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Gabriel Jackson: A ship with unfurled sails
& other works
The State Choir Latvija, Maris Sirmais
The Latvian choral tradition is admired worldwide, and the nation’s composers for these forces are writing overwhelmingly spiritual music—perhaps a reaction to the suppression of that material by the Soviets. But here the Latvian State Choir do the honour of turning to a British composer—albeit one who has immersed himself in the contemporary Baltic sound-world. Gabriel Jackson’s sumptuous choral textures and beautiful, yet individual, harmonic language respond thrillingly to the Latvian treatment.
“It's easy enough injecting an element of fervour into choral singing, harder to do so without sacrificing technical accuracy...the State Choir Latvija manages both a bristling ardour in its delivery of the text and a virtuoso response to the vocal demands of the setting...An incandescent performance of the 40-part motet Sanctum est verum lumen sets the seal on this magnificent demonstration of the art of choral singing.” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 *****
“all the music is full of interest and is written with what we’ve come to expect from this composer; namely a highly imaginative ear for choral texture, great empathy for the human voice and tremendous responsiveness to texts. It’s hard - nay, impossible - to imagine these pieces receiving finer advocacy than they receive from the superb Latvian choir, who give one of the most memorable exhibitions of unaccompanied choral singing that I’ve heard for some time.” MusicWeb International, January 2013
“Unquestionably the State Choir Latvia is a magnificent body of singers. They encompass a vast dynamic range and deliver words and music with impeccable precision and clarity...Most of this music was, however, conceived for rather smaller and more discreet vocal forces, and often there is a sense of its being overwhelmed by the sheer weight of the choral sound.” Gramophone Magazine, March 2013
BBC Music Magazine
Choral & Song Choice - February 2013
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Sanctum Est Verum Lumen
Multi-Part Music for Choir
Tallis's monumental Spem in alium is one of the greatest glories of Western polyphony, and its preechoes and aftershocks reverberate through all the other pieces on this disc.The massed voices of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, in their 25th anniversary year, dazzle in this programme of choral jewels from the 15th and 16th centuries, interspersed with virtuoso tributes from three leading contemporary composers, including Gabriel Jackson's own 40-part motet.
“…though, this is a disc of stunning music beautifully performed.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2009 ****
“Sanctum est verum lumen… comes across as an astonishing tour de force, the strands of musical texture cascading through this cast choir with glorious luminosity. These young singers take the work to heart and beyond the almost incredible choral discipline and uniformity of tone that Brewer produces from well over 200 individual voices, there is a real sense of enthusiasm which never intrudes into the technical security of the performance but adds a lovely lustre to Delphian's luxuriant recording. It is... unusual to hear Spem in alium performed with... between five and six voiced per part. ...if one is prepared to put thoughts of authenticity aside, the results are spine-tinglingly spectacular.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2009
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