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Winter Heavens

author of text

Like Ruchill linn, Winter heavens describes and explores a spiritual apprehension of a scene from nature. This time the text is traditionally prosodic, with the fixed line lengths and rhyme-scheme of a sonnet, and unlike Bell’s charged simplicity, the language is high-flown and the expression convoluted—in fact it’s the sort of poem that Eliot, Pound and their English contemporary T.E. Hulme were reacting against around the same time as airplanes were being developed. But again, Jackson can clarify in music what in words might seem obscure, and his setting gets past the complex syntax to the poem’s expressive core by means of both clear large-scale textural contrasts—as when the sopranos and altos fall silent and the texture is built up from eight solo male voices in lines 3-6—and apposite word-painting. The canonic overlapping when the female voices re-enter suggests both “waves” and, a few bars later at the climax of the phrase, “bursts”. Both texture and key change for the sonnet’s final sestina, and the work rises to a high-point on “radiance”, another key word in the Jacksonian vocabulary, before subsiding to an equally typical ambiguous closing chord.

from notes by John Fallas © 2014


Jackson (G): Airplane Cantata & other choral works
SIGCD381Download only


Track 10 on SIGCD381 [6'02] Download only

Track-specific metadata for SIGCD381 track 10

Recording date
10 March 2014
Recording venue
Maida Vale Studio 2, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Michael Emery
Recording engineer
Paul Waton
Hyperion usage
  1. Jackson (G): Airplane Cantata & other choral works (SIGCD381)
    Disc 1 Track 10
    Release date: May 2014
    Download only
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