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Seven Advent Antiphons


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Gabriel Jackson was born in Bermuda. After three years as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral he studied composition at the Royal College of Music. Jackson's music has been commissioned, performed and broadcast worldwide, and his works have been presented at many festivals including Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Spitalfields, and the BBC Proms. His liturgical pieces are in the repertoires of many of Britain's cathedral and collegiate choirs, and his choral works in general have been recorded by some of the world's leading choirs including Polyphony, The Vasari Singers, The State Choir of Latvia, and Merton College Choir, Oxford. He is currently the Associate Composer to the BBC Singers, who have premiered and broadcast a number of recent commissions. Over recent years Jackson's music has been equally focussed on instrumental works. Commissions include works for organist Michael Bonaventure, Red Note Ensemble, and the Lunar Sax Quartet.


While these seven short settings could be sung consecutively in a concert (the keys'modes being nicely varied and balanced), they could also be deployed in services such as those with the popular Advent Sequence structure, broken up by readings. Most of the movements are for full choir, often contrasting monody and thick chords in Jackson's familiar manner; there is also a movement for tenors and basses only, and another for sopranos and altos. Other textural variety is provided by solo lines and occasional spoken words. * Geoffrey Webber, Choir & Organ, Sept 2016 *
After an attractively polyphonic 'O Sapientia', there is a pairing of first low and then high voices. The low voices in 'O Adonai' are quite and intense, whilst the high voices bring an intimacy and clarity to 'O Radix Jesse'. 'O Claves David' is the existing one, brilliant and vivid with a quietly contrasting middle section. 'O Oriens' opens with another highly brilliant passage with the choristers almost ulullating, and Jackson contrasts this with quieter, more unison passages. 'O Rex Gentium' is far more intense, with a lyrical treble solo. Finally 'O Emmanuel' brings things to conclusion, with a lyrical unison decorated chant-like melody which develops into a radiant conclusion. Throughout the seven pieces, Jackson creates a sense of balance and harmony between the variety of textures, all linked by his own highly appealing harmonic sense. saxophone and choir. *, September 2016 *
. . . a stunning set of Advent Antiphons * The Guardian online, July 2016 *

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