WESLEY: Organ Music
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Gerald Finzi made an unrivalled contribution to British twentieth-century song-writing, especially in his settings of Thomas Hardy, his favourite poet. He felt an empathy with Hardy's bleak fatalism and his anger at the suffering that mankind afflicts on mankind, writing tellingly: 'I have always loved him so much and from earliest days responded, not so much to an influence, as to a kinship with him.' This third and final volume of Finzi songs includes two Hardy settings, 'A Young Man's Exhortation' and 'Till Earth Outwears', which share the poet's preoccupation with the 'passing preciousness of dreams', the transience of life and death itself. The posthumously published 'Oh Fair to see' draws on various authors, from Christina Rossetti to Blunden and Bridges. This time the soloist is tenor John Mark Ainsley, whose recent recording of Vaughan Williams's 'On Wenlock Edge' was nominated for a Gramophone Award, while Iain Burnside again provides piano accompaniment.