Setting Joseph Addison's much-loved text, Jackson explores the use of vivid imagery the poem provides through this dramatic medium. Rather than using the full forces of choir, brass and organ throughout, the piece proceeds through varied antiphonal groupings, rather in the manner of 17th-century Venetian music. In his celebrated style, Jackson accompanies imaginative choral writing with bright fanfares for the two trumpets, dancing chorales for the brass, coruscating figuration from the organ, and solo horn whoops over whispering arpeggios. Only at the end do all the forces unite for the first time in a clanging, celebratory conclusion.
Commissioned by the John Armitage Memorial Trust and first performed by the BBC Singers, Onyx Brass, and Stephen Disley (organ) directed by Nicholas Cleobury, at St Bride's church, Fleet Street, London on 10 April 2008.