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In The Heart of Things: Choral Music of Francis Pott / Grace Davidson

Audio Samples

>Pott, Francis : Mass for 8 parts, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : Mary's Carol, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : A Hymn to the Virgin, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : I Sing of a Maiden, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : Ubi caritas, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : Balulalow, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : Lament, for chorus

Album Summary

>Pott, Francis : Mass for 8 parts, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : Mary's Carol, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : A Hymn to the Virgin, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : I Sing of a Maiden, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : Ubi caritas, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : Balulalow, for chorus
>Pott, Francis : Lament, for chorus
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Composer and pianist Francis Pott is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards. His dramatic and emotionally challenging music unites a distinctive personal voice with a versatile technique rooted in a keen awareness of the past. His Mass expands on tonal frames of reference from Byrd and Tallis, incorporating a poignant Agnus Dei written as a memorial to Dr Anabela Bravo. Mary's Carol and Lament are also tender commemorations, the latter for one of the quiet heroes of the Afghanistan conflict. These deeply expressive works give a distinctive modern voice to the timeless mysteries of human experience.

"As a supreme choral polyphonist Pott can build up an agitated climax with the best of them - but it is those melting moments of repose which are especially telling and memorable...Grace Davidson floats effortlessly above the Oxford-based choir, adding her seraphic poise to their perfect intonation...this is a powerful disc of important music." -Gramophone Magazine

MusicWeb International
This is a most distinguished disc. The singing of Commotio is consistently fine in every respect and Matthew Berry very obviously understands what is required to put over Francis Pott's music convincingly, clearly and with empathy. The performances have been recorded most sympathetically by Adrian Peacock and David Wright in the ideal acoustic of Merton College Chapel. The notes, by the composer himself, are extremely helpful.

Francis Pott is a significant composer and his choral music in consistently rewarding. Collectors who are already familiar with his music will certainly want to hear this disc, especially for the chance to experience his new mass setting. The disc offers an excellent opportunity for others to whom Pott's music may be new to sample it for themselves. Anyone thinking of acquiring this disc can be assured that it is a significant addition to the Naxos catalogue.

The Observer
Pott is one of today's most interesting choral composers, managing to make challenging, intricate music instantly accessible. Even on a cold, snowy night he can draw a crowd. Combine his work with the vocal dexterity of Commotio, one of our finest young choirs, and you know you can expect a programme of rare quality.

Conductor Matthew Berry's perfectly balanced ensemble has something that many choirs strive for but few achieve: the ability to sing quietly without losing pitch or tempo, most beautifully realised in Pott's Lament... Setting the sorrowful but consolatory words of Wilfrid Wilson Gibson ("We who are left, how shall we look again/Happily on the sun or feel the rain") it is graceful, dignified and heartbreaking. Commotio lapped up Pott's polyphonic Mass for Eight Parts, sailing through the tricky counterpoint of the Kyrie before savouring the thick textures of the Sanctus and its ecstatic, concluding Osanna.

Gramophone
For the most part this is demanding music, for both the performer and the listener, not superficial. Those patches of languid repose such as in the Benedictus and the intimacy of Balulalow are deeply moving.

Soprano soloist Grace Davidson floats effortlessly above the Oxford-based chamber choir Commotio, adding her seraphic poise to their perfect intonation. ... this is a powerful disc of important music.

BBC Music Magazine
[I Sing a Maiden is] a testing sing for the 31 voices of Matthew Berry's Commmotio, but there's a relaxed clarity in their performance bespeaking fine technique and excellent preparation.

American Record Guide, July / August 2012
The performances here are extraordinarily fine. Commotio, founded in 1999, is a chamber choir devoted mainly to performing lesser known works of the 20th and 21st Centuries. They have a straight English tone that is well suited to delineate intricate counterpoint and complex harmony without blurring.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011).



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Works Details

>Pott, Francis : Mass for 8 parts, for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 41 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 2011

>Pott, Francis : Mary's Carol, for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Christmas
  • Written: 2008

>Pott, Francis : A Hymn to the Virgin, for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Pott, Francis : I Sing of a Maiden, for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2000

>Pott, Francis : Mass for 8 parts, for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 41 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 2011

>Pott, Francis : Ubi caritas, for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2002

>Pott, Francis : Balulalow, for chorus
  • Performer: Grace Davidson (Soprano)
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 54 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2009

>Pott, Francis : Lament, for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2011

>Pott, Francis : Mass for 8 parts, for chorus
  • Conductor: Matthew Berry
  • Ensemble: Commotio
  • Notes: Chapel of Merton College, Oxford, England (07/15/2011-07/17/2011)
  • Running Time: 41 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 2011