Finzi, Gerald: The brightness of this day
SSAATTBB, Bar solo and organ
In November 1923, Ralph Vaughan Williams received a letter from a young composer asking for permission to use a folk tune, ‘The truth sent from above’, that the great man had recorded on a field trip and subsequently used to beautiful effect in his ‘Fantasia on Christmas Carols’ (S&B, 1912). Luckily for Gerald Finzi, as he had already written his piece, RVW agreed on condition that Finzi also asked his fellow collector, Ella Mary Leather.
The brightness of this day is an expansive and thrilling setting of a Christmas poem by Henry Vaughan. Stylistically it is reminiscent of the grand choral works of Parry and Bairstow (his teacher) and it is a great showcase for choirs and a baritone soloist, yet there are also unmistakable early signs of the very individual composer that Finzi was to become.