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Pott: The Cloud Of Unknowing / Gilchrist, Filsell, Backhouse

Release Date: 11/27/2007 
Label:  Signum Classics   Catalog #: 105   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Francis Pott
Performer:  Daniel BurgesJames GilchristJeremy Filsell
Conductor:  Jeremy Backhouse
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vasari Singers
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 29 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


"Francis Pott, in his acclaimed commission for the Vasari Singers' silver jubilee, provides a 21st-century take on the dark soul of humanity ... Pott's monumental, eloquent take on senseless violence and shameful hypocrisy offers a shield to the spirit against those who would destroy it. Unmissable" -- Classic FM Magazine

"Both technically and emotionally the work is dauntingly demanding, but the Vasaris respond unflinchingly... It's a long part and constantly taxing but James Gilchrist delivers it with huge distinction" -- Muso Magazine

"Words become clear and telling, and in an atmosphere of gentle supplication the agony and the anguish of a conflict torn world
Read more are revealed ... James Gilchrist proves a tower of strength, pouring his very soul into it and weighting and colouring each phrase with loving care. The Vasari Singers acquit themselves more than honourably, surmounting both the complexity of the task and its length ... the acoustic (Tonbridge School Chapel) is generous allowing the final passages to fade into a radiance of other-worldly ecstasy which would have done justice to Gounod" -- Musical Pointers

"This disc seems likely to prove an apotheosis among apotheoses for Vasari, such is the prodigious care with which they tackle Pott's passionate and apocryphal - or should that be apocalyptic? - masterpiece ... Pott's juxtaposition of Biblical fragments with texts by William Blake and Odysseus Elytis emerges as an entirely wholesome libretto, and the choir manages to clasp the image throughout, with Jeremy Filsell's organ-playing sealing the textures with unshakable sensitivity ... it is the calculated exploitation of that most indispensable of musical building blocks - absolute silence - that fixes these choral and solo events together so utterly convincingly" -- International Record Review

"I wholeheartedly recommend this recording of The Cloud of Unknowing, an interesting and powerful response to the wars and atrocities of the past five years ... I was immediately won over by his 80 minute work. The drama this challenging piece demands is captured by the brilliance of the choir's performance ... The emotion is perceptively displayed without any sentimentalism by the superb Vasari Singers ... A riveting and outstanding performance and excellent recording" -- Organists Review

"There are interesting juxtapositions of meaning and themes, portraying internal and external troubles of the spirit and soul ... the performances are all as terrific as one has come to expect from the Vasari Singers and their collaborators. Jeremy Backhouse battles valiantly with the size of the piece, channelling the massive forces in the right direction, while James Gilchrist is a committed and lyrical tenor soloist ... The choir itself gives a superlative performance, evoking the best of the English oratorio tradition in their vigorous and uplifting singing" -- Musical Criticism.com

" ... that this eloquent new piece is a work of great importance and one that not only stands firmly in the proud tradition of English choral music but that also carries that tradition forward and enriches it ... The virtuoso organ part is played by Jeremy Filsell in a manner that is beyond praise" -- MusicWeb International Recordings of the Year 2007

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Works on This Recording

The Cloud of Unknowing by Francis Pott
Performer:  Daniel Burges (Tenor), James Gilchrist (Tenor), Jeremy Filsell (Organ)
Conductor:  Jeremy Backhouse
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vasari Singers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2006; England 
Date of Recording: 2/2007 
Venue:  Tonbridge School, Kent, England 
Length: 88 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Tonbridge School, Kent, England (02/16/2007 - 02/18/2007)
Composition written: England (2004 - 2005). 

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