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Philip Barnes
Choral Journal, June 2014

…the best performance on this Naxos release is saved for the last. This is an extraordinarily powerful account of When David Heard by Francis Pott. There have been so many wonderful arrangements of the text already…However, Pott more than justifies his inclusion amid such company with robust and muscular music…the Vasaris prove to be most eloquent interpreters of and advocates for Francis Pott’s music, and one hopes that they continue to champion this brilliant British composer, together with this disc’s primary focus, Gabriel Jackson.

Here is a disc worth exploring. The repertoire is approachable though not facile, the performances evince conviction and sensitive direction… © 2014 Choral Journal

Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, August 2013

The 31 singers [Vasari Singers] are exemplary in their dedication to music new and old, and display a fine tonal quality of exceptional intonation and technical ability. The Tonbridge School Chapel in Kent provides a marvelous quality capture in full in a recording of audiophile quality. © Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Philip Greenfield
American Record Guide, May 2013

The Vasaris pay handsome tribute to Jackson’s creativity and to the works of the other composers as well. We get strong, clear sound from the Naxos engineers and an exemplary booklet. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

David Patrick Stearns
Gramophone, December 2012

The music feels as spontaneously descriptive as Eric Whitacre’s…[Jackson’s] use of syncopation is a straightforward vehicle of joy…performances under Jeremy Backhouse meet the formidable challenges without audible strain, never shrinking away from the music’s intense emotional content. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Robert Cummings
Classical Net, December 2012

Gabriel Jackson’s…Requiem, which is sung a cappella like all of his works on this disc, sounds modern but is very accessible and very lyrical in its often lush melodic flow.

The opening Requiem aeternam I is beautiful and contains possibly the most compelling music in this thirty-six-minute work. The Sanctus and Benedictus…is a lively, colorful movement whose energetic joy is infectious. The whole work is attractive and will appeal to most listeners interested in choral music.

…the Varsari Singers are regarded among the leading chamber choirs in the UK. Here, under conductor Jeremy Backhouse, they sing beautifully in all works. It would be hard to imagine a choral ensemble turning in finer renditions of this music…Naxos has once again produced a disc that will almost certainly garner a major award or two. The sound on this CD…is vivid. Highly recommended! © 2012 Classical Net Read complete review

Terry Blain
BBC Music Magazine, December 2012

You don’t have to believe that [Gabriel Jackson’s way of describing this work] to relish the sheer accomplishment and virtuosity of the Vasari Singers’ performance…[They] breast the difficulties confidently, crucially maintaining a full modicum of poise and tonal balance in the process…Of the shorter pieces I specially enjoyed Francis Pott’s When David Heard…The Vasari Singers grip the work with evident relish and commitment, producing the CD’s most potently arresting performance. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, December 2012

The Vasari Singers offer the first recording of a beautiful and thoughtful setting of the Requiem, which they commissioned from Gabriel Jackson in 2008. This work—and the other pieces by Jackson on the disc—confirms him as one of the most interesting composers of contemporary choral music with a natural affinity for the human voice and a fine empathy for words. This is an excellently sung and moving programme of fine modern music for unaccompanied choir. © 2012 MusicWeb International

Philip Reed
Choir & Organ, November 2012

Backhouse and his Vasari Singers perform this music to the manner born, with gorgeous tone that rejoices in the rich harmonies and fluid part-writing. Pott’s Tomkins-inspired When David Heard is a particularly effective reading, but it is to Jackson’s Requiem that this listener will return. Once again Naxos are to be congratulated for their support of British contemporary choral music. © 2012 Choir & Organ

John Quinn
MusicWeb International, October 2012

…all the performances on this CD are first rate. I have the impression that this is a programme that matters to Jeremy Backhouse and his choir. The recorded sound is very good and the notes, which are chiefly by Gabriel Jackson and Francis Pott about their own works, are good. This is a disc that should be investigated by all those who are interested in contemporary choral music. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2012

Born in Bermuda in 1962, Gabriel Jackson has become one of the UK’s most fashionable composers working in the field of liturgical music. He has cultivated a very personal style falling within the bounds of tonality, and without any instrumental support has built a Requiem in seven sections that extends to well over thirty minutes. Its content does not follow traditions of works by that name, the Latin Mass interleaved with his selected poems, his intention being, as he writes in his notes with the disc, to communicate that death is the gateway to a better world. I am not sure that overlaying the Lux eterna with the spoken words of the Mohican Chief, Aupumat, really works, but it was a good idea. The score was requested by the Vasari Singers, a small group of singers that have received critical acclaim over a wide spectrum of musical styles, and it sets the theme for the contents of the disc. Conducted by Jeremy Backhouse, it ends with Francis Pott’s When David heard, the music reflecting the bewailing of the death of Absalom. Between the two comes a masterpiece in John Tavener’s Song for Athene, one of the most beautiful and deeply moving 20th century a cappella masterpieces. In loud passages the church acoustic magnifies numbers and at the same time congeals the sound. An important release of 21st century music. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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