[1996; First Prize, Second S.S.Prokofiev International Composing Competition, Moscow, 1997]


Duration: ca 6'35"

This work features on a Golomb/ CBC recording by the Russian/ Canadian virtuoso Alexander Tselyakov. The Toccata is published by Fand Music Press.

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Composer's Note



Composer's Note

Toccata for Piano Solo

Prokofiev prompted various conscious allusions in this piece. His own Toccata opus 11, with its flattened seventh in early and menacing opposition to a dogged tonic pedal, finds a harmonic echo as the present work gets into its stride (a semitone lower). There follow some oblique references to the outer movements of Prokofiev’s Seventh Sonata and the finale of his Eighth. A ‘fugato’ secondary episode acknowledges also the Lesghinka (itself a tribute to Balakirev’s Islamey) from the Etudes d’Exécution Transcendante by Liapunov.

 The Toccata is enigmatically and ominously insistent, rather than (until its closing stages) merely headlong, and seeks to respond to the strict application of its title by exploring many contrasting types of touch and tone, rather than to hammer away

-with diminishing returns -at only one. The piece was widely performed in Russia before receiving its U.K. première from the American virtuoso Frederic Chiu at the 1999 ‘Pianoworks’ Festival in London. Its most recent advocates include the respectively British and Russian-Canadian pianists, Julian Hellaby and Alexander Tselyakov [see www.tselyakov.com ]. Tselyakov has performed it to acclaim across the U.S.A. and Canada, on Canadian Radio and B.B.C. Radio 3 and at London’s Wigmore Hall.

© Francis Pott 2004 



American Record Guide, January/February 2005, Mark Lehman

An exciting toccata that bounds along, now sinister, now brilliant, in relentless triple meter.


Musical Opinion, Robert Matthew-Walker:
Alexander Tselyakov:  impressive Wigmore Hall recital

The Russian born Canadian pianist Alexander Tselyakov gave an impressive recital at the Wigmore Hall on 23 November, concentrating almost entirely upon Russian music by Tchaikovsky, Scriabin and Rachmaninov. He also performed an extremely difficult Toccata by the contemporary British composer Francis Pott. This Toccata was awarded First Prize in the Second International Prokofiev Composing Competition in Moscow in March 1997.

Pott's Toccata received a great response from the audience and the composer himself was on stage at the of the piece creating an unforgettable moment. This piece drew extraordinary material from familiar territory and was by no means out of place in this context, especially when performed with a virtuosity and a sensitivity that showed Tselyakov to be a rare artist.

Earlier, we had enjoyed an unusual coincidence, with Tchaikovsky's Variations in F major, Opus 19 No 6, which Leslie Howard had included in his Wigmore programme some weeks before and which Tselyakov played with
equal individual artistry. He brought the same quality to three pieces by Scriabin and a Rachmaninov group which included the Second Sonata, in the 1931 revised version.  As time goes by, the original version of this work is preferred, but it was good to be reminded of the composer's second thoughts, the more so in such a convincing interpretation as this.

Robert Matthew-Walker


Review of Toccata for piano solo [1996], Bruce Hodges
Music Web International, December 2004:  

Francis Pott, another composer who seems to admire Prokofiev, gives us a plunging Toccata that seems right up Tselyakov’s alley, and judging from the audience response, this is one of the program’s highlights.  

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