Jesu, the Very Thought
for SATB/SATB a cappellaforces: SATB Choir
published by: Ricordi
A performance of this work was issued in 1998 by the Schola Cantorum of Oxford under the direction of Mark Shepherd, on Guild GMCD 7139, This Worldes Joie. The disc includes works by Bax, Britten, Walton, Howells, Giles Swayne, Philip Moore, Bernard Rose and Mark Blatchly.
Jesu, the very thought of thee, written for the marriage of friends of the composer in 1990, is a densely-layered eight-part motet which seeks to harness something of the sensibility and organic technique of sixteenth century polyphony to a much wider range of harmony and tonality than that period allowed: aims, in fact, to discover the maximum potential of that fault line between the ‘vertical’ (harmonic) and the ‘horizontal’ (linear, melodic) which exercised Palestrina and others. The music moves unhurriedly to a passionate climax before subsiding to a hushed conclusion.
Church Music Quarterly, 2005
O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song, Jesu the Very Thought of Thee, A Meditation
[These works] 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.