Anthem for SATB choir (with divisions) and organforces: SATB Choir, Organ
published by: Composer
This work is featured on a Signum worldwide release of choral and solo organ music by Francis Pott [SIGCD 080, issued in 2006] performed by the choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, under its Director of Music, Judy Martin, with Tristan Russcher, organ. The opening passage of A Remembrance may be heard here:
This is one of two works commissioned simultaneously by the Dean & Chapter of Guildford Cathedral for the 40th anniversary of its foundation. The other is An Invocation, to words by Gerard Manley Hopkins.
No Christian writer articulates as poignantly as Traherne that sense of Christian faith’s journey from cradle to grave and of a spiritual innocence kept pristine my mystical, grateful and often retrospective intimations of a kindly shaping providence. Following Gerald Finzi’s wise example, I returned to Traherne’s Centuries of Meditations in search of something expressive of a particular place dedicated to and beloved of God, such as T.S.Eliot evokes in a much-quoted phrase from his Four Quartets: ‘You are here to kneel / Where prayer has been valid’. Traherne did not disappoint, though the text here is collated from a number of disparate points in the Centuries. The music seeks to preserve the sense of a quiet meditative centre despite a few expansive moments, and to maintain some consistency in its deployment of polyphonic vocal freedom against an organ part which remains, so to speak, both discreet and discrete.
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.