Gabriel Jackson: Beyond the Stars (Sacred Choral Works Vol II)

Celebrating his fiftieth birthday in 2012, Gabriel Jackson has had a long and close association with the Choir of St Mary’s Cathedral.

This is the choir’s second disc of Jackson’s choral music on Delphian, and under Duncan Ferguson’s dynamic direction they bring a special authority, and all their characteristic verve and intensity, to a sequence of recording premieres centred on the florid Hymn to St Margaret of Scotland, newly written for the choir. This sumptuously recorded disc opens a window on the luminous sound-world of one of Britain’s finest choral composers.

"It's the sheer fervour of the singing in Gabriel Jackson's The Glory of the Lord which gets you as it leaps, skids and (at the conclusion) yelps its paean of praise into the vibrant acoustic...The piece is bursting with the desire to worship, and the performance by the Cathedral's choir is scintillating...Filled to overflowing with verve and commitment." ★★★★★

"Throughout it all runs an almost tiresomely festive mood, punctuated by jubilant choral shouts and sparkling organ passagework...since the arrival of Duncan Ferguson in 2007 [the choir] has turned into one of Scotland's (indeed one of Britain's) musical jewels...It's easy to get so wrapped up in the ravishing delights of Jackson's writing that you forget the astonishing quality of these performances...a disc of unrelenting impressiveness."

"a collection of 16 of [Jackson's] endlessly inventive and stimulating choral pieces, some the fruit of his happy association with the excellent choir of St Mary's, Edinburgh. The mix of boys and girls on the treble line...lends a spacious elegance to the sound and a pleasing variety of solo sonorities...Highly recommended"

"You will have to go a long way to hear choral singing finer than this. Take such matters as tuning, blend and diction as read: they are superb. Instead, let us cut to the astonishingly communicative nature of the singing. This is unforgettable...Trebles lines don't just soar...they take wing with a kind of elated abandon...indeed, it seems clear to me that all the performers are inspired by, almost possessed by, this inspired music."

"the choir rises to and surmounts every challenge. More than that, their performances have tremendous conviction and assurance. Duncan Ferguson has clearly trained his choir superbly. The organ playing of Nicholas Wearne is excellent throughout."

Recording venue(s): St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral, Edinburgh
Recording dates: 15-16 September & 22-24 November 2011
Physical format: Jewel case
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 16
Release date: 4 June 2012
Album ID: DCD34106
Total playing time: 1:08:40

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