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Gabriel Jackson (b.1962)

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Advent at Merton

Advent at Merton


 

Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming

arr. David Blackwell

Byrd:

Rorate coeli desuper (from Gradualia 1605)

Ecce virgo concipiet

Dubra:

O Radix Jesse

Ešenvalds:

O Emmanuel

Heiller:

Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen

Jackson, Gabriel:

O Clavis David

MacDowell:

O Oriens

MacMillan:

Advent Antiphon

Martin, M:

Ecce concipies

O Rex Gentium

Praetorius, M:

Hymnus in adventu domini (Alvus tumescit virginis)

Es ist ein Ros' entsprungen

arr. Jan Sandström

Skempton:

O Sapientia

Tavener:

O Adonai

Victoria:

Ave Maria

Weir:

Drop down, ye heavens, from above


The beginning of Advent is celebrated with a particular solemnity at Merton. For its second recording the college choir explores the musical riches that adorn this most special time in the church’s year, centring on a newly commissioned sequence of Magnificat antiphons from seven leading composers. Founded in 2008, the new Choir of Merton College, Oxford is led by newly appointed Organist and full-time Director of Music Benjamin Nicholas, and Reed Rubin Director of Music Peter Philips. The choir is rapidly emerging as a major force in collegiate choral music. The disc is recorded in the beautiful environs of Merton College Chapel, which has stood at the heart of the College as a place of worship for almost 750 years.

“The fresh, well-blended voices show vitality and drill, but the basses, in particular, bloom beautifully in James MacMillan's Advent Antiphon and John Tavener's O Adonai.” The Observer, 21st October 2012

“One of a handful of recordings that will stand head and shoulders above the flood of discs of music for the 2012 Christmas season” MusicWeb International, 31st October 2012

“At the heart of this Advent service is a set of seven antiphons specially commissioned from seven composers for Merton College chapel. They work splendidly as a sequence...Peter Phillips and Benjamin Nicholas elicit high levels of technical and expressive achievement from their student charges.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ****

“The most notable chapel choir offering [this Christmas]...All the music is radiant, all of it is unexpected, including a set of seven Advent antiphons commissioned by the chaplain...and comes from a choir that's gone from being a minor player in Oxbridge choral music to becoming one of the most exciting groups in its area” Gramophone Magazine, December 2012

“The singing is fresh and opulent, and delivered with a clarity and precision that sits pleasingly with the resonant ambience of the recordings.” The Scotsman, October 2012

“an absorbing programme including seven Advent Antiphons commissioned for the choir by the Revd Dr Simon Jones … The quality of the singing throughout is very high – this is an immensely accomplished and responsive mixed-voice choir … This disc is an impressive achievement in every way … Delphian’s recorded sound is beautiful.” International Record Review, December 2012

“The radiant young voices, sumptuous acoustics and quality items s should make for gripping listening all year round.” The Times, 14th December 2012

“This richly varied collection of mainly contemporary music for Advent, most of it directed by Nicholas, is exquisitely sung...a fine seasonal disc.” Sunday Times, 23rd December 2012

“a satisfyingly solemn, serious affair. Here, the Advent progression from hushed anticipation to bright, hopeful light is given extra weight by the varied choice of material sung...the mixture of settings ancient and modern succeeds beautifully...Lovely, in other words.” The Arts Desk, 22nd December 2012

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Delphian - DCD34122

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All The Ends Of The Earth

All The Ends Of The Earth

Contemporary & Medieval Vocal Music


anon.:

Kyrie eleison c. 1000

Vir perfecte 13th century

Gemma nitens 4th century

Stella maris 14th century

Mater ora filium 14th century

Campanis cum cymbalis 14th century

Dunstaple:

Quam pulchra es

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Finnissy:

Stabant autem iuxta crucem

Harvey, J:

O Jesu, Nomen Dulce

Holloway, R:

Sanctus

Agnus Dei (Missa Canonica)

Jackson, Gabriel:

Thomas, Jewel of Canterbury

Northcott:

Salve Regina

Alma Redemptoris Mater

Weeks:

Sint lumbi

Weir:

All the Ends of the Earth


“The vibrant relationship between contemporary sacred British choral music and the music of the medieval era' is what this disc sets out to celebrate, and Judith Weir's All the Ends of the Earth, the opening selection, vividly illustrates that particular symbiosis. ...an interesting programme, performed with a brightness of timbre and attack sometimes missing among fully professional exponents.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2006 ****

