Music for Remembrance Sunday

Processional – William Mathias (1934-1992)

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Welsh composer William Mathias was once aptly described as ‘one of the most versatile musical minds of his generation’. He was one of the most communicative of contemporary composers and his warmly gregarious personality was somehow embodied in his celebratory style. Never one to believe in the arcane ivory tower of modern music he sought clarity of expression above all else and wanted his work to be useful and meaningful.

Processional, this Sunday’s organ postlude in church, was dedicated to Mathias’s friend, publisher and editor Christopher Morris. It is an effervescent, outrageously flamboyant piece. At just three minutes, it has a rhythmic fire and is intricate, at times meditative, and almost obtusely cross-rhythmed. Bustling with cheerful positivity throughout, its rondo-like structure is clarified by the memorability of its abundant melodies. The harmony is modal to begin with, but moves from this deliberately archaic sound to more piquant and modern colours, building to a triumphant conclusion.

Gerald Harder