Jackson: Requiem (Carl Herring/ Vasari Singers/ Jeremy Backhouse) (Naxos: 8.573049)
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While the unifying thread which links these works is that of loss, the underlying focus is an uplifting celebration of life and love. Gabriel Jackson's Requiem
combines traditional solemnity with poems which embrace wide-ranging spirituality, resulting in images of light and radiant optimism. Contrasting poignancy of expression is heard in personal tributes from John Tavener and Francis Pott, while Bob Chilcott uses Pachelbel's famous Canon
to set Oscar Wilde's Requiescat
. Vasari Singers' Great British Anthems
(8.572504) was described as 'essential listening' by Gramophone
. With superbly moving performances of works by four of the foremost names in choral music, this disc cannot fail to thrill choral and British music aficionados everywhere.
Founded in 1980, Vasari Singers
is among the leading chamber choirs in Britain, performing music ranging from Renaissance to contemporary. The choir performs regularly in London as well as visiting many of England's cathedrals to sing services, with recent trips to Canterbury, Salisbury, Bath and Ripon. The choir and Jeremy Backhouse
are deeply committed to contemporary music and have commissioned over twenty works since 2000, including works by Francis Pott and Gabriel Jackson.
"Jackson's Requiem is a masterpiece in my view and the performance by the Vasari Singers and Jeremy Backhouse is beyond praise." William Hedley, International Record Review