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An evocative new work: by Gabriel Jackson & Laura-Jane Foley
The Bach Choir set out to commission more new music in 2020, which was a challenging year for musicians. This gave The Choir an opportunity to keep singing virtually. After a brief competition, Soprano and art historian Laura-Jane Foley’s text was given to Gabriel Jackson to compose a new piece to capture the moment we all faced in lockdown. Her text reads:
On the blackest of nights, a starless sky, All light extinguished, all plans abandoned, Still we can trust that the light will return. In darkness there’s hope; the promise of dawn.
His resulting work, The Promise is set in 16 parts. It begins in a minor key and makes use of aleatoric passages (where the singers are given an outline melody and are asked to repeat it at a tempo and rhythm of their choosing for a specified length of time). This creates a feeling of randomness that depicts the darkness of the first half of the poem, moving into a brighter, major key and conventional notation for the words ‘In the darkness there’s hope’.
Gabriel Jackson is one of Britain’s foremost and most celebrated composers, whose music can be heard on over 100 recordings. His latest large-scale work, The World Imagined, a 45-minute oratorio, received its world premiere at this year’s Three Choirs Festival, conducted by David Hill.
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An innovative partnership: The Bach Choir and We Dream Films
We Dream Films’ creative expertise proved the perfect pairing with Gabriel Jackon’s ground-breaking composition and Laura-Jane Foley’s text. We Dream Films envisioned the bigger purpose for this evocative piece. Their film was shot in Puzzlewood Forest, where scenes from Star Wars & The Secret Garden have been filmed. It brings to life Mother Earth, who inspires our young female hero to take ownership of her relationship with the natural world and commit to regenerating it. It is a visual poem and modern fairy tale of a young girl’s journey into the depths of a magical forest to learn a lesson and make a commitment to look after nature: The Promise.