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Anthems for the 21st Century

Anthems for the 21st Century


Bignold:

Peace

Blackford:

On Another's Sorrow

Clucas:

Hear my crying, O God

Dove:

Bless the Lord, O my soul

Filsell:

Mysterium Christi

Jackson, Gabriel:

Now I have known, O Lord

MacMillan:

Chosen

Moore, P:

I saw Him

Rathbone, J:

Absolon, my Son

Swingle:

Give us this day

Todd:

Angel Song II


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A Year at York

A Year at York


Bairstow:

The Lamentation (as sung in York Minster)

Premiere recording

Blow:

Salvator Mundi

Bullock:

Give us the wings of faith

Carter, A:

The Magi

Premiere recording

Clucas:

A Prayer of Alcuin of York

Premiere recording

Comeau:

Audi coelum

Premiere recording

Dering:

Factum est silentium

Haynes:

O sacrum convivium

Premiere recording

Jackson, F:

Alleluia, laudate pueri Dominum

Jackson, Gabriel:

Justorum animae

Premiere recording

Joubert:

There Is No Rose

Moore, P:

Caedmon of Whitby’s First Hymn

Premiere recording

Naylor, E W:

Vox dicentis: Clama

Philips, P:

Ascendit Deus

Shephard:

Nunc Dimittis in A (In memoriam Lionel Dakers)

Premiere recording

Skempton:

Ave Virgo sanctissima

Stainer:

I saw the Lord

Stanford:

Evening Service in G, Op. 81: Magnificat

Tallis:

If ye love me

Taverner:

O Wilhelme, pastor bone


David Pipe (organ)

The Choir of York Minster, Robert Sharpe (director)

The first in a new series from Regent charting a musical journey through the church’s year at well-loved cathedrals.

This journey in music through a year at York Minster features a number of works written for the Choir of York Minster.

Several First recordings.

Featuring either the boy or the girl choristers, together with the Songmen.

Includes Charles Stanford’s Magnficat in G sung by Isabel Suckling (The Choirgirl).

“the men have a rich tone, almost operatic at times. This can occasionally overshadow York's chorister, whose sound has an attractive fragility....An auspicious start to what should prove a major collection of choral recording.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2012

“York offers a particularly rich crop of new and relatively recent music...Naylor's Vox dicentis...[is] given with confidence, firm tuning, clear diction and phrasing and even a little drama, the excellent of the performances masking just how difficult it can be to make this sort of music work well.” International Record Review, March 2012

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Carmina Celtica

Carmina Celtica


anon.:

Salve splendor

from the Inchcolm Antiphoner

Confessor Dei

from the Inchcolm Antiphoner

Green grow the rushes

harp solo

Brigit antiphons

Inviolata, integra et casta es, Maria

(W1 / St Andrews Music Book)

Through the wood laddie

harp solo

Beatus Gallus

plainchant

A solis occasu

plainchant

Sacrosanctam Kentegernus

from the Sprouston Breviary

Jackson, Gabriel:

Ubi flumen praesulis

MacMillan:

Os mutorum

McCarthy, J:

The Stars in their Courses

McGarr:

Flower Garland

McGlynn:

Lorica

Metcalf, Joanne:

O Shining Light

Moody, I:

O quam mirabilis

Rowe, Rebecca:

There is nothing brighter than the sun

Tavener:

Two Hadiths


Canty, Rebecca Tavener, with William Taylor (harp)

”The combination of voices and instruments is spellbinding.” Early Music Today

”Irresistibly attractive.” The Daily Telegraph

’Carmina Celtica’ features the world premiere of nine contemporary works commissioned over a decade by Canty, Scotland’s own Anonymous 4. The Ensemble blend contemporary works by Sir John Tavener and James MacMillan alongside haunting Medieval chant to create the unique and beautiful soundworld for which it is renowned.

Described by The Times as "among the very best creative talents of his generation", Sir John Tavener wrote Two Hadiths specially for Canty in 2007. Two Hadiths explores the sitar-like sonorities of the bray harp in meditative settings of the poetic sayings of the Prophet Mohammed.

James MacMillan is the pre-eminent Scottish composer of his generation. Commissioned for Canty in 2008, Os mutorum is both moving and expressive.

