Finzi’s A Young Man’s Exhortation – Intermezzo Recital by Brendan Tuohy

Tacoma Opera is thrilled to present the ninth installment of our 2020 – 2021 Intermezzo Recital Series performed by Brendan Tuohy, accompanied by Beth Grimmett-Tankersley on the piano. 

Hello everyone and thank you for watching our virtual recital. Beth and I are extremely excited to be presenting this masterpiece for you today. It has been a tough year but having this program to look forward to and getting to sing with one of my favorites at the piano has truly been a treat for me. Beth, THANK YOU so much for being such a fantastic collaborator and artist. It is a joy singing with you.

Now about Gerald Finzi. He was an English composer who came up with some of England’s greatest including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, and Benjamin Britten. Vaughan Williams had a huge influence on Finzi both in his musical style and professionally. Vaughan Williams actually got him his first job as a professor at the Royal Academy before Finzi decided that London was not for him, and he and his wife moved to the country to become an apple farmer and composer.

Today, We would like to perform Finzi’s A Young Man’s Exhortation. It is a beautiful piece of music that is set to text by Thomas Hardy. The cycle is comprised of 10 songs in 2 parts. Part 1, also titled from Psalm 90, “In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up” contains 5 songs with poems that deal with various moods of young men and love. Part 2, “In the evening it is cut down and withereth” deals with philosophical retrospect under the shadow of man’s age. While the cycle is chronological, it does not tell a complete story. It more gives you snapshots of a person’s life.

I had the pleasure of singing this cycle 10 years ago when I was living and performing in Houston. At the time I was 30 and felt very rooted in the part 1 of the cycle. I will be turning 40 this year and while I feel like I am still in Part 1 of my life, Part 2 is getting closer. 🙂 I love being able to perform works like this. As I get older, the experiences in my own life shape how I sing the text. And while the song cycle is the same as it was 10 years ago, my interpretation has completely changed. I can’t wait to continue to grow with this piece. Hopefully I won’t have to wait 10 years to sing it again. I hope you enjoy it!

– Brendan