Jerusalem-Yerushalayim is an oratorio by Antony Pitts which tells, simply but powerfully, the Old Testament story of Jerusalem – musically, a bold and accessible cross between Handel’s Messiah, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and 80s rock anthems.
Jerusalem-Yerushalayim is aimed at audiences familiar with both great classical oratorios and popular musicals, regardless of denomination or religious background, cultural perspective or political viewpoint. The story of the city is told through twelve windows or snapshots in which Jerusalem is either the subject or the background, mirroring the four quarters of Jerusalem’s Old City in four sections of three movements each. Unusually, the Tanakh or Old Testament-based libretto of Jerusalem-Yerushalayim is in modern English with ancient Hebrew names for familiar Biblical characters and places in the Middle East, such as Avraham for Abraham.
The Song Company’s dozen vocal soloists take on the roles of familiar Old Testament prophets – from Moses to Daniel – with a genre-defying ensemble of trumpet, flute, saxophone, violas, electric double bass, harp, piano, organ, and percussion, and are joined by a narrator, amateur chorus, and children’s choir to perform this electrifying work.
Antony Pitts's international reputation as a composer includes recordings on Hyperion, Naxos, and Harmonia Mundi. Jerusalem-Yerushalayim has already had a UK and a USA premiere, with the coda, The Peace of Jerusalem, performed separately in Israel and in the Netherlands, and the recording by his British ensemble TONUS PEREGRINUS, chamber choir Londinium, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, and Tiffin Boys' Choir, with narration by David Suchet, is now available from Hyperion and iTunes (release date: 1 December 2017).