Jackson: Not no faceless Angel (CD Review - The Daily Telegraph, 2009)

Gabriel Jackson is one of the growing number of composers riding the trend for ecstatic “spiritual” music. His long “Eastern” drones are straight out of John Tavener, the radiant harmonies are like Górecki’s famous Symphony of Sorrowful Songs , and there’s the odd hint of Stravinsky’s ritualised Mass.

But compared to them Jackson’s music seems very Anglican in its sweet reasonableness. Nothing goes on at great length, and the radiance is gentle rather than dazzling. These two CDs are excellent introductions to Jackson’s music, in different ways.

The children’s voices of the Scottish choir bring out the music’s innocence, as does the soft and attractively distant sound. However, the liturgical flavour of the CD might put some listeners off. The recording by Polyphony is more full-blooded in sonority, with a more emphatic and beefy bass sound. And the choice of music, though also entirely sacred, is more shrewdly angled at a general audience.

Ivan Hewitt 

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