Finnissy became known for the political side of music, and he believes that all music is 'programmatic' to some degree, that is, a composition exists in not just the composer's mind, but inside a culture that reflects both the extra-musical and purely musical concerns of the composer. Music, far from being unable to express anything other than itself (as Stravinsky said) is a force for change. This engagement with political and social themes became more frequent as his career progressed. For example, the influence of homosexual themes and concerns began to enter his work; as in Shameful Vice in 1994, and more explicitly in Seventeen Immortal Homosexual Poets in 1997.
Brougham, Henrietta, Christopher Fox, and Ian Pace (eds.). 1997. Uncommon Ground: The Music of Michael Finnissy. Aldershot, Hants., and Brookfield, VT: Ashgate. ISBN 1-85928-356-X.
Cross, Jonathan. 2001, "Finnissy, Michael (Peter)". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers. Updated by Ian Pace, 26 May 2010, Grove Music Online, edited by Deane Root.
Pace, Ian. 1996. "The Panorama of Michael Finnissy: I". Tempo, no. 196 (1996), 25–35.
Pace, Ian. 1997. "The Panorama of Michael Finnissy: II". Tempo, no. 201 (1997), 7–16.