The Sunday Times

Finnissy is always his own man, but This Church (2003) is idiosyncratic even by his standards. A 66-minute work for baritone, mezzo-soprano, two narrators, organ, choir and ensemble, it traces in close documentary detail the 900-year history of a Christian church: St Mary de Haura in New Shoreham, West Sussex. The text, derived not only from local records but from the writings of Defoe, Kierkegaard and others, is variously read, intoned and sung, and the work’s four parts are articulated by means of four overlapping musical cycles. The textures are always spare and the manner ritualistic, but the journey from “Kyng Edward the syxt” to the first world war is epic.

—Paul Driver