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Philip Barnes
Choral Journal, September 2013

This disc…is sung with conviction and accuracy throughout by the young Oxford-based choir, Commotio…The top lines are bright and young, with strong support from some older men’s voices, and the performances have been well produced by Adrian Peacock, himself a veteran of numerous British choral ensembles.

Happily, the selections on this new Naxos disc are written more tautly, which makes for compelling listening. Such terrific writing, expressive singing, and illuminating CD notes (by the composer himself) make this disc an absolute “must have.” It deserves to be played again and again… © 2013 Choral Journal



Robert R. Reilly
Crisis Magazine, August 2012

It includes a Mass for 8 Parts, Ubi Caritas, A Hymn to the Virgin, and other choral works, performed exquisitely by Commotio, under Matthew Berry. Of Thomas Tallis’s sixteenth-century contrapuntal masterpiece, Spem in Alium, Pott writes, “the surface effect unashamedly seeks to capture and bottle eternity, mastering literal time to become spiritually timeless.” This is what he tries to do, and achieves in these precious pieces. The CD also contains a touching setting of I Sing of Maiden…If you are moved by the music of Morten Lauridsen, you should try this. © 2012 Crisis Magazine Read complete review




Paul Corfield Godfrey
MusicWeb International, April 2012

The main work on this disc is the Mass for eight parts…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.

Pott certainly believes in challenging his predecessors; three of the settings on this disc come into direct competition with well-established pieces by Britten. 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 tex…

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…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…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.

The singing throughout, by both soloist and choir, is absolutely impeccable. This is a most beautiful disc of some absolutely beautiful music. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Terry Blain
BBC Music Magazine, April 2012

Of the other four movements from the Mass for Eight Parts, the tender Benedictus, with a pristine soprano contribution from Grace Davidson, is the most striking.

I Sing of a Maiden retains an overall lightness of compositional touch…with complex part-splintering as the music climaxes. It’s a testing song for the 31 voices of Matthew Berry’s Commotion, but there’s a relaxed clarity in their performance bespeaking fine technique and excellent preparation.

A Hymn to the Virgin references Britten’s setting and, like so many of the pieces on this disc, intriguingly blurs the distinction between contrapuntal development and fresh melodic invention. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine



John Quinn
MusicWeb International, March 2012

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. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Malcolm Riley
Gramophone, February 2012

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. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone






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1:24:04 AM, 11 July 2014
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