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Track(s) taken from CDA67459

A Young Man's Exhortation, Op 14

composer
1933; Group 1 prefaced 'in the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up', Group 2 'In the evening it is cut down, and withereth'; first performed on 5 December 1933 by Frank Drew and Augustus Lowe
author of text

Mark Padmore (tenor), Roger Vignoles (piano)
Recording details: February 2004
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: February 2005
Total duration: 26 minutes 56 seconds
 

Other recordings available for download

Martyn Hill (tenor), Clifford Benson (piano)

Reviews

'This is still a voice of youthful freshness, commanded with skill and assurance. The programme tests his musicianship very thoroughly, and it reveals also considerable powers of expressiveness, both forthright and subtle … Vignoles is marvellously clear in notes (often fiendishly difficult) and rhythm, and he contributes an excellent essay' (Gramophone)

'Sung by Mark Padmore who, on this form and in this repertory, seems to me to be unrivalled among younger English tenors … With Roger Vignoles as the Britten-like pianist, this ranks as one of the finest discs of English songs to have been issued for some years' (The Sunday Telegraph)

'Mark Padmore and Roger Vignoles perform all these songs with great understanding and sensitivity; in fact I was surprised at how much intensity of feeling they found in the stark Hölderlein songs. Padmore is equally at ease with the minutely expressive wordsetting of the Britten songs and the long, soaring lines of the Tippett' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This is a remarkable debut recital by one of the most intelligent, musical and thoughtful British singers before the public today. It's not easy listening, but Padmore and Vignoles demonstrate song's unique power to shake, stir and move. The recorded balance is ideal, but no company is more experienced in the art-song repertoire than Hyperion. Another jewel in an already superlative crown' (International Record Review)

'Boyhood's End is more of a continuous cantata than a song cycle, and Padmore's concentration on the beauty of the continuous, excitable melisma is surely the right way to go, when Tippett's vocal writing is at it's early, florid best. Padmore's accurate tenor is really used as another, powerful instrument. The voice seems more played than sung' (Fanfare, USA)
A Young Man’s Exhortation, is a cycle, but has no narrative—unlike Die schöne Müllerin or Winterreise. The thread is an emotional one, linking the young idealist as he matures to his gentle end under the yellowing trees. Over the first five songs Finzi set the quotation in Latin, ‘In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up’ (but even by song 4 the singer is imagining his own past obscurity) and over part II ‘In the evening it is cut down, and withereth’. The first song begins lyrically, with imitation in the piano part, as if all set for a closed form; but it slackens into quasi-recitative for the questioning fourth verse; has a Holstian march bass at the mention of passing time, and ends (having started in A flat) on a surprising chord of E major—all characteristic Finzi procedures. The second song, apparently artless, is subtle in the way Finzi plays stress against metre to point up the words. ‘Budmouth Dears’ is deliberately more hearty, for contrast. ‘The Comet at Yell’ham’ is remote and still: poet and composer set our little human life in perspective, but without sitting in judgement. In ‘Former Beauties’ a vision, held in the memory, is re-lived. All five songs have their counterpart—in sentiment and form—in the later sets. The first complete public performance of A Young Man’s Exhortation was given on 5 December 1933 by Frank Drew and Augustus Lowe.

from notes by Diana McVeagh © 1989
Diana McVeagh’s Gerald Finzi: His Life and Music is published by Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge

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