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Vaughan Williams on Music$
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David Manning

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182392.001.0001

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Gerald Finzi: 1901–1956

Gerald Finzi: 1901–1956

(p.322) (p.323) Chapter 73 Gerald Finzi: 1901–1956
Vaughan Williams on Music

David Manning

Oxford University Press

The last piece people heard Gerald Finzi conduct was his Cantata, In Terra Pax. The end of that beautiful work contains a faint reminiscence of “The First Nowell.” Although English purists opine that this is not a folk tune, it is, however, firmly rooted in English hearts, and it seems inevitable that Finzi should make reference to it in a composition which gives the spirit of the English Christmas. Apart from the question of the direct influence of folk song on his music, there can be no doubt that the sacred spring from which he drank welled up from English poetry, and especially that of Robert Bridges and Thomas Hardy. Indeed, in his settings of these two poets, he found the exact musical counterpart of the rhythm: the language and the thought of their poetry. This alone will be enough to give his music the crown of immortality.

Keywords:   Gerald Finzi, In Terra Pax, First Nowell, folk song, Robert Bridges, Thomas Hardy, rhythm, language, poetry

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