College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
BM (Bachelor of Music)
Session and Year of Graduation
Honors Major Advisor
Gerald Finzi (1901-1956) was a British composer well known for his settings of classic British poetry for solo. He came at the end of a movement known as the English Musical Renaissance (ER).Although scholars still debate the motives and effectiveness of the ER in its goal of creating a new British national music, there are a number of themes that tie composers of the period together: lyrical pastoral writing, extensive use of folk tunes, and measured dissonance. In this study I compare Finzi’s settings of Shakespeare texts to settings of the same texts by Roger Quilter, Hubert Parry, and Ralph Vaughan Williams, some of the standard bearers of the movement. Looking at these pairs of settings side by side not only connects Finzi directly to the ER, but also shows how he further developed its voice with increased harmonic tension, great attention to text setting and meter, and a more complete use of the piano as a musical partner. Finzi thus stands as a closing figure in this movement, accepting its ideas but pushing them one step further.
Gerald Finzi, English Musical Renaissnace, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Hubert Parry, Let us Garlands Bring, Roger Quilter
2018 Benjamin Ross