Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

REVIEW
RECORDING OF THE MONTH



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads

Francis POTT (b. 1957)
In The Heart Of Things
Mass for eight parts (2011) [42.31]
Mary’s carol (2008) [4.51]
A Hymn to the Virgin (2002) [4.54]
I sing of a maiden (2000) [4.12]
Ubi caritas (2002) [3.13]
Balulalow (2009) [2.55]
Lament (2011) [4.23]
Grace Davidson (soprano)
Commotio/Matthew Berry rec. Merton College Chapel, Oxford, 15-17 July 2011
NAXOS 8.572739 [66.58]

Experience Classicsonline

The music of Francis Pott is becoming increasingly better known, and rightly so. As a composer of church music he is more reflective and less ‘commercial’ than (say) John Rutter or Howard Goodall, without going too far in the other direction and becoming unapproachable. Indeed much of his choral writing owes a great deal to the English masters of the romantic part-song. One is reminded here more than once of the other-worldly effects of ecstasy achieved by Delius in On Craig Ddu. Like Holst, one suspects that Pott is quite difficult to sing; but again like Holst, it all sounds quite natural and effortless when the performers are up to the task. And these performers most certainly are.
 
The main work on this disc is the Mass for eight parts which is a worthy successor not so much to Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G minor - it is more contrapuntally complex than that miniature masterpiece - as to Bernard Stevens’s beautiful Mass four double choir. There is the same sense of continuity with the old Tudor masters and the sheer delight in the interweaving of vocal lines. The singers convey the appropriate other-worldly sound without any sense of strain or effort. The heavenly acoustic of Merton College - surely a better recording space than King’s in Cambridge? - adds a halo of echo to the voices.
 
Pott certainly believes in challenging his predecessors; three of the settings on this disc come into direct competition with well-established pieces by Britten. A hymn to the Virgin was one of Britten’s earliest works, delightful music written when the composer was still a teenager; its use of echo effects looks back through Vaughan Williams’s Tallis Fantasia to the Tudor polyphonists. Pott’s setting does not have the same simplicity as Britten, but it responds beautifully to the text. His Balulalow comes into competition not just with Britten but with Warlock’s beautiful setting; all three use solo voices in conjunction with the choir. Grace Davidson here takes the palm for sheer beauty of voice which convinces one that this setting is fully the equal of its predecessors. In I sing of a maiden Pott actually surpasses Britten in the aptness of his response to the text; Britten’s hasty patter carol overlooks the essential element of stillness described in the original words. Incidentally the poem of Balulalow is attributed here to the Wedderburn brothers (c.1567). The Oxford Book of Carols describes it as an extract from a translation from Luther’s 1535 Vom Himmel hoch; but the clearly mediaeval vocabulary would seem to place the text a good century before the Elizabethan era – perhaps an earlier lyric was incorporated into the Wedderburns’ translation?
 
Mary’s Carol is set to a modern text and need fear no comparisons with any previous settings by other composers. It is a lovely little poem and Pott’s setting, if a little contrapuntally elaborate, responds well to the words. His setting of Ubi caritas is more straightforward and very beautiful indeed.
 
The whole disc is named after a line from Pott’s setting of Wilfrid Wilson Gibson’s Lament, an overwhelmingly anguished response to death in war: “But we, how shall we turn to little things…nor feel the heart-break in the heart of things?” It was written in memory of a soldier killed in Afghanistan whose family was known to the composer. There is a real emotional charge in the music, and Pott’s setting of the final line is truly heart-breaking. But, but … this brings me to my one criticism of this otherwise superlative disc. The dying fall at the end of the Lament is suddenly and too soon interrupted by the final section of the Mass. The mass setting is not given as one whole piece - despite the recurrent material from movement to movement - but in three segments dispersed through the length of the CD. There is no explanation for this dismemberment of the score, nor is there any indication that the other items are to be regarded as interpolations into the body of the mass to make a more substantial composite work; the dates of composition extend over ten years. I cannot help but feel that this arrangement is a mistake, and the disc would have been made better as a whole if the closing line of the Lament were left to die away into silence. This can always be corrected by re-programming the tracks.
 
The singing throughout, by both soloist and choir, is absolutely impeccable. This is a most beautiful disc of some absolutely beautiful music.
 
Paul Corfield Godfrey

also see the review by John Quinn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.