Reproduced by kind permission of Choir & Organ, the article by Gerard Brooks in the May-June 2018 edition on the organ music of Francis Pott.
Critical acclaim, repeated consistently over the past thirty years, testifies to a voice of uncommon eloquence and seriousness of purpose. These qualities have won increasing attention for the dramatic, questing and profoundly spiritual music of Francis Pott, which has been performed and broadcast in forty countries worldwide and widely recorded for commercial CD.
Long acknowledged for his sacred choral and organ output and for his chamber works, Pott has spent many years building upon the foundations laid by his oratorio for soloists, chorus, organ and orchestra, A Song on the End of the World. Taking its name from a poem written in the Warsaw of 1944 by the late Czesław Miłosz, this ‘overpoweringly dramatic’ work [as acclaimed by The Organ] earned a five-minute standing ovation and national acclaim at its world première as the Elgar Commission of the Three Choirs Festival at Worcester (1999), where it was performed by the Three Choirs Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Adrian Lucas. A Song on the End of the World led in two directions: in 2005 it was followed by The Cloud of Unknowing, Pott’s internationally-acclaimed further oratorio for tenor solo, double chorus and organ, but it also marked the beginning of an orchestral output currently extending to embrace concertos for violin and for cor anglais and further works for chorus with orchestra. Pott has also spent some years laying the ground for a large-scale symphony in which the humanitarian preoccupations of his oratorios will eventually find wordless (but related) form.
Francis Pott is also a busy piano soloist, chamber partner and accompanist, working with a variety of singers and instrumentalists. In August 2014 he gave the premièreof his Sonata for viola and piano (2013) with the internationally-celebrated Japanese-born violist Yuko Inoue, its dedicatee, recording the work with her two months later for EM Recordings, the ground-breaking label launched as an extension of the hugely successful English Music Festival series. This disc was released in December 2014 [EMRCD 028] and has been widely acclaimed.