The Welsh composer William Mathias (1934–1992) occupies a prominent position in the history of British organ music in the last third of the twentieth century. A non-organist without a Church of England background, he brought to the instrument a mind untrammelled by the Anglican organ-loft and a technique honed by the experience of composing for altogether different media. Although he wrote a number of large-scale organ works (one thinks in particular of the Partita, Op 19), he is perhaps best known among organists for those works of his, mostly postludes, that Oxford University Press included in their attractive albums of voluntaries. Published in 1986, much of Recessional
, Op 96 No 4, consists of pattering, quick-fire semiquavers accompanied by rhythmical chords, many of them sevenths. March-like passages with a tramping bass provide a contrast to these athletics, and from time to time there are nods in the direction of Stravinsky’s Petrushka
, especially near the end, where a bitonal cascade introduces the crashing final bars.
from notes by Relf Clark © 2009