Francis Pott: The Cloud of Unknowing – The Organ
This is a monumental work in two senses: firstly, it is on a large, oratorio scale; and secondly it is a memento or a challenging of a ‘mid-life ebbing of faith’ and the darker side of humanity, as well as the selfless sacrifice often made in times of war or other conflict. The composer writes poignantly and movingly about the genesis of the work. The close relationship with the Vasari Singers has also clearly influenced the creative process, the result being a superb piece of modern choral writing, both challenging and accessible at the same time. The interaction between the tenor soloist, the choir and the organ is especially effective, and helps to provide a momentum through the work. James Gilchrist is excellent, as is Jeremy Filsell, the whole being superbly directed by Jeremy Backhouse, who confirms his reputation with this recording. It would be inappropriate to single out any particular part of The Cloud, for the work stands as a whole. This is simply contemporary choral writing and performance of the highest order. I strongly recommend the CD and hope that we hear the work ‘in the flesh’ many times in the future.