Written between 1998 and 2016, Preludes to Canada is a 13-movement journey across Canada for solo piano.  Originating as a musical journal of impressions and feelings from cross-Canada travels hand in hand with musical and life partner Donna Bennett, each Prelude evokes one special place in a vast country bursting with special places. I also wanted to acknowledge Stuart McLean whose wonderful book “Welcome Home” about his travels in small town Canada greatly influenced this project by inspiring me to share my own observations of this wonderful country in a deeply personal, meaningful, positive and, dare I say, Canadian way.  No apologies for that! Only thanks…  

Recordings

Park & Fly

A large-scale, multi-movement work for SATB soloists, SATB Chorus, piano and synthesizer, Requiem for a Millennium was composed to commemorate the closing of the second millennium. The passing of two important figures late in the summer of 1997 formed an integral part of the conception of the piece: those of Princess Diana and Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Although curiously juxtaposed, these were two lives that had enormous impact on the world in which they lived. Both women were hailed as "saints", one in a secular sense, the other in a sacred.  Together, they seemed to uphold and bring to a close so much of the human experience of the past 1,000 years. The life of Diana is represented in the settings of Psalms 22, 23 and 24 which lie nestled amongst the traditional movements for the Mass for the Dead which reflect the life of Mother Teresa. 

Selections from the world premiere cast recording featuring Donna Bennett (Rapunzel), Michael Burgess (Harold Prince), Gabrielle Prata (Madame Whicher).  The world premiere performances took place at Westben in 2005, directed by Brenda Finley and starring Donna Bennett and Michael Burgess along with a cast and crew of over 100.  Story adaptated from the original Grimm's fairy tale with a  libretto and music by Brian Finley and orchestrations by Brian Finley & Ken Tizzard.

Selections from Brian's recording of solo piano music from London's beautiful Wigmore Hall.  Complete CD features: Rachmaninoff Preludes Op. 23, No 1, 2 & 4; Beethoven Bagatelles, Op. 126; Schubert Impromptus in G Flat Op. 90, No. 3 and in A Flat, Op. 142, No. 2; Violet Archer Fantasy (1947).

Two advance recordings from the opera The Pencil Salesman which premiered at Westben in June and July, 2016, featuring John Fanning, Donna Bennett, Alexander Dobson, Virginia Hatfield, Keith Klassen, Gabrielle Prata, Robert Longo, Olivia Rapos and others.  Based on an original story by Brian who also wrote the libretto, composed the music and orchestrated the work, The Pencil Salesman was inspired and commissioned by Dr. Agnes M. Herzberg. 

Still one of our favourites! Recorded shortly after the birth of our first son, Benjamin, Lullabies for Benjamin is a collection of 17 of our favourite lullabies for soprano and piano ranging from Brahms, Schumann, Schubert, Strauss and Humperdinck to "Stay Awake" from Mary Poppins and "All the Pretty Little Horses" as well as some originals.  Today's Parent referred to it as it "an exquisite collection with a classical touch" calling it "the latest and best in the ever-growing volume of lullaby recordings."  The Toronto Star placed it as Number One in John Sakamoto's Anti-Hit List (May 17, 1994). 

Treasures from the grand Concert Hall at Victoria Hall in Cobourg! Released in 1997, Love's Old Sweet Songs features warm and sweet melodies that you might discover in your grandmother's piano bench beautifully sung by soprano Donna Bennett with Brian Finley, piano.  CD includes favourites from Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Stephen Foster, Rinaldo Hahn and others.  Also included are moving renditions of Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral and O Danny Boy. 

"My heart might explode.  I love the Preludes to Canada CD. 

I listen to it all the time in the car. Oh my heart, I love it, sends my heart a fluttering.”

"I am at the moment in tears after listening to the Red River Dreams - Brian's music is so inspiring and absolutely breath taking." 

© 2017 by Brian Finley