A Soulful Bliss
Dolly137 | Not Canada :) | 12/04/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have performed the Eclogue for Piano and String Orchestra on occasions, once as the pianist and once as the concertmaster and once as a principal. Both times, I discovered something new each time and it drew me to think about sadness and beauty of Finzi's life that he was experiencing as he wrote this piece. This piece was meant to be the slow movement of his never-finished piano concert, but he died shortly after the last measure of the music was completed. This recording is the only professional recording ever made of the piece. Since it is rarely played I cannot judge with a comparison, but I know the message that the music itself is trying to communicate, and it really touches me when I ever hear it. I will say that this orchestra made a very tasteful record of the eclogue, and that this soulful bliss of music grabbed my heart and squeezed tears out. It's such a beautiful song to my ears. When the ensemble goes into the time signature or 12/8, the emotion is provokingly string - not a heavy tone, but you can feel the pulse trying to say the hard times of a lifetime, the let-down, all the sorrows. Listen for the moving second violin part, or the warmth that the first violins project despite the fact that they are way up there on the E string and the darkness of the cellos. It should get the messege more clearly across. The most important things - not techniques (making the sound that your teachers told you not to make as a soloist) but emotion and the feeling, the focus, everything difficult yet essential are required in playing this kind of piece. Like setting the scene for a sunny afternoon... or rain... or depression... something language and visual arts could have only expressed until real music came along. I conclude that the English string Orchestra has well done the job."
Fine and little known british music
Mr. Christian Lauliac | Paris France | 06/26/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a fan of british music, I just had to acquire this CD. Gerald Finzi's Eclogue for piano and string orchestra is truly a gem and deserves a wider exposure. It is a work full of sadness and longing for happier times, long gone by. Bittersweet and haunting. The other selections are extremely pleasing and will undoubtedly appeal to devotees of British string music. Frank Bridge's "There is a willow grows aslant the brook" is worth mentioning for it is a seductive and harmonically forward-looking tone poem, inspired by Shakespeare's retelling of Ophelia's death in Hamlet (Act V). Its moody and brooding lyricism needs several listenings to fully seduce the listener, but it is worth the effort. As in most Nimbus Records releases the engineering is quite good but sounds a bit compressed by digital encoding or distant miking: you will need to crank up your stereo a little. This explains why I only give 4 stars to this disc. Nonetheless, a wonderful sampler of overlooked British composers."