As part of a remarkable year of poignant tributes to the Fallen of World War I, Canadian bass-baritone, Gerald Finley CBE OC is releasing a stand-alone digital single of his performance of one of the most popular songs of the day ‘Roses of Picardy’, first published in 1916 with lyrics by Frederick Weatherly and music by Haydn Wood. It has extra significance for Finley, as not only is it sung in tribute to Canadian participation in the Great War overall, as referenced by the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ written by Canadian Dr John McCrae, but also as a personal tribute to Finley’s own grandfather, who saw action with the Black Watch during 1916-18 in France, exactly the time that this song’s popularity was at its highest peak.
Finley, who was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2017, will take centre stage on the evening of Saturday 8th September 2018 during the world famous concert, Last Night of the BBC Proms.
A leading singer and dramatic interpreter of his generation, Mr Finley is famous for his many acclaimed performances on the world’s major opera and concert stages and for his award-winning recordings on CD and DVD across a broad range of repertoire. He is also passionately committed to both music education and charity work, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for Help Musicians UK. Mr Finley’s career is devoted to the wide range of vocal art and he regularly collaborates with the greatest orchestras and conductors of our time.
Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Mr Finley was originally on course to become a vet before turning to choral music studies in Ottawa, Canada and at the Royal College of Music and Kings College, Cambridge in the UK before the opera stage beckoned. He is as at home in the works of Mozart, Rossini and Verdi as he is in the contemporary world of modern-day composers such as Adams, Saariaho and Turnage as well as the world of popular song as seen in his moving release ‘Roses of Picardy’.
Commented Mr Finley: “I always wish to use my voice to pass on the joy and wonder contained within music. Singing is as important a craft and art today as it ever has been and my hope is that the true art of singing, with beauty of voice and artful accomplishment, will continue to impact audiences and help soothe and guide us through unpredictable and difficult times, just as this song did all those years ago when it was so very much needed”.
Released digitally on Friday 7th Sep 2018 by Chandos Records