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Track(s) taken from CDA67708

O sacrum convivium

Baron's Court, April to May 1990; commissioned by Andrew Millington for the 1990 Guildford and Portsmouth Cathedrals Festival with funds provided by South East Arts; dedicated to the composer's father on the occasion of his 60th birthday
author of text
Antiphon at Second Vespers, Corpus Christi

Polyphony, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Recording details: January 2008
All Hallows, Gospel Oak, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Adrian Peacock
Engineered by David Hinitt
Release date: June 2009
Total duration: 6 minutes 24 seconds

Cover artwork: The Mysterious Portal by Arild Rosenkrantz (1870-1964)
Courtesy of Peter Nahum at The Leicester Galleries, London / © Bente Arendrup, Denmark

Other recordings available for download

Royal Holloway Choir, Rupert Gough (conductor)


'An absolutely outstanding choral recording … after hearing that performance from Polyphony directed by Stephen Layton, it’s hard to believe that there’s another vocal ensemble that could bring such radiant perfection of voice and ensemble to bear on this music. Some of the sounds are just heart-stoppingly beautiful. A surfeit of beauty? Maybe, but such synergy of imagination and performance.' (BBC Radio 3 CD Review)

'There are many striking features of this ravishing disc, beautifully and imaginatively performed by Stephen Layton and Polyphony … Jackson possesses an instinct for acoustic and vocal texture, but the beauty and sheer appeal of his vocal works, challenging as they are, are sculpted by an energising pragmatism open both to the professional and ambitious amateur choir' (Gramophone)

'Jackson has an unerring gift for the natural rhythms of language, resulting in delightfully unhurried miniatures that should suit any competent chamber choir … Polyphony deliver an intelligent and gripping musical performance at a very high standard. This sublime album comes highly recommended and the performances are another triumph for Polyphony and Stephen Layton' (Musical Criticism.com)

'The sopranos throughout represent the icing on the musical cake with their gloriously luminous, pure tone. Technical stuff out the way, this performance also satisfies the soul; Polyphony effortlessly evoke the music’s transcendent qualities in a performance awash with holy reverence. This is music and a performance that takes the ears and the mind heavenwards, whatever you believe' (bbc.co.uk)
Gabriel Jackson began his musical training as a chorister at Canterbury Cathedral and later studied composition at the Royal College of Music. His music is now widely recorded, and regularly performed and broadcast around the world. Many of his pieces reflect an interest in mediaeval techniques and ideas, and are made of simple melodies, chords, drones, and ostinatos. The composer says, “I try to write music that is clean and clear in line, texture, and structure… [My pieces] are not about conflict and resolution; even when animated, they are essentially contemplative. I like repetition and ‘ritualised’ structures”.

O sacrum convivium was commissioned (with funds provided by South East Arts) by Andrew Millington, then organist of Guildford Cathedral, for the 1990 Guildford and Portsmouth Cathedrals’ Festival. As the piece was to be sung by the combined forces of two cathedral choirs, Jackson decided to take advantage of the potentially massive resultant sonority by dividing the score, at some moments, into ten parts. The piece is predominantly quiet and meditative, with a refulgent climax at ‘et futurae gloriae’. O sacrum convivium is dedicated to the composer’s father, who was at that time a clergyman in the Guildford diocese.

from notes by Rupert Gough © 2008

Other albums featuring this work

O sacrum convivium
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