Finzi and Whistler

January 10, 2007


I have just finished reading the long-anticipated biography of the English composer Gerald Finzi, by Diana McVeagh – ‘Gerald Finzi: his life and music’ – a fascinating insight into the life of one of my musical heroes (1901-1956).

The above is my shot of a section of the small but wonderful etched porch window of St James’ Church, Ashmansworth (near Newbury), just across from the Finzi’s home. It displays the initials of fifty English composers with their dates of birth emanating from a tree’s roots (in this image, those of Sir Edward Elgar – ‘EE 1857’ – can be seen, along with Delius, Vaughan Williams and Holst just above, and Stanford below). It was created by the artist Laurence Whistler, a friend of the Finzi family.

Finzi’s devoted wife, Joy, was a talented portrait artist, some of her works having appeared in the National Portrait Gallery.

Laurence Whistler’s artist brother, Rex, produced the huge and impressive mural in the dining room of Plas Newydd, Anglesey, North Wales.