Ivan Moody has set the words of Hildegard of Bingen in his contribution O quam mirabilis. The Telegraph calls his music “powerfully expressive” and this 2006 work showcases the emotive power of female choral singing.

Michael McGlynn, in addition to directing successful Irish choir Anúna, is a "most accomplished contemporary choral composer” (All Music Guide). He describes Lorica as accentuating “the sonic purity of Canty and harkens back to an age of delicate vocal timbre and set, but fluid musical constraints".

Canty, Scotland’s only professional Medieval music group, was formed by Rebecca Tavener in 1998, the 900th anniversary of the birth of Hildegard of Binge. It comprises the regular female singers with Cappella Nova, Scotland’s leading early music vocal ensemble.

Canty’s individual and appealing sound has led to appearances on BBC television’s Songs of Praise and on Radio 3 plus numerous live performances including the Edinburgh Festival, Galway Early Music Festival, Spitalfields Festival, Edinburgh International Harp Festival and the National Centre for Early Music in York.

Through their acclaimed performances and recordings they have sought to re-address the balance in the early music revival that has largely overlooked works for female choir.

“Take four female voices versed in medieval music, record them in Edinburgh’s Greyfriars Kirk, and you have the recipe for an outstanding disc of ancient and contemporary spiritual songs, all recorded for the first time.” Financial Times, 28th August 2010 ****

“There's a genuine and honest attempt to integrate old and new elements here...What provides the recording with a very special dimension is the harp-playing of William Taylor” Gramophone Magazine, October 2010

“All [works] pick up on the distinctive resonance of Scots spirituality and the immaculate tuning and balance of the four female singers of Canty. William Taylor weaves harp interludes with atmospheric skill, even enhancing the plainchant. Ethereally beautiful.” The Observer, 5th September 2010

“The voices are pure, beautifully tuned and finely balanced even at the tightest, most radiant dissonances...Taylor's various harps have an honest, rustic appeal...Top-quality singing with the programme blurring the expected distinction between ancient and modern.” Classic FM Magazine, November 2010 ****

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Choral Evensong From Tewkesbury Abbey

Choral Evensong From Tewkesbury Abbey


Alcock, W G:

Psalm 91 'Whoso dwelleth under the defence of the Most High'

Howells:

Pieces (6): Master Tallis's Testament

Collegium Regale: Te Deum

Jackson, Gabriel:

Tewkesbury Service: Magnificat

premiere recording

Second Lesson (1 Corinthians 13)

Tewkesbury Service: Nunc Dimittis

premiere recording

Creed

Peterson, M:

Psalm 131

First Lesson (Isaiah 6: 1–8)

Statham, H:

Preces

Responses and Collects

Tallis:

Sancte Deus

Vaughan Williams:

Valiant for Truth

The day thou gavest (St Clement)

Vierne, L:

Toccata in B flat minor


Carleton Etherington (organ)

The Abbey School Choir, Tewkesbury, Benjamin Nicholas (director)

For 32 years the Abbey School Choir sang daily evensong in Tewkesbury Abbey and one of their final services was captured for posterity by Delphian. In this recording swansong, the choir offers a treasurable memento of a uniquely English Office; complete with lessons and prayers, this sumptuous tapestry of Anglican jewels also includes the first recording of Gabriel Jackson’s refulgent new setting of the Evening Canticles. Reborn as Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum, the choir was immediately signed by Delphian and has embarked on a series of much-lauded recordings.

“I've been consistently impressed by the work of Benjamin Nicholas and his Tewkesbury singers on the Delphian label ... the recorded sound is never short on detail thanks not least to the full-blooded singing of Tewkesbury's boy choristers and smart engineering. The choir's men are on top form too … compelling energy. Terrific choral listening.” Classic FM Magazine, April 2009

“Sung with real passion and conviction [Valiant for Truth] is, for me, the highlight of the disc. From time to time the organ pedal is apt to boom...but this does not detract from the splendid and generally well-balanced sound of the choir and the carefully chosen programme.” Gramophone Magazine, August 2010

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Delphian - DCD34019

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Don't Talk - Just Listen!

