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Music by Gabriel Jackson
Truro Cathedral Choir
Joel Garthwaite saxophone, Luke Bond organ
Christopher Gray director
One of Britain’s foremost and most celebrated composers, Gabriel Jackson, joins with the critically-acclaimed Choir of Truro Cathedral, under its inspiring director, Christopher Gray, and saxophonist, Joel Garthwaite, to present a collection recent works for choir, saxophone, and organ. Fourteen pieces are receiving first recordings, including the opening work ‘Vox clara ecce intonat’, commissioned by St John’s College, Cambridge, in 2013, and other works written for the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.
Seven new works were specifically written for Christopher Gray and the Truro Cathedral Choir, including That wind blowing and that tide for treble voices, saxophone, and organ, the result of a day’s workshop with Gabriel Jackson and the Cathedral choristers, and incorporating their musical ideas.
The Advent Antiphon setting O Clavis David was commissioned by Merton College, Oxford, in 2012. Christopher Gray subsequently asked Gabriel Jackson to compose settings of the remaining six ‘Great O’ antiphons of Advent for the Truro Cathedral Choir. The complete cycle of seven unaccompanied Antiphons were first performed at The Advent Service in Truro Cathedral in December 2014.
Other new works include a beautiful composition for saxophone and organ, dedicated to saxophonist, Joel Garthwaite and his wife Vicky on the occasion of their marriage, and a Chorale Prelude for solo organ, composed for William Whitehead’s Orgelbüchlein Project. The disc also includes several earlier commisions for Truro Cathedral Choir: the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis of 2001, and the Missa Triueriensus (‘Truro Mass’) of 2005, and Cantate Domino written for the Truro 125 celebrations in 2013.
Gabriel Jackson was born in Bermuda in 1962. After three years as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral, he went on to study composition with Richard Blackford and with John Lambert at the Royal College of Music.
Particularly acclaimed for his choral works, his liturgical pieces are in the repertoires of most of Britain’s cathedral and collegiate choirs and he is a frequent collaborator with the leading professional groups of the world. His music is regularly performed, recorded and broadcast throughout Europe and the USA.
In 2003 Jackson won the liturgical prize at the inaugural British Composer Awards with O Doctor optime, and won two further prizes in the choral category with The Spacious Firmament in 2009 and Airplane Cantata in 2012. From 2010 to 2013 he was Associate Composer to the BBC Singers, producing a series of substantial pieces for the group.
‡ first recordings
Joel Garthwaite saxophone*
Luke Bond organ†
Total playing time 75:16
Recorded in Truro Cathedral 5–8 May 2015
Producer and engineer: Gary Cole
Editing by Steve Swinden and Gary Cole
Sample audio extracts
‘this glorious release is unbeatable.’ Gramophone Editor’s Choice, November 2016
‘His music can – in an instant – switch from richly layered ecstasy to direct, hushed intimacy…heart-stoppingly gorgeous…’
‘..imaginatively scored and expressive choral music, here performed compellingly by the Truro choir’ BBC Music November 2016
‘…The Wind Blowing and That Tide, a deeply touching setting of Rudyard Kipling’s poem My Boy Jack, was the result of this unique collaboration, recorded here for the first time, along with other work for Truro’s exceptionally fine choir, including a stunning set of Advent Antiphons and a wonderfully lithe and sinuous Cantate Domino. Joel Garthwaite (saxophone) and Luke Bond (organ) sprinkle stardust over everything they play.’ The Observer August 13th 2016
‘Jackson’s work, with its allusions to Orthodox music, to the euphony (but not the prolixity) of Tavener and to Tudor manners, has an irresistible allure. Not a note is superfluous, the formal shaping is always elegant, and it’s always written with the performers first in mind. In this selection of sacred pieces, Truro’s fine singers engage touchingly with this creative generosity.’ Sunday Times 10 July 2016
‘…a distinct collection, most of it written for the finely trained Truro Cathedral Choir who accomplish everything asked of them with consummate ease.’ ***** Choir & Organ September 2016
‘The singing is uniformly excellent and the trebles are commendable for both their clear, passionate rendering of the text and their ability to sing long, sustained lines.’ American Choral Journal October 2017
‘Move over Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble! The first thing one hears on this CD is a saxophone with unaccompanied choir: one of four pieces with sax. The blend is spellbinding. Gabriel Jackson’s writing is challenging yet lyrical and approachable; the Truro choir seems to relish his lush harmonies too. Five of seven works written especially for the choir are on this CD;’ Church Music Quarterly December 16
‘The disc is full of imaginatively crafted music which gives further evidence of why Gabriel Jackson is so highly regarded as a choral composer. The music is challenging to sing, I’m sure, but as is his wont no outrageous, unmusical demands are made on the singers. Furthermore in each piece the music seems to constitute an unerring response to the chosen text. The singing of the Truro Cathedral choir is uniformly excellent. I’ve heard several of their previous discs and never been disappointed but this latest one is as fine as any I’ve heard from them.
The recorded sound is very good indeed and the documentation, which includes valuable notes by the composer, is comprehensive.’ John Quinn, MusicWEb July 2016