Not No Faceless Angel = Choral Music by GABRIEL JACKSON – Polyphony/ Stephen Layton – Hyperion CDA67708, 75:58 **** [Distr. by Harmonia mundi]:
Gabriel Jackson is a Bermuda-born Englander who descends from an Anglican clergyman and has himself an intense devotion to that confession, though he describes it as unconventional. But his interests do seem pegged to liturgical choral music despite the fact that he composes in other forms as well. One particular obsession seems to be with the Tudor tradition of Tallis, Browne, and Carver, their ethereal and timeless settings marking a bit of a high point in Anglican music (and a few clandestine Roman Catholic pieces as well). Jackson’s music uses this tradition firmly and yet quite freely, with textural lushness coupled with an ability to spawn remarkably clear and concise melodic lines that have the pristine purity of Stravinsky’s later sparser music. On top of all of this is the ecstatic, soaring nature of his work that one can only fully appreciate—or so it seems—inside the confines of a large brightly-resonant gothic cathedral.
The performances by Stephen Layton’s Polyphony are superb, this being an ensemble that produces some of the absolute finest CDs of choral music anywhere, always immaculately performed and emotionally vibrant. Mr. Jackson is one to watch.
TrackList: To Morning; Song (I gaze upon you); Cecilia Virgo; Orbis patrator optime; Ave Maria; Hymn to the Trinity; Not no faceless Angel; O sacrum convivium; Lux mortuorum; Salve regina; Salve regina 2
— Steven Ritter