Don't Talk - Just Listen!


anon.:

20 Ways To improve Your Life

adpt Ian McMillan

Three Contrafacta

Fox, Christopher:

A Spousal Verse

Frye, W:

So ys emprentid

adpt Edward Wickham

Jackson, Gabriel:

The Armed Man

Te Deum

Pitts, A:

Thou knowest my lying down

Saxton:

Five Motets


This disc of world première recordings represents nearly 10 years of commissions by vocal ensemble The Clerks, best known for their pioneering recordings and reconstructions of early music. Written by some of the UK's leading composers, this disc demonstrates the versatility of the group - the compositions themselves are drawn from sources both ancient and modern, from 12th-Century organum to 21st-Century subway adverts!

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2010

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Signum - SIGCD174

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Even Such is Time

Even Such is Time


Berkeley, M:

Eight Motets

Chilcott:

Even Such is Time

Steal away

Jackson, Gabriel:

I look from afar

O sacrum convivum

Tomorrow go ye forth

Williamson, Magnus:

Missa Tertia


Voces Sacrae, Judy Martin (director)

“The nine voices of Voces Sacrae display consummate musicianship, sensitivity and technical control. Judy Martin avoids any temptation to turn these excellent singers into one of those slickly polished, exaggeratedly precise and oh-so-happy-to-be-singing groups with which British choral music seems to abound, but is content to concentrate on the music itself rather than choral virtuosity for its own sake. The result is a disc of real pleasure both in the quality of the singing and the programme which, perhaps surprisingly for such a small group, suits Voces Sacrae to a tee. For Magnus Williamson's beautifully taut Missa Tertia they are joined by the eight voices of the choir of St Mary Magdalen, Oxford, and while the added numbers produce an even warmer sound, there is no loss of the intimacy and immaculate ensemble which characterises the entire disc. David Lefeber's sympathetic recording further enhances what is already a wonderful sound. Three of these four living British composers have looked to mainland European models rather than domestic tradition in their religious choral music - Michael Berkeley acknowledges a 'harmonic gaze slightly in the direction of France' (all the composers have contributed their own commentary), Magnus Williamson's Mass has echoes of Frank Martin - although the restrained 'Hosanna in excelsis' which concludes the Benedictus and the climactic Agnus Dei give this work real originality - and, especially in his magical O sacrum convivium, Gabriel Jackson has veered more towards eastern Europe and Arvo Pärt than the more obvious example of Messiaen. Characteristically, Bob Chilcott, whether in the delicate setting of Walter Raleigh's Even such is time, the ethereal Love, a setting of words by Tennyson, or the vivid Steal away, originally written for the King's Singers, finds exactly the right style to match the texts; and Voces Sacrae serve him, and the others, with absolute conviction.” Gramophone Magazine

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Metier - MSVCD92035

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First Drop

First Drop


Andriessen, L:

Un beau baiser

Gordon, M:

He saw a skull

Jackson, Gabriel:

The Armed Man

Lang, D:

when we were children

Ortiz, P:

Five Motets

Reich:

Know What Is Above You

Clapping Music

Riley:

Mexico City Blues

Skempton:

Rise up, my Love

More sweet

Volans:

Walking Song


Conducted by Paul Hillier since 2003, Denmark’s Ars Nova Copenhagen has built an immovable reputation as one of the world’s most versatile and inventive vocal ensembles. First Drop is testament to that spirit; it’s a wide-ranging and ambitious project that interprets the choral work of some of the giants of contemporary classical music, including Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Louis Andriessen, Michael Gordon, David Lang and more.

“Almost all the works on this CD are first recordings,” Hillier explains, referring to one source of inspiration behind the title. “Ideally we wanted the idea of First Drop to remain ambiguous, but the diligent listener will sooner or later notice that it originates with Ralph Waldo Emerson.”

Recorded over a stretch of nearly ten years, in different locations and with different configurations of singers, the performances documented here still come across as parts of a seamless whole. From the haunting strains of Michael Gordon’s He Saw A Skull (composed specifically for the 12 voices of Ars Nova) to Hillier’s vocal arrangement of Steve Reich’s classic Clapping Music, First Drop channels a vernal energy that’s unparalleled in new vocal music

“their works sound remarkably fresh, thanks in no9 small part to Ars Nova’s refined naturalness of delivery…the soundworld is generally post-minimal – and the singing immaculate…the highlight in harmonic terms is Michael Gordon’s Talmud-inspired He saw a skull…a striking piece from a composer who merits wider attention” BBC Music Magazine, August 2017 ****

