Aeterna caeli gloria
could be seen as Jackson’s hymn to St Cecilia. His setting of the fifth-century Ambrosian text was first performed in 2007 on the eve of the feast of music’s patroness, brought to life then by the combined choirs of Westminster Abbey, Westminster Cathedral and St Paul’s Cathedral. The work launches its ascent of the heaven of invention with a hieratic choral chant, precisely etched in eight real parts, and a corresponding melodic flourish for the word ‘gloria’. The hymn’s initial brilliance, aural and technical, gives way to an extended reflection on the figure of Christ as ‘our only hope’ before Jackson turns up the brightness with a modulation from C major to E major at ‘Ortus refulget’. The two pitch centres peacefully coexist until the final verse of praise, securely rooted in C major and crowned by a return of material familiar from the opening.
from notes by Andrew Stewart © 2013