Francis Jackson: Sacred Choral Works

Now in his early nineties, Francis Jackson remains one of the finest, best-loved and most versatile church musicians of our age. The eleven works on this disc, none of them previously recorded, have all the colour, emotional depth and attention to structural detail that are consistent hallmarks of his style. Working closely with the composer, The Exon Singers bring their customary blend of virtuosity, intense commitment and subtle responsiveness to this portrait in sound of a very special composer.

"Francis Jackson is very much the elder statesman of the British organ community…and while his organ pieces are well represented on disc, his choral music is less well known. Yet his output for choir is both extensive and wide-ranging, as this superb new disc reveals. The other major work here is the Evening Service…This is a noble setting sung here with magnificent expansiveness by the group for whom it was written…this presents as touching and rewarding a compendium of very English 20th century church music as one could wish for"

"Matthew Owens...and his Exon Singers are well inside the music on these 16 tracks, even if the organ sometimes booms. The Missa Matris Dei (1988) demonstrates Jackson's continuing vigour, with an unashamedly exciting Gloria and leaping hosannas, before a timelessly calm Agnus Dei."

"All the music on this disc is very fine and the programme has been discerningly selected to give us a varied selection of Jackson’s church music output. The singing is excellent from start to finish: the choral sound is fresh, clear and well-focussed. David Bednall’s organ playing is distinguished and, when the music calls for it, very exciting."

"The Exon Singers obviously know and love the work of Francis Jackson and on this disc they do him proud. The recording was made in Wells Cathedral and is produced by Paul Baxter who has given us a near-perfect soundscape, allowing the beauty of the music full flight in the excellent acoustic of the building. All 11 works on this disc are first recordings and are full of colour, emotional depth and attention to structural detail. The composer was present at the recording and must be delighted with the end result."


"a real treasure. It’s also worth pointing out that none of the works on the disc has been previously recorded."

"the music’s considerable demands are more than matched by the ability of the performers, and how good it is to hear plenty of organ at the right moments."


"The music makes great demands on the singers, who meet the challenge fearlessly and with great panache and sensitivity. David Bednall provides superb organ accompaniment and Matthew Owens, no stranger to contemporary music, is clearly in his element."


"The Exon Singers have yet again produced a useful disc full of first recordings which will go a long way to bringing more of Jackson's excellent and neglected works into the public domain. For this especially, they should be commended."


Release Date: 16 October 2006
Catalogue No: DCD34035
Total playing time: 1:10:16
Recorded on 2-3 January 2006 in Wells Cathedral.
Producer & Engineer: Paul Baxter
24-bit digital editing: Adam Binks
24-bit digital mastering: Paul Baxter
Design: John Christ
Cover photography: John & Rachel Christ
Session photography: David Goodenough

Album Booklet

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