Linda Finnie – Recording Reviews 

Elgar: The Music Makers and Sea Pictures

London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra. Bryden Thomson; Linda Finnie, contralto (Chandos 9022)

“I’ve fallen in love with Linda Finnie. Well, at least her voice. The Scottish contralto sings beautifully in this performance of two Elgar pieces – Sea Pictures and The Music Makers with The London Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra conducted by the late Bryden Thomson.”

“The Sea Slumber-Song is perhaps the most blissful of all Elgar’s songs. Here there is a perfect understanding between soloist and orchestra, which makes wonderful listening”

“Throughout the five Sea Pictures songs, Linda Finnie’s voice is controlled and measured; a soft-edged Scottish accent is just detectable and helps to give an alluring quality to her overall performance.”

“The last (and longest) song, The Swimmer, is glorious. The vocal line is swept along by some brilliant orchestral playing”

“The Music Makers is stirring stuff, the London Phil singers and instrumentalists give warm performances of classic Elgarian themes.”

“This is a clever 10-part piece made up of material from some of the composer’s greatest works. The crowning glory is a superb choral version of the famous Nirmad theme from the Enigma Variations.”

“This is inspiring stuff. And Linda Finnie’s singing is sheer heaven.”

Mahler: Das Klagende Lied (1880-98)

Joan Rodgers (soprano); Linda Finnie (contralto): Hans-Peter Blochwitz (tenor); Roberl Haywood (baritone); Bath Festival Chorus; Waynflete Singers; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Richard Hickox. Chandos, CHAN9247, 70:56 DDD

“To say that Hickox had made the third best version of Klagende Lied may sound like damningly faint praise, but it is in fact a tribute. The orchestral textures are marvellous and the excellent engineering allows for a vast dynamhic range, from a hushed pianissimo in the first section to the raucous celebrations of the finale. But some extreme choices of tempo, especially in the long first section, occasionally threaten to wind the music down to a dead stop but thanks attention to melodic detail, and some counterbalancing extremely last tempos Hickox never completely loses the attention. But to say that his sense of the music’s texture is almost as good as Boulez’s on his 1970s recording is high praise.”

“Singers and choruses are on fine form, with Linda Finnie’s producing a performance reminiscent of Fassbaender’s for Chailly on Decca The four soloists blend well; but sadly Hickox doesn’t follow Chailly- and Mahler – by using a boy alto for the ghost voice. That peculiar timbre is so effective and gives Chailly’s excellent version the edge over the competition.”

“Linda Finnie is outstanding among the soloists on Hickox’s “Klagende Lied’ – a major hit for Chandos.”

Jeremy Beadle

Schumann: Frauenliebe und-leben

Linda Finnie (mezzo-soprano); Anthony Legge (piano) Chandos CHAN 8786. 71:31 DDD full price (with Schumann: Marla Stuart Lieder; Brahms: Gestillte Sehnsucht, Op. 91 No.1; Geistliches Wiegenlied, Op.91 No.2; Four Serious Songs)

“I often find that the performances, and discs, which I admire most are those about which I feel least inclined to say much. So it is with my favourite Fraienliche. Linda Finnie, accompanied by Anthony Legge, is so inevitable and right at almost every point that you simply feel like saying “Listen to that: that’s how it ought to go”. But note how extraordinarily inward she is at the beginning, setting the mood to perfection, and with maximum support from the sensitive Legge. Admittedly the second song, marked “Lively and inward”, is surprising ly slow, and the whole cycle is taken at leisurely tempi, as if she wanted to postpone the loss of her virginity as long as possible. But, aid ed by Chandos’s typically rich recording, the pace soon seems natural, and one notices so many touches that in more urgent performanc es tend to pass you by, even on repeated listening. For instance, the little wedding march which closes the fifth song makes a unique im pression here. And in the sixth song, the final words come as an echo, Here we are also given wonderful readings of Brahms’s Four Seri ous Songs as well as Schumann’s Maria Stuart Lieder. They aren’t needed to clinch my recommendation, but they are on the same level.”

“Linda Finnie sets the mood of each song perfectly and gets everything right at every point.”

Michael Tanner, Classic CD, August 1993