A mixture of French influences—Vierne, Langlais, Alain, Messiaen—is a striking ‘Continental’ element in Mathias’s powerfully individual choral style, and this affirms itself in Let the people praise thee, O God
, an ebullient anthem composed as the Principality’s main musical contribution to the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. Even from student days, the young Mathias betrayed an unnervingly natural and instinctive rhythmic fluency and verve which one might justifiably compare to Britten’s. This exciting royal offering also illustrates to perfection the vital, often independent organ parts that uplift many of Mathias’s sacred and secular choral compositions. The tender passage for unbroken voices (with rocking accompaniment) midway through Let the people praise thee, O God
exemplifies both Mathias’s experience and his melodic gift for fashioning sustained passages from almost plainsong-like bare fragments; the simple beauty of his solo writing evident in numerous works (the Harp Concerto, for instance, or the Passacaglia of the Organ Concerto) emerges clearly here also.
from notes by Roderic Dunnett © 2009