Reviews of Compositions by Jackson Hill


"Jackson Hill's Japanese-inspired "Voices of Autumn" drew some of the evening's longest applause--after the audience sat in silence when the work was finished, perhaps taking it all in. Elegant in its simplicity--the work draws from Japanese traditional music and chant--the result was a gorgeous soundscape, [Chanticleer's] voices fusing together like watercolors."
---The Cincinnati Enquirer

"Another piece representing a different culture was Hill's "Voices of Autumn," which the composer constructed using techniques of Japanese classical music; Chanticleer made it seem timelessly beautiful."
---The Boston Globe

"Most intriguing was "Voices of Autumn," a mesmerizing echo of Japanese court music and Buddhist chant by ethnomusicologist Jackson Hill. With unisons to provide a pulsing, shimmering sonic backdrop, the barest of rhythmic figures and ornamentation created a beguilingly placid soundscape. The effect was so calming as to conceal the difficulty of such a piece and the level of control it entails."
---The Portland Oregonian

"One of the many discoveries here is Jackson Hill's "Voices of Autumn," a 1982 composition that sets a ninth-century Japanese poem in music of remarkable stillness and austerity…."

"Jackson Hill's" Voices of Autumn" was all glowing harmony."
---The New York Times


"…Impressive and innovative as these pieces were, they were not as compelling as Jackson Hill's "In Winter’s Keeping," a 2001 setting of a seventh-century Japanese poem using pentatonic harmonies and Japanese tunings."
---Monterey (California) Herald

"…two hauntingly lovely pieces by contemporary composer Jackson Hill introduced music inspired by Japanese Buddhism, "Voices of Autumn" and "In Winter's Keeping.""
---San Francisco Classical Voice


"logically compact... A piece that is tightly knit and makes good sense from beginning to end... It contains genuine emotion rather than relying solely on 'effect' for impact as so many others do."
---Washington, The Evening Star

"ably used the instruments of the ensemble in great variety with an occasional touch of humor."
---The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Impressive and scholarly."
---The Greensboro Daily News

·        MOSAICS

"an impressive handling of massed forces."
---Philadelphia, The Evening Bulletin


"the most communicative work of the concert... an indescribably evocative work that makes the solo performer a medium both musical and metaphysical."
---Musical America

·        SANGRAAL

"exceptionally interesting both for the composer's interpretation of the search for the legendary sacred vessel, and also for the stylish manner in which the orchestra attained the significantly demanding range of dynamics and control... It is a mystic and difficult work."
---The Cape Cod Times


"Spacious voicings, fine craftsmanship, and a well-balanced mixture of dissonance and melody..."

·        ARISE, SHINE

"a very fine, exciting and challenging contemporary work... beautiful changes in vocal textures and harmonies, and the organ accompaniment is especially dynamic... The overall rhythmic excitement, coupled with stunning contrasts in harmonies and organ... makes this work outstanding."
---The Choral Journal

·        SERENADE

"Hill's music, with its rumbling piano and soulful wooden flute, is shimmering and haunting."
---The Pittsburgh Press

"a delicate piece of night-music, as understated as a Japanese print."
---The Cincinnati Post

·        TANTUM ERGO

"Any fine a cappella choir would take great delight in performing this sensitively written work."
---The Choral Journal


"An excellent Missa Brevis... beautifully written... with lovely, unexpected harmonies."
---The American Organist

"It opens interestingly and effectively with a deeply felt Kyrie. There is a jubilant Gloria... [The Agnus Dei ] has a particularly thoughtful and meditative final cadence."
---The Musical Times (UK)


"Spare and haunting--almost medieval in flavor... very devotional in nature, as befits the text."
---The American Organist

·        LOVE IS LIFE

"Jackson Hill's gorgeous Love Is Life glows with intensity."
---American Record Guide

"I was especially moved by the performance of Jackson Hill's Love Is Life, a setting of a medieval poem by Richard Rolle (c. 1325). Hill creates a distinctive choral sonority, beginning each phrase with chantlike unisons that expand into pointed major or minor seconds and then open into fully extended harmonies. The archaic mysticism and sensuality of the poem are perfectly captured in this evocative setting for unaccompanied choir."
---Choral Journal

·        THOLOS

"A moving opus."
---The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"a mysterious journey through Japanese and Western devices, with their contrasting scales and spiritual personalities. This lovely amalgam is particularly striking in its extremes, from bright bell sounds to the eerie declamations of the alto flute, English horn, and bass clarinet."
---The Pittsburgh Press

·        AKI NO KO-E

"Superbly shaped performance... in which the voices swooped and slid around sustained pitches like swallows in play."
---The Independent (London)

"a setting of a ninth-century Japanese text which consists essentially of delicate micro-inflections... such space-creating poignancy is what minimalism should be all about, but too rarely is."
---The Times (London)


"Spare, contemplative and quite beautiful...."
---Nightly Planet, Radio National (Australia)

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