WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Jackson: Sacred Choral Works / Owens, Choir Of St. Mary's


Release Date: 12/27/2005 
Label:  Delphian   Catalog #: 34027   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gabriel JacksonMatthew Owens
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edinburgh St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 10 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $21.98
CD:  $19.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

At age 43, British composer Gabriel Jackson is hardly a newcomer to the music scene, but you could say that for most listeners his music will be a relatively recent discovery--in fact, most of the works included here were written in the past five years. Happily, his style, while distinctive, is very singable--and not inconsequentially, very easily listenable. While there are lots of close harmonies and irregular phrases and rhythms, set to the natural accents and inflections of the texts, these are not gimmmicks, nor are they the inelegantly overworked devices of a lazy or creatively destitute composer such as John Tavener. Yes, the structures and textural fabric of most of these works bear the marks of simplicity and clarity that many of Read more today's more illustrious composers strive for--Tavener (who merely draws attention to himself) and Pärt (who brilliantly succeeds in conveying humility and reverence)--but Jackson makes his own statements, often with the stunning boldness of vibrant harmonies and powerful dynamics, but also with sincere, quiet tenderness. Jackson has figured out how to use such effects as clusters and other dissonant chords as defining character aspects in a larger tonal context without sounding calculated or redundant or we've-heard-that-before boring.


It wouldn't be going too far to describe the earliest work on this program--the O Sacrum Convivium from 1990--as a masterpiece; its expressive power is bound in its directness, its basic respect for and understanding of the vivid impact of tonal harmony and richly colored textural effects. If you're a singer, you want to sing it; if you're a listener, you want to hear it again. What more could you ask for as a composer? Indeed, what more could we wish for as listeners than a contemporary composer who writes challenging, thoughtful, yet accessible music?


The only disappointment here is the meandering, endless Psalm 112: Laudate Pueri for soprano and organ, whose substantial 10-minute length is not supported by equally compelling music. It doesn't help that soloist Susan Hamilton seems less than inspired, or that her uninviting soprano is as technically all-over-the-place as the music itself. But the choral singing everywhere else is tonally wonderful and technically solid and completely in command of Jackson's well-conceived and often-suprisingly communicative style. This Choir of St. Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh is really outstanding. The treble soloist Katy Thomson, who sings the Scots dialect in Ane Sang of the Birth of Christ, is a joy to hear, and the Britten-esque organ filigrees in the same work are delightful touches. The Mass, especially the Agnus Dei, is a gem, and even the Responses exhibit a refreshing view of these oft-interpreted texts. If you're at all interested in contemporary choral music, you shouldn't miss this--and once heard, it certainly will whet your interest in future projects by this unique and genuinely talented composer.
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Edinburgh Mass by Gabriel Jackson
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edinburgh St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
2.
Creator of the Stars of Night by Matthew Owens
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edinburgh St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
3.
A Prayer of King Henry VI by Gabriel Jackson
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edinburgh St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Laudate pueri by Gabriel Jackson
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edinburgh St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
5.
Magnificat and Nunc dimittis by Gabriel Jackson
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edinburgh St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 
6.
Salve Regina by Gabriel Jackson
Conductor:  Matthew Owens
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Edinburgh St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral Choir
Period: 20th Century 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In