Compositions: Choral works
Performers: Choir of Trinity College Cambridge/Layton
Catalogue Number: Hyperion CDA68222
There is so much to enjoy in the music of Gerald Finzi. Bringing together an ardent love of poetry, a sensitivity to text and metre, not to mention lush, hyper-romantic harmonies, it is no wonder that choirs have rediscovered his music and that he is probably more popular now than ever before.
Stephen Layton’s rich program is a boon for Finzi lovers, offering the composer in different guises: sacred, secular, accompanied and a cappella. As with previous Hyperion discs, Layton moves his Trinity choir offsite for the accompanied items, to enjoy larger acoustics and the rich sonic palette of a cathedral organ, in this case, Hereford. Such a move pays many dividends, particularly in the two large-scale anthems that bookend the program. The Magnificat is sung with great joy and energy, while Lo, the Full, Final Sacrifice radiates mystic intensity. Thoughtful registrations serve the texts well. Layton’s expansive approach engenders an apt air of meditation.
An interesting addition to the program is a setting of the Nunc Dimittis by David Bednall in the style of Finzi which can be used with the Magnificat at evensong. Finzi’s most popular anthem, God is Gone Up is given appropriately festive treatment with the addition of brass and percussion. Rarities include the Seven Poems of Robert Bridges. While these are beautifully crafted, they are, like bonbons, best sampled a few at a time. Another stellar disc from these forces. Enjoy!