Finzi’s 1929 Prelude in F minor, Op. 25 for string orchestra, originally intended to be the first third of a triptych called The Bud, the Blossom and the Berry, was salvaged from his unpublished works after his death in 1956. Finzi wrote this in the fertile period after he had moved to London in 1925, surrounded by other young English composers such as Holst and Vaughan Williams. His earlier life had not been altogether happy—his father had died when he was just 7, and he was deeply affected by the death of his teacher, Ernest Farrar, at the Western Front in 1918—and lots of his music reflects this background. The Prelude is no exception: a throbbing tuba introduction ushers in a heavy-hearted melody, starting with the low trombones alone. A lighter texture signals a more hopeful middle section, but before long the trombone theme returns, exhibiting Finzi’s unique rich harmonic language. This time the music builds to an epic climax as the prevailing minor key finally gives way to a bright and exultant major.

Matthew Knight

Parts included:

  • Score
  • Trumpet in E-flat
  • Trumpet 1 in B-flat
  • Trumpet 2 in B-flat
  • Trombone 1
  • Trombone 2
  • Trombone 3 (Bass)
  • Tuba

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