Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Finch, Edward

(bap. Kensington, 20 April, 1663; d York, 14 Feb 1738). English ecclesiastic, composer and copyist. He was the fifth son of Heneage Finch, first Earl of Nottingham. He was admitted to Christ’s College, Cambridge, in 1677, obtained the MA in 1679, became a fellow in 1680, entered the Inner Temple in 1683 and represented his university in parliament, 1689–95. He was ordained in 1695 and became Prebendary of York in 1704, Rector of Kirkby-in-Cleveland in 1705, Rector of Wigan in 1707 and Prebendary of Canterbury in 1710.

Most of our knowledge of Finch’s musical activities comes from his autograph manuscripts. One (GB-Ge R.d.39) contains composition and figured bass treatises by Gottfried Keller, Purcell and Finch himself, instructions for tuning the organ by Renatus Harris and the harpsichord by Keller and ‘Mr Allen’, rules for fingering keyboard music by Keller, G.B. Draghi, Charles Quarles and Handel, as well as church music, keyboard music and secular vocal music by Finch and others. Others in his hand may be found in York Minster and Durham Cathedral, those in the latter including consort music by Finger and vocal music by Handel, Steffani and Bull. The score of solo sonatas and vocal music, formerly in the Cummings collection, that contains the unique copy of the Sonata in G minor (z780) attributed to Purcell was also copied by Finch.

Finch appears to have written much music; however, it is often difficult to tell which pieces in his autographs are his own. Many are extracts, and it is often unclear where pieces begin and end. The main pieces that seem to be by him are a sequence of 11 solo sonatas (dated 1716–20, but three were written during the reign of James II; GB-Y, The Cuckow was published in The Second Part of the Division-Violin, London, 2/1693); a Te Deum and Jubilate in G (DRc, Y); a Te Deum and Jubilate in G minor (Lbl, Y); an anthem, Grant we beseech thee (DRc, Lbl, Y); some catches and numerous chants. The sonatas include versions corrected by the Italian cellist and composer Lorenzo Bocchi, who may have taught Finch. Finch's style developed a great deal between the 1680s and 1720s; his music is reasonably competent and often attractive, but little of it seems to have been known outside his immediate circle.


B. I’Anson: A History of the Finch Family (London, 1933)

R. Illing: Henry Purcell: Sonata in G minor for Violin and Continuo: an Account of its Survival from both the Historical and Technical Points of View (Flinders U. of South Australia, 1975)

D. Lasocki: ‘The Detroit Recorder Manuscript (England, c1700)’, American Recorder, xxiii/3 (1982), 95–102

D. Nichols: Edward Finch (BA thesis, Colchester Institute, 1989)


Fincham & Sons.

Australian firm of organ builders. It was founded by George Fincham (b London, 25 Aug 1828; d Melbourne, 21 Dec 1910), the pioneer of Australian organ building. The family originated in the English village of Fincham, Norfolk. George’s father Jonathan George Fincham (1796–1863) and grandfather John (b 1754) were both organ builders. In 1901 George’s son Leslie Valentine Hunter (1879–1955) became a partner in the firm, which continued under the direction of Leslie’s son George Bowring (b 1917) and grandson David George (b 31 Jan 1944).

George Fincham was apprenticed to Henry Bevington in London (1843–9) and then worked as foreman for James Bishop & Son, London, and Forster & Andrews of Hull. He emigrated to Australia in 1852, intending to establish an organ-building enterprise; he set up his first factory in Richmond, Melbourne, in 1862. In 1878 he bought the firm of Lee & Kayes, and in 1881, with Arthur Hobday, who had been his apprentice in 1866, set up a branch in Adelaide, which became known as Fincham & Hobday. Hobday was co-manager of the Adelaide branch with J.E. Dodd, who became sole manager in 1888 and bought the firm in 1894 (see Dodd (ii)). Dodd was also a junior partner of the Melbourne firm, also called Fincham & Hobday from 1889 until it was restructured in 1897. Fincham & Hobday produced some noteworthy instruments, including the organ for the Australian Church, Melbourne (1890; four manuals, 53 speaking stops), and many reconstructions and enlargements of earlier organs. Hobday returned to New Zealand and died there in 1912. Fincham opened other agencies and branches, in Perth (1897), Brisbane (1902) and Sydney (1904).

