I must admit I wasn't quite sure how to react to the news that a San Francisco Bay area critic had chosen CD #20 in the boxed set -- the Finzi Concerto -- as "Best Music to Drive By" back in 1990. But I will say the recording sessions purred along with the perfect Guildhall String Ensemble for an exhilarating sense of the road (Abbey Road actually!). Without a conductor, we were able to sit back and enjoy the details and delight in Finzi's harmonious landscapes. And how fortunate we were to have Lawrence Ashmore along with us on the ride. This superb musician and composer started off playing bass in Finzi's Newberry Strings as a young man. His contribution to this CD is enormous for he miraculously resurrected the earlier Bagatelles (originally for clarinet and piano) to give them a sonorous new life here. Then he takes the creative leap to invent a Four Seasons for me and the Guildhall using English folk songs, his own inventions, and even opens it up for me to improvise a bit.
© Richard Stoltzman
Recording: London, Abbey Road, EMI Studio 1, March 27-31, 1990
Producer & Recording Engineer: Max Wilcox
Publishers: Boosey & Hawkes [1-8]; Josef Weinberger [9-12]
℗ 1991 Sony Music Entertainment