In Britain, the works of Finzi (1901-56) are generally admired and oft-recorded, but his Anglophilic musical landscapes have not resonated as strongly with American audiences. Despite his native popularity, it has taken over 40 years for a full-length biography of the composer to be published. (John C. Dressler's Gerald Finzi, part of Greenwood's "Biobibliographies in Music" series, serves to introduce the composer's work. ) The Finzi Trust commissioned this work, but it retains a welcome tone of objectivity. Banfield (music, Univ. of Birmingham, UK) uses a staggering number of letters to and from Finzi, which shed light on a personality and artistic temperament more complex than often thought. Finzi's compositions reflect a strain of English Romanticism born of his love for the Hampshire countryside, yet his lifelong attempt to reconcile his "Englishness" with his Italian Jewish heritage led to an undercurrent of mystery and pathos in much of his work. Banfield's text proceeds chronologically, with numerous musical examples embedded throughout. Readers should come away with a greater appreciation of Finzi's large and varied output but may find the wealth of detail tedious. Recommended for larger undergraduate and graduate collections.DLarry Lipkis, Moravian Coll., Bethlehem, PA
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"A major contribution to the history of music in Britain in the first half of the 20th century." -- Michael Kennedy, BBC Music Magazine
"[A] long-needed and doubly welcome book." -- John Steane, The Musical Times