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Gabriel Jackson's Airplane Cantata for choir and pianola (player piano)

Location: England, United Kingdom
Choir type: Chamber Choirs and Vocal Ensembles
Voicing: Mixed
Gabriel Jackson: Airplane Cantata world premiere
Gabriel Jackson’s new work, Airplane Cantata, for choir and pianola will be premiered by the BBC Singers and pianolist, Rex Lawson, in the concert, Flights of Fancy, on 24th October 2011 at St Paul’s, Knightsbridge, London, UK at 7.30pm. The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 in Live in Concert
Airplane Cantata is one of the first full length pieces written especially for the pianola since the 1930s. Gabriel states that in writing this piece he satisfied his obsession with aviation, “…the technology, the bravery and daring of pilots, the aesthetic beauty of aircraft, the transcendence of flying – and when thinking about what a piece for voices and pianola might be about, I was very struck by the fact that the (brief) heyday of the pianola coincided with the pioneering years of aviation.
The variety of texts used includes eye-witness accounts by Louis Blériot and the musings of Amelia Earhart. The seven-movement work makes full use of the amazing keyboard dexterity possible with the pianola’s virtuosic resources and contains the instrumental Toccata Aeronautica, a staggering showpiece movement for the pianola alone giving full opportunity to show what it can achieve, but which a pianist, restricted to ten fingers, could not.
The world-renowned pianolist, Rex Lawson, has prepared the piano rolls making use of a computer programme which translates staff notation into a machine to punch the rolls, which he devised himself. Rex is a leading exponent of the pianola and works tirelessly to promote this once hugely-popular, but now rather misunderstood instrument.
Airplane Cantata is published by OUP.
Gabriel Jackson is Associate Composer to the BBC Singers.
For more information about the piece please contact:
Griselda Sherlaw-Johnson
Music Department, Oxford University Press
tel. +44 (0)1865 355068
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