#Classical365: 8 – Finzi – Five Bagatelles

A change. Solo instrumental with piano. Gerald Finzi. His five bagatelles (meaning ‘short pieces’) for clarinet and piano.

Finzi epitomises the 20th century English style. Elegiac but hardly if ever mawkishly sentimental. Reverence with an underlying but not insurmountable sense of sorrow of youthful innocence now gone. No surprises this composer loved the poetry of Thomas Hardy.

After a scurrying Prelude that always make me thing of commuters coming at me from every which way, a simple romance set in the clarinet’s middle register (it’s natural home – the most pleasing part of the instruments range to play in). The third movement – the Carol – has a childlike quality to its melody which slows the heart rate down.

But it is the fourth and penultimate bagatelle that tugs at my heart strings. Things aren’t perfect by any means, and they weren’t necessarily so much better as a kid, but we will heal and come out stronger. We’re suitably prepared for a defiant and ultimately (but never trite) last movement.

More shootings in Paris. Names and faces of those murdered yesterday prominent in bulletins throughout the day. Difficult.

I was listening to Five Bagatelles by Gerald Finzi played Gervase de Peyer on Spotify.

The Finzi can also be found on my amalgamated #Classical365 Spotify playlist.

If you’ve got a suggestion for a work for me to listen to, leave a comment below or tweet me@thoroughlygood.

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