British cellist Raphael Wallfisch explains why the Finzi concerto is a piece close to his heart – and why he continues to champion it to orchestras around the world
For me, Gerald Finzi’s Cello Concerto in A minor op.40 is the greatest of all British cello concertos. It’s amazing that it had to languish in obscurity for so long after it was first performed – I love playing it, I think it’s full of excitement and dramatic contrast, and I continue to offer it when I’m asked to perform both in Britain and overseas. It’s always hard to convince people to take it on, though; Elgar, Britten and Walton are always the favoured British composers, but in my opinion the Finzi outshines the Elgar Concerto for sheer drama and intensity.
I was already a professional soloist when I encountered the Finzi Concerto for the first time. Andrew Burn of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra (RLPO) suggested that I listen to Yo-Yo Ma’s recording with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Vernon Handley. So I got hold of a copy…
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