Michael Finnissy (1946)

Did Michael Finnissy really mean for his “English Country Tunes” to covertly mean “English Cunt-ry tunes”? I think I read that once – could it have been in The Gramophone? And, yes, I guess it’s true, since I find an online study on Finnissy, by pianist Ian Pace (that link will open a .pdf document), published in Tempo of July 1997, that supports it (“The title of English Country-Tunes (1977), originally written ‘for the Silver Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II ‘ suggests pastoralism and ‘nice tunes’, yet it is actually a pun on the first syllable of the second word (one could write it English Cunt, Re:Tunes), and is part an expression of Finnissy’s anger at the taboos and hypocrisy concerning sex and sexuality in England). Well, even if so, it’s never anything you’d see disclosed on prudish and Orwellian Amazon, always prompt to censor language since it cannot act on acts.

Of Finnissy’s music I’ve reviewed:

The English Country Tunes played by the composer on Etcetera

Foklore (folk-inspired piano music including Folklore II, Three Dukes went a-riding, My love is like a red red rose, How dear to me, Willow willow, Vieux Noël, Australian Sea Chanties, Polskie Tance op. 32/1-4, Terekkeme, Lylyly Li, Svatovec) played by the composer on Metier

The short and unmemorable Minuet for string quartet,  from Six Sexy Minuets Three Trios (2003), in The Smith Quartet’s recital on Signum Classics, Dance

Finnissy has an excellent website.

Comments are welcome