An Innovative Composer
“Not a household name here, although perhaps becoming one in the UK, he had proved his prowess [in this concert, already,] in the opening Widor. He studied with David Briggs and Naji Hakim (who has also performed at Holy Cross), held noteworthy positions in Chester and Bristol, and recorded on the Priory label; his biography of Pierre Cochereau was published recently, by the University of Rochester Press. And now we heard him as a composer.
Those who might have anticipated something avant-garde from this little-known composer were quickly put at ease. Hammond’s style is rather conservatively “modern Romantic” or as one of the audience later put it—not unkindly—“rather Duruflé, with a touch of Elgar.” Be that as it may, Hammond knows his idiom, and writes tightly in it. Following classic French format, the excellent small choir, at the front of the room, sang his pleasing and concise chant-based choral settings of the familiar texts, directed by Abbott, who also unobtrusively accompanied them on a digital instrument passing for what in France would have been an orgue du choeur. In between each, the gallery organ, played by the composer, broke in powerfully with interludes in improvisatory style, illustrating the mood of the texts, and one of the more impressive of these featuring roulades running cleanly up and down the keyboard. Despite the distance between the two participants, they were perfectly in synch all the way through, pulling off a virtuosic performance of this demanding new work, fully deserving of the ovation. This is a work that will be heard again in other places.”A review of the premiere US performance of the Messe Solennelle in D, for Choir and Two Organs, by Hammond, at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, USA.
The following list gives an outline of some of his most recent work:
- No Alleluias: A Requiem for 2020 — commissioned by Just Festival 2021 (part of the Edinburgh Fringe)
- Scherzo Symphonique: In memoriam Pierre Cochereau (solo organ) – commissioned by Lancaster Cathedral
- Messe Solennelle (pour choeur et deux orgues) – for Leo Abbott and the choir of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, MA
- The Reproaches (unaccompanied chorus) – for the choir of Cirencester Parish Church
- Three Christmas Carols (unaccompanied chorus) – for Richard Gabe and CanZona Chamber Choir
- Various carols and anthems for choir and organ
Anyone interested in commissioning a work or purchasing any of his compositions should contact Anthony here, and he will be delighted to discuss options.