Finzi - Five Bagatelles

Popular pieces that the composer dismissed as 'only trifles.'

In 1941, shortly before being drafted into the war effort, Finzi finished three pieces for clarinet, using ‘20-year-old bits and pieces’. With a fourth piece added, they were given their first performance in January 1943 at one of the famous National Gallery lunchtime concerts that went ahead daily during the war.

A Finale was added for publication in July 1945, and the Five Bagatelles immediately became Finzi’s most popular work. However, the composer dismissed the pieces as 'only trifles’ and ‘not worth much, but got better notices than my decent stuff’.

The spirited opening ‘Prelude’ is followed by a peaceful ‘Romance’, a tender 'Carol', the 'Forlana' and a zippy Finale which shows off all the versatility of the instrument.

Confidently showcasing the wide range of rich tones that the clarinet can make, Finzi's pieces remain just as popular today.