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Jackson - Not no faceless Angel and other choral works
Polyphony’s recordings of contemporary choral music are among Hyperion’s perennial best-sellers and have introduced thousands of listeners to magical new worlds of sound. On this new disc for Hyperion, under their inspirational director, Stephen Layton, the composer Gabriel Jackson gets the Polyphony treatment. The result is a dazzling collection which will inspire and enchant the listener.
Gabriel Jackson’s uniquely appealing choral works have made him one of the most familiar names in the repertoire today. His liturgical pieces are in the repertoires of many of Britain’s leading cathedral and collegiate choirs and in 2003 he won the liturgical category at the inaugural British Composer Awards. His music is deeply attractive: meditative, contemplative, and unashamedly spiritual.
“full-blooded in sonority, ... emphatic and beefy bass sound” The Telegraph, 22nd June 2009 ****
“Not no faceless Angel', which takes a poem on bereavement as its basis. …is triumphantly holistic in its impact, with some soaring, ecstatic soprano writing particularly catching the ear, and a wistful, touchingly deployed harmonic scheme etching out the poem's poignant emotions. ...Salve regina 2, is quite different in style and character, with trill-like and nimbly arpeggiated effects built into the divided soprano writing, a more conservative use of harmony, and a predominantly bright, cheerful disposition. In this particular repertoire, it's difficult to imagine performances of greater distinction.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2009 *****
“There are many striking features of this ravishing disc, beautifully and imaginatively performed by Stephen Layton and Polyphony. There are hints here and there of Monteverdi, Stravinsky, Poulenc perhaps, yet I sense Jackson's profound affinity with English choral music from the time of the Eton Choirbook to the present.” Gramophone Magazine, Awards Issue 2009
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Gabriel Jackson: Sacred Choral Works I
World premiere recordings
Recorded in the presence of the composer.
The culmination of a four-year association between the choir of St Mary's Cathedral and British composer award-winner Gabriel Jackson, this disc presents nine world première recordings. Whether gentle and meditative, brilliantly exuberant, or soaring in ecstatic contemplation, Jackson's vividly communicative music is brought thrillingly to life by a choir at the peak of its powers.
The re-release of this recording coincides with the news that Jackson is to become the next Associate Composer to the BBC Singers.
“This disc will knock you out” Cathedral Music, November 2005
“Beautifully crafted music that allows this excellent choir full rein …Superlative performances, full of spirit but always secure and Sensitive, [and] the sound can only be described as luxurious” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005
“Owens fully understands the character of an Anglican cathedral choir while, for their part, the Edinburgh choristers respond with superlative performances, full of spirit and vigour, compelling in their enthusiasm but always secure and sensitive.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2005
“The children’s voices of the Scottish choir bring out the music’s innocence, as does the soft and attractively distant sound.” The Telegraph, 22nd June 2009 ***
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O Sacrum Convivium
Samuel Rathbone (organ)
The Choir of Royal Holloway, Rupert Gough
“Here is a choir of 23 young singers, fresh of tone and fresh of mind, careful and accurate over their notes yet giving the impression that it all comes naturally.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2008
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Even Such is Time
“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
(also available to download from $10.50)
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Easter At Canterbury
Choir Of Canterbury Cathedral, David Flood
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