“Ars Nova Copenhagen is Denmark’s crack vocal group of 12 singers for whom this varied programme of contemporary choral music holds no fears. They rise to every challenge sent their way- and the results are breath-taking in their virtuosity and musicality.” Choir & Organ, September 2017 *****

“Hillier's collection is a true labour of love. It was recorded over the course of ten years and his advocacy and the commitment of this world-class ensemble do the project proud.” Classical Music, August 2017 *****

“As well as being a pleasure in itself, this disc makes an ideal sampler of new music being written for choirs…almost every piece is getting its first recording and there are some striking items among them, not least Howard Skempton’s sensual Rise up my love…performances by the 12-strong Ars Nova Copenhagen are first-rate.” Financial Times, 26th May 2017 ****

“A retrospect of Hillier’s years with his vocal group, this disc presents 11 contemporary works. Most impressive is Jackson’s L’Homme armé, an antiwar meditation deriving from a 15th-century song, and a harmonic triumph.” Sunday Times, 11th June 2017

“The 12 singers of Ars Nova are immaculate throughout.” The Observer, 2nd July 2017 ****

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Gabriel Jackson: Airplane Cantata

Gabriel Jackson: Airplane Cantata


Jackson, Gabriel:

The Voice of the Bard

Ruchill Linn

Airplane Cantata

Winter Heavens

Choral Symphony


Rex Lawson (pianola)

BBC Singers, David Hill & James Morgan

Gabriel Jackson talks to Presto's David Smith about Airplane Cantata here.

Gabriel Jackson was Associate Composer with the BBC Singers from 2010 to 2013 and this disc collects the very best of this unique collaboration between composer and professional choral ensemble. The central work 'Airplane Cantata', premiered by the Singers in 2011, is an evocative tribute to the pioneers of flight and aircraft design, combining texts from early newsreels and pilots' journals, and featuring renowned pianola player Rex Lawson.

It is one of the first full length pieces written especially for the pianola since the 1930s. Gabriel states that in writing this piece he satisfied his obsession with aviation: “…the technology, the bravery and daring of pilots, the aesthetic beauty of aircraft, the transcendence of flying – and when thinking about what a piece for voices and pianola might be about, I was very struck by the fact that the (brief) heyday of the pianola coincided with the pioneering years of aviation.” The variety of texts used includes eye-witness accounts by Louis Blériot and the musings of Amelia Earhart. The seven-movement work makes full use of the amazing keyboard dexterity possible with the pianola’s virtuosic resources and contains the instrumental Toccata Aeronautica, a staggering showpiece movement for pianola alone, giving full opportunity to show what it can achieve, but which a pianist, restricted to ten fingers, could not. World-renowned pianolist, Rex Lawson, prepared the piano rolls making use of a computer programme which translates staff notation into a machine to punch the rolls, which he devised himself. Rex is a leading exponent of the pianola and works tirelessly to promote this once hugely-popular, but now rather misunderstood instrument. Gabriel Jackson won his third British Composer Award for 'Airplane Cantata' in 2012; his Choral Symphony, also included here, was shortlisted in 2013. This disc follows in Signum's popular series of recordings showcasing the work of the BBC singers and their associate composers. Previous discs include works by Judith Bingham and Edward Cowie.

“Those who think of the pianola as merely an automaton may care to think again after hearing the extraordinary finesse of Rex Lawson’s performance … all the music recorded here, and the performances too, have both complexity and lightness, seriousness and humour, and this helps make the disk rewarding to listen to.” International Record Review, October 2014

“Whether Jackson uses this material as anything more than an excuse to put the singers through a series of daunting technical hoops is open to question; but, with such luminous diction and an enchanting collective buoyancy, the sound of the BBC Singers here is, in itself, something not to be missed.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2014

“Anyone wanting to test the state of contemporary choral music and its performance need look no further than this CD – it’s a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience.” Choir & Organ, November 2014

“The BBC Singers work their usual wonders in making anything you throw at them sound confident and fully assimilated...The performance, conducted by David Hill, is again wonderfully resourceful and committed.” BBC Music Magazine

“Throughout this exciting and demanding programme the BBC Singers perform with the virtuosity which we’re accustomed to hearing from them...Gabriel Jackson’s music receives splendid advocacy here and this disc will be a mandatory purchase for all his admirers” MusicWeb International, November 2014

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