Fincham’s first organ (one manual, 10 stops) was sold to the Congregational Church, East Melbourne, for £180. The second (two manuals, 17 stops), dated 1864, was the first comparatively large organ to have been built in Australia and may have been used as a demonstration instrument in his factory. In 1866 Fincham was awarded £100 by the government of Victoria in recognition of his founding of an Australian organ-building industry. He subsequently won prizes at several exhibitions in Australia and London. One of his most notable instruments was that produced in 1880–81 for the Melbourne International Exhibition; having four manuals and about 70 stops, it was the 18th largest organ in the world at that time.

Fincham produced about 200 organs, the larger instruments including those for St Joseph’s Cathedral, Dunedin (1866), and St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, Tasmania (1894). Many smaller organs were produced during these years, some for private residences, others for parish churches (e.g. St Ignatius, Richmond, Melbourne, 1874). He was also involved in restoration and maintenance work, and the production and sale of components to other Australian organ builders. The firm’s later work has included the organs for Christ Church Cathedral, Ballarat (1930), St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne (1962–4), St Francis’s Catholic Church, Melbourne (1973), and Corpus Christi College Chapel, Clayton, Victoria (1978), as well as restorations, such as the organ in the Australian Church, renovated and installed in Wilson Hall, University of Melbourne (1956). Although Australian organ building prospered during the mid-20th century, it became evident that various factors such as spiralling labour costs, waning church finances and fewer applicants for apprenticeships would greatly affect the viability of the trade in the future. Consequently the firm diversified and by the end of the 20th century was concentrating on the restoration of historic woodwork and the production of hand-made furniture. Their last new organ was built in 1982 for John XXIII College, Australian Catholic University, Canberra, and their last work undertaken in 1998 (a restoration of the organ built by John Courcelle in the Church of Christ, Geelong).

The consoles and façades of Fincham’s organs tend to be very stylized, the latter being impressive in their use of decorated pipes. The tonal plan of the many small single-manual organs of 1866–76 was based on Diapasons, flutes and Dulcianas, with only occasional use of a reed or mixture. The larger two-manual organs made greater use of reeds: on the Swell usually an Oboe, but occasionally a Cornopean, and on the Great a mixture and Trumpet. Strings were not used until the 1890s when a Clarinet stop replaced the Trumpet. On larger three-manual organs the Choir organ was based on strings and flutes, not Diapasons, and the basic Fincham Pedal organ consisted usually of a Bourdon, or Open Diapason, a Bass Flute being added to the design in the 1880s. Trackers were used in the early organs, but these soon gave way to tubular-pneumatic actions. Given the diversity of the Australian climate, producing a reliable pneumatic action proved expensive and difficult, and this, coupled with the economic depression of 1929–34 and the two World Wars, had an adverse effect on the fortunes of the firm. However, the quality of the firm’s pipework has always been excellent, and even in the early days few pipes were imported; Fincham won a prize for his spotted metal and metal pipes in the Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London, of 1886, and pipe manufacture played a big part in the prosperity of the firm during its early stages.


J.R. Maidment: Gazetteer of Victorian Pipe Organs (Melbourne, 1970)

B.A. Naylor: Gazetteer of South Australian Pipe Organs (Melbourne, 1974, rev. 2/1996 by D. Shield)

J.R. Maidment: Gazetteer of New South Wales Pipe Organs and those of Australian Capital Territory and Norfolk Island (Melbourne, 1981)

G.D. Rushworth: Historic Organs of New South Wales: the Instruments, their Makers and Players, 1791–1940 (Sydney, 1988)

M. Atherton: Australian Made, Australian Played (Sydney, 1990)

T.M. McEwan: The Australian Organ and its Music: Past, Present and Future (diss., Griffith U., Brisbane, 1998)

J. Mallinson: ‘The Organ in St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne’, Organopleno, i (1999), 7–15


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