MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

 57,903 reviews
   and more ... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here
Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Clarissa Bevilacqua plays
Augusta Read Thomas

all Nimbus reviews

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


Support us financially by purchasing from

Gerald FINZI (1901-1956)
A Severn Rhapsody, Op.3 [6:14]
Nocturne (New Year Music) Op.7 [10:23]
Three Soliloquies for small orchestra (from the Suite Loves Labours Lost, Op.28) [4:33]
Romance for string orchestra, Op.11 [8:08]
Prelude for string orchestra, Op.25 [5:16]
The Fall of the Leaf, Elegy for orchestra, Op.20 [9:14]
Introit for small orchestra and solo violin, Op.6 [9:48]
Eclogue for piano and string orchestra, Op.10 [10:33]
Grand Fantasia and Toccata for piano and orchestra Op.38 [15:14]
Rodney Friend (violin)
Peter Katin (piano)
London Philharmonic Orchestra/Sir Adrian Boult
New Philharmonia Orchestra/Vernon Handley (Eclogue and Fantasia)
rec. 1977/78. ADD.
Reviewed as download from press access.
LYRITA SRCD.239 [79:26]

Why am I returning to this recording fourteen years after its release, when it received three reviews at the time? Well, fourteen years is almost three times the five summers that it took Wordsworth, one of Finzi’s favourite poets, to become a changed personality, according to his poem Tintern Abbey. We all need a reminder from time to time, and I have just been reminded what an ethereal work the Eclogue is, having heard it performed on BBC Radio 3 in another recording. I hadn’t heard it for some time, and I simply had to listen again to it from this Lyrita album. It’s also a good time to remind readers that MusicWeb no longer sells Lyrita recordings, but you can obtain a 10% discount from Wyastone with the code MusicWeb10.

With several fine recordings to choose from, including Chandos CHSA5214, with Cello Concerto, Grand Fantasia, etc. (Louis Lortie, BBCSO/Sir Andrew Davis – review), and Naxos 8.555766, also with Cello Concerto, Grand Fantasia and Toccata (Peter Donhoe, Northern Sinfonia/Howard Griffiths – review), this Lyrita reissue, drawn from two LPs, remains my Desert Island choice. Only the alternative release of this performance on a highly desirable budget-price 4-CD set of British music for piano and orchestra causes me to hesitate (SRCD.2345, around 17 – review review).

That means weighing the other wonderful – often heart-wrenchingly beautiful – music on the Finzi recording against the huge bargain of all those works for piano and orchestra – and there is another equally attractive and inexpensive Lyrita collection of string concertos (SRCD.2346 – review review). I really can’t choose for you. All very well, you will say, for those who get their review copies free; I have to admit that it sometimes seems like ‘kid in the candy store’ time when so much wonderful music, new and old, is available for myself and my team of download reviewers.

If you thought that Elgar’s Introduction and Allegro was the apogee of musical beauty – as, indeed, it is, especially in the classic Barbirolli recording (Warner 9029675810, download only) – or that Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending was the only work deserving of regularly coming top or close to the top of the ClassicFM popularity chart, try this Finzi collection and you will find that those two works don’t have a monopoly on beauty. In fact, my own choice among Vaughan Williams’ output would be the Tallis Fantasia, building on some of the plainest music that the Tudor composer ever wrote to create a masterpiece, but that’s another story.

Almost everything on the Lyrita Finzi collection is deeply felt, especially in these performances. A recent Finzi collection on Decca comes nowhere close for me (4789357). I found some good things to say about that, including the version of Eclogue that Radio 3 chose to play, but overall it’s very disappointing, with vocal items reimagined for instruments – DL News 2016/4 .

Of all the music on the Lyrita recording, the Eclogue is arguably the most ethereal. Planned as the slow movement of a piano concerto, how fortunate we are that Finzi didn’t jettison it, but preserved it in its own right and gave it such an apt title. It fully deserves to endure as long as Virgil’s Eclogues. It may lack the element of reality that underlies Virgil’s rural idylls – the very first of his Eclogues contrasts the “I’m all right” countryman lounging in the shade of his favourite tree with his neighbour who is being evicted – but realism or social commentary is not the purpose of the music. And if it’s something more powerful that you would like to follow this piece, Finzi is your man with the closing Grand Fantasia and Toccata, too. Of course, being Finzi, the music never gets too ‘grand’ or takes itself too seriously, and Peter Katin and Vernon Handley with the New Philharmonia are the ideal team to being both concertante works to you.

Like Eclogue, Introit is a fragment from what was intended as a longer work, in this case a violin concerto. The complete work has been reconstructed on a Chandos recording, but even in the shorter from it’s a beautiful piece, and it receives a performance to match, with Rodney Friend as soloist; as in all the pieces up to that point, the LPO and Sir Adrian Boult are also on top form here.

What would be the best recommendation to follow this Lyrita Finzi CD? Perhaps one of the two 4-CD sets that I have mentioned, but don’t forget that Lyrita have another Finzi recording with Vernon Handley at the helm, containing his setting of Wordsworth’s Intimations of Immortality (SRCD.238, with Hadley The Trees so high, also reissued in 2007 – Recording of the Month: review review review).

Not the least of the reasons for returning to these Lyrita recordings is the fact that I now have access to them in CD-quality lossless sound instead of the mp3 that I have heard before. (For my earlier take on SRCD.239 and several other Finzi recordings, please see June 2012/1). Mp3 inserts gaps where there are none in the music, and there are none in a lossless download, thus solving my sole grumble about SRCD.238 in January 2009. These transfers may be taken from 1970s analogue tapes, but they are very good of their kind and can bear comparison with the Chandos recording of the Eclogue, even as heard in 24-bit stereo. Does access to improved sound quality mean that I shall be returning to some more of these Lyritas? It’s quite possible.

Brian Wilson

Previous reviews: Rob Barnett ~ Gary Higginson ~ Jonathan Woolf (Recording of the Month)

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus