Since we loved by Gerald Finzi

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Oh fair to see

Song Cycle by Gerald Finzi (1901 – 1956)
    After reviewing and singing Faure’s Ici Bas! and Les berceaux which speak directly of mourning loss of someone loved and departing sailors leaving behind women and their babies themes of isolation and loneliness I found consolation in Gerald Finzi’s cycle ‘Oh fair to see’. What is so striking about Finzi’s setting of Robert Bridges poem is the natural and spontaneous nature of the word setting to music.
  1. Since we loved

Since we loved, – (the earth that shook

As we kissed, fresh beauty took) –

Love hath been as poets paint,

Life as heaven is to a saint;

 

All my joys my hope excel,

All my work hath prosper’d well,

All my songs have happy been,

O my love, my life, my queen.

In 1951 Finzi was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, a form of leukaemia, and was given between five to ten years to live. He lost fight with the disease on September 27, 1956. This is Gerald Finzi’s last song completed a month before he died in the final summer of 1956, described by Stephen Banfield as a “beautiful and perfect final love letter to [his wife] Joy, to his art, and to life itself.”

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