Earth and Air and Rain
, published in 1936, was not performed complete till 2 July 1945, by Robert Irwin and Gerald Moore. In ‘Lyonnesse’ and ‘The Phantom’ Finzi has composed what might be called enhanced ballads. Both have swinging tunes which carry their narratives, but their form is modified to reflect change. Both concern Hardy and his wife Emma: his first dazzling meeting with her, his sad return to his Lyonnesse after her death. ‘The Clock of the Years’ balances both songs, musically by dramatic recitative, and in content: in it the man’s age is constant, the woman’s alters—disastrously. The final song brings acceptance of the ever-lasting cycle of the seasons.
from notes by Diana McVeagh © 1989
Diana McVeagh’s Gerald Finzi: His Life and Music is published by Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge