In memory of my friend Robert John Guttke, I present one of his favorite works by a composer he dearly loved.
Gerald Finzi was a British composer who lived from 1901 to 1956. His best-known output is primarily choral, and he was not prolific. Finzi left fewer than fifty compositions behind, but his voice is wonderfully British in the vein of Ralph Vaughan Williams: clear-minded and often ethereal, Finzi’s work is often inspired by poetry that he loved. Finzi had a personal library of over 3000 books, many of which were English poetry.
I first heard this piece via a compilation CD that Robert Guttke made and sent my way, and it has since become a staple of my holiday listening. Every year when I hear it (and another piece still to come) I think of Robert and his constant search for music that made him feel.