Toccata for organ

Pott, Francis ORCID: (2000) Toccata for organ. [Composition]

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10-minute solo work suitable for recital use or as a concluding voluntary on festive occasions in the Church year.

Composer's programme note:

The Toccata originated as a very much shorter piece, written –it must be admitted –under some duresse for a wedding (and a very limited instrument). Only a year earlier I had completed the Passion Symphony Christus for organ solo, which plays for over two hours, and it had therefore seemed reasonable to assume that I had said my piece in terms of the organ for some time to come. However, later freedom from the constraints of the wedding organ caused the ‘embryo’ toccata to take on a more willing life of its own, resulting eventually in the present, much expanded work, which perhaps understandably revisits some of the rhythmic features of Christus but generally lends them a more straightforward air of optimism.

The Toccata opens with a broad introduction consisting of a declamatory statement followed by a quieter passage. The dynamic level suddenly escalates to launch the toccata ‘proper’ (originally the opening of the piece). A rhapsodic exposition, making much use of irregular or ‘additive’ rhythms, leads to a more melodious secondary subject which shares its material with the introduction. Subsequent free development leads through a series of rhythmic paragraphs, sometimes punctuated by brief silences, to an energetic recapitulation. The second subject is heard again in the pedal part beneath fairly conventional toccata figuration before a headlong coda. Despite a mildly idiosyncratic approach to tonality and chromatic harmony, the style allows the listener to feel B minor as the prevailing tonic key in the toccata ‘proper’. However, the conclusion reveals the introduction’s hints of competing F sharp to have been significant, and the piece ends on an unequivocal chord of F sharp major, like its more imposing cousin, Christus.

In its definitive form the Toccata received its first London performance from Gerard Brooks, and has been played widely since in the U.K., the U.S.A., Germany, Scandinavia and the Czech Republic by Jeremy Filsell, Graham Barber, Robert Quinney, Matthew Martin, James O'Donnell and a number of other distinguished organists.

© Francis Pott 2001.

Item Type: Composition
Additional Information: Public performance details since 2009 (equally many performances annually prior to that year): Toccata for organ [1991] 25 April 2009 Robert Quinney St Peter's Church, St Albans 09 May 2009 Andrew Dewar Stadtkirche, Aalen, Germany [YouTube] 16 July 2009 Robert Quinney Lichfield Cathedral, Lichfield Festival 21 July 2009 Robert Quinney Westminster Abbey Summer Organ Festival 16 May 2010 London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, St Pancras Church 18 August 2010 Matthew Martin Durham Cathedral 22 September 2010 Matthew Martin Westminster Cathedral 19 July 2011 James O'Donnell Westminster Abbey 3 October 2011 Matthew Martin Brompton Oratory, London 29 October 2011 Simon Hogan Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, London 17 January 2012 James O'Donnell St David's Hall, Cardiff 4 February 2012 Matthew Martin King's College, Cambridge 29 February 2012 David Dunnett Norwich Cathedral 30 March 2012 Simon Hogan St Paul's Cathedral, London 10 March 2013 James O'Donnell Walt Disney Concert Hall, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, USA 24 August 2013 Hanne Kuhlmann Vor Frue Kirke, Denmark [YouTube preview] 13 May 2014 Nicholas Morris London Festival of Contemporary Church Music 24 May 2014 James O'Donnell Merton College Organ Festival, Oxford 13 July 2014 Nicholas Morris Ely Cathedral 20 July 2014 Matthew Martin Uppsala Cathedral, Sweden 16 September 2014 Nicholas Morris St Salvator's Chapel, University of St Andrews, Scotland 14 November 2014 Matthew Martin Merton College, Oxford 17 May 2015 Simon Hogan St Paul's Cathedral, London (evensong voluntary) 17 May 2015 Leon Charles London Festival of Contemporary Church Music 06 November 2015 Matthew Martin Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Florida, USA Andrew Dewar: Matthew Martin: Hanne Kuhlmann: [extract and recital preview]
Subjects: Music
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Francis POTT
Date Deposited: 05 May 2016 15:02
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:20


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