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Antony Pitts (b1969)


remastered Jubilee Edition
Tonus Peregrinus, Antony Pitts (conductor) Detailed performer information
Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
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2CDs Download only
Label: 1equalmusic
Recording details: October 2011
Memorial Chapel, Charterhouse, Godalming, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Parry & Alexander L'Estrange
Engineered by Daniel Halford & Richard Bland
Release date: July 2022
Total duration: 123 minutes 33 seconds

Tonus Peregrinus joins forces with Londinium, Tiffin Boys’ Choir, Aldeburgh Young Musicians, and David Suchet in this specially remastered Jubilee Edition of Antony Pitts’s spectacular oratorio-musical Jerusalem-Yerushalayim.

A hardback edition of the booklet is also available to accompany this album. Click here for more information: Jerusalem-Yerushalayim Jubilee Edition photobook.


‘This studio remix of a 2011 recording (with biblical verses read by David Suchet) eagerly communicates the commitment of the young performers’ (Limelight, Australia)» More

‘I am not alone among my MusicWeb colleagues in enjoying Pitts’ own music and the performances by his group Tonus Peregrinus of his music’ (MusicWeb International)» More

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The eyes of the world today are on Jerusalem. More than any other city, Jerusalem has captured hearts and imaginations around the world and continues to reflect the turbulent emotions of our troubled times. The city of Jerusalem has a complex, multi-layered history stretching back thousands of years, and continues today to be the literal and symbolic focus of many, often conflicting, aspirations. Jerusalem—placed at the centre of the world on mediaeval maps—a crossroads between Asia, Europe, and Africa. Jerusalem—occupied by Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Crusaders, Ottomans, British etc. Jerusalem—the scene of central events in Jewish history and in the Christian gospel—and now home to Jewish, Christian, and Islamic holy sites. While today’s media story is of division and hopelessness, the Bible tells an extraordinary story with a much longer perspective—a story of incredible hope that begins in Genesis with the wanderings of Abraham, and extends from these Semitic roots to a vision of lasting peace for all people, starting in Jerusalem.

In 2006 the composer Antony Pitts was inspired to begin sketching an oratorio that would tell, simply but powerfully, the Biblical story of Jerusalem—to audiences familiar with both great classical oratorios and popular musicals, and regardless of denomination or religious background, cultural perspective or political viewpoint. The result is an oratorio-musical with a libretto based on texts from the Tanakh (the 'Old' Testament) laid out in a narrative order, and with the ancient Hebrew names for familiar Biblical characters and places (e.g. Avraham)—thus the double-barrelled title Jerusalem-Yerushalayim. The Biblical 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’, these are divided into four sections of three movements: the city in patriarchal times; the city as the capital of Israel and then of Judah up to its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar in 586BC; the city rebuilt under occupation until its destruction by the Romans in 70AD; the city as prefigured by prophets and unfolded in history; and a coda looking forward to Isaiah’s vision of the wolf living together with the lamb.

The libretto was compiled by the composer and is drawn as directly as possible, given the limitations of English translation and the musical setting itself, from Biblical texts—texts which are both historical and prophetic, full of archetypes and resonances, and are at the same time about real people with their dreams, tragedies, and hopes. The music is new, but has strong historical echoes including familiar Western musical references such as Tallis’s Lamentations, Purcell’s My beloved spake, Handel’s Zadok the Priest, and Parry’s I was glad—as well as various resonances from far outside the classical canon. In terms of practicality and approachability, and even structure, Jerusalem-Yerushalayim is modelled on Handel’s Messiah, and designed for widespread use: by professional vocal ensembles or amateur choirs, or a mix of both—with SATB soloists and flexible accompaniment.

Unusually, the first part of the oratorio to be completed was the conclusion—the choral coda entitled The peace of Jerusalem. It was premièred by the Choir of London, conductor Jeremy Summerly, in Israel in April 2007, and has since had performances in the UK by Tonus Peregrinus at the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music, by the Elysian Singers in the City of London, and by The Song Company in Australia. Tonus Peregrinus recorded the coda for Hyperion on an album called Alpha and Omega, and in June 2008 gave the world première of the complete oratorio at Opera Fringe in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland. In May 2012 the US première was given by Choral Arts Cleveland under conductor Martin Kessler in the presence of the composer. Australian premières include solo sections sung by Emma Warburton in Melbourne and Newcastle, and a specially abridged version of the oratorio as the focus of the 2022 Australian Jewish Choral Festival.

1equalmusic © 2022

Les yeux du monde entier sont aujourd’hui attirés vers Jérusalem. Plus que tout autre ville, Jérusalem a ravi cœurs et imaginations autour du monde entier, et elle continue à réfléchir les émotions turbulentes de notre époque troublée. La ville de Jérusalem possède une histoire complexe, ayant de multiples couches qui s’étalent en arrière par millénaires. Elle continue aujourd’hui d’être littéralement et symboliquement le point de mire de nombreuses aspirations, souvent contradictoires. Jérusalem—inscrite en plein centre du monde sur les cartes médiévales—carrefour entre l’Asie, l’Europe et l’Afrique. Jérusalem—occupée par Babyloniens, Persans, Grecs, Romains, Britanniques,etc. Jérusalem—scène où se déroulent les événements principaux de l’histoire des Juifs et de l’Evangile chrétienne—et maintenant le foyer de sites religieux juifs, chrétiens et islamiques. Tandis que les médias ne parlent que de conflit et de désespoir, la Sainte Bible raconte une histoire extraordinaire avec une perspective bien plus longue—histoire d’une espérance incroyable qui débute en Genèse avec les pérégrinations d’Abraham et s’étend de ces racines sémitiques jusqu’à une vision de paix éternelle pour tous les peuples, à commencer de Jérusalem.

En 2006 le compositeur, Antony Pitts, a eu l’inspiration de commencer à esquisser un oratorio qui raconterait en toute simplicité mais profondément l’histoire biblique de Jérusalem—à l’intention d’auditeurs connaissant bien et les grands oratorios classiques et les comédies musicales, sans distinction de secte, de milieu religieux, de perspective culturelle ou de point de vue politique. Il en résulte un oratorio/une comédie-musicale dont le libretto est basé sur des textes du Tanakh (l’Ancien Testament) disposés par ordre de la narration, et qui se sert des noms hébreux anciens pour les personnages et les endroits bibliques bien connus (par exemple: Avraham)—et ainsi le titre à rallonge Jérusalem-Yerushalayim. L’histoire biblique de la ville est racontée à l’aide de douze vitres ou photos dont Jérusalem est soit le sujet soit le