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New Gabriel Jackson work premiered at re-opening of the spectacular Hintze Hall

Released on July 13, 2017

A new work by Gabriel Jackson, This Paradise I give thee, will receive its premiere on 13 July at the Gala opening of the reimagined Hintze Hall at London’s Natural History Museum.

Commissioned to celebrate the opening of the new Hintze Hall, This Paradise I give thee is a short composition for 13 instruments and baritone solo, inspired by the Hall’s new displays and the words of John Milton and Charles Darwin. 

The work is to be performed by Sir Thomas Allen and members of the London Contemporary Orchestra around a stunning 25.2 metre real blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling which takes centre stage in the spectacular space.

The audience will hear ten 'sound sources' - a single player or a pair or a trio of instruments - positioned all around the gallery to take advantage of the great space. Each plays their own unique musical material which relates to one of the new displays from the natural world.  For instance the trumpet represents a blue marlin, the violins and viola represent insect swarms, and the giraffe is represented by a pair of bass clarinets.

The sounds are heard in various combinations, overlapping, dropping out, in varying juxtapositions. Eventually they coalesce into one, becoming the accompaniment to a baritone soloist who declaims the words of Darwin and Milton. Finally all the sound sources are heard simultaneously for the first time in a paean of celebration, representing the wonder and creativity of evolution and life on earth.

This Paradise I give thee is a line from Milton’s Paradise Lost, from the same book as the stanza which begins ‘Behold each bird and beast’. This stanza was quoted by the NHM’s first Director, Professor Richard Owen, in his treatise to government making the case for a new and purpose-built Natural History Museum for the nation.

Find out more about Gabriel Jackson

 

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