SATB a cappella with brief divisionsforces: SATB Choir
published by: Ricordi
This work is featured on a Signum worldwide release of choral and solo organ music by Francis Pott [SIGCD 080] performed by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, under its Director of Music, Judy Martin, with Tristan Russcher, organ. The disc became available in June 2006.
This five-minute motet takes its text from passages of the extended spiritual meditation ‘Centuries of Meditations’ by the 17th century poet, writer and mystic, Thomas Traherne, and is suitable particularly for baptisms. It is published by G.Ricordi & Co. [London] Ltd.
A Meditation reflects the composer’s particular attachment to the writing of the seventeenth-century mystic and writer, Thomas Traherne. Written in 1999 at the request of close friends for the baptism of their first child, this gentle and relatively homophonic anthem begins with the words ‘An empty book is like an infant’s soul, in which anything may be written’, and seeks to respond to this in its own terms with music of restrained intensity but also innocence. Here the composer has made particular efforts to echo a comparable quality in the ‘English’ sacred music of William Byrd. A Meditation requires momentary divisions in all four parts, but is nonetheless written predominantly for straightforward SATB forces.
Church Music Quarterly, 2005
O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song, Jesu the Very Thought of Thee, A Meditation
[These] balance homophony and polyphony in a manner reminiscent of the finest sixteenth century anthems but in an entirely contemporary language. The close imitations and springy rhythms of O Sing unto the Lord escape the tyranny of the barline without causing metrical difficulties for the singers. Response to the words is precise to the point of word-painting, as in the solemnity of ‘for he is come to judge the earth’ and the antiphony describing ‘a psalm of thanksgiving’. There is a similar sure touch of harmonic effect at ‘and in thy presence rest’ in Jesu, the Very Thought of Thee. – A Meditation selects perfectly appropriate words from Thomas Traherne for a service of baptism and sets them with sensitivity but without a trace of sentimentality.
Choir and Organ
First comes the word and here we have a composer who has an implicit understanding and love of the text, which manifests itself throughout his music. Judy Martin is a choral director who has a perfect understanding of this relationship. She draws from the mixed-voice choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, in beautifully expressive and finely honed performances. This elegant and individual music gains its own momentum as it builds toward each climax. Choral works include the Mass in five parts, Turn our Captivity, A Remembrance and O Lord, support us all the day long. The composer’s organ writing is represented by his stunning Introduction, Toccata and Fugue, which is given a first-rate performance by the cathedral’s young Australian organist Tristan Russcher. Highly Recommended.
The Times, May 2006
The music of Francis Pott is rapidly gaining attention for its silky lines and sensitivity. The items that give the album its title, Meditations and Remembrances, are settings of the 17th-century thinker Thomas Traherne. One senses Pott’s pleasure at painting the word “love” with such glowing warmth in A Meditation. He is well served by a beautifully tuned choir. The Osanna in the Five-Part Mass is light and crisp and Psalm 126 ends with the sort of melismatic Amen for which the Church was once reprimanded.