Aldo Finzi, Stravinsky

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Aldo Finzi,Stravinsky
LABELS: Bel Air Music
WORKS: Inni alla notte; Salmo; The Firebird Suite
PERFORMER: Dumka National Academic Choir, Ukraine National SO/Nicola Giuliani
Aldo Finzi fell victim to anti-Semitism in pre-war Italy, and, though he escaped imprisonment, his health was broken, and he died in 1945 just after his 48th birthday. His music is couched in a lush, late-Romantic style, which sometimes recalls Respighi, with echoes of Scriabin and Delius as well. But he certainly sustains interest in the symphonic poem Inni alla notte, not least because his sinuous themes are always moving forwards, and the scoring is seductive. It’s well realised by Nicola Giuliani and the orchestra, as is the slightly more austere style of the Psalm, which isn’t too far from the world of Fauré’s Requiem. The choral singing needs to be more fastidious in both intonation – high sopranos find themselves stretched at climaxes – and tone, which is never that smooth and becomes coarse when loud. So the more reflective moments, which are also Finzi’s best, are most effective, in particular the beautiful outer sections of the slow third movement. I doubt if anyone will buy this CD primarily for the Stravinsky, but it’s idiomatically performed, with some characterful and definitely Eastern European wind solos – though it needs slightly more aggression in the Infernal Dance, and the recording is on the dry side. Martin Cotton