men and women of goodwill should live harmoniously. Weaving through the music are three ideas: the pealing of the bells with their joyous message, a phrase from the carol The First Nowell, and the alleluia refrain from the hymn Lasst uns erfreuen. Duration: 14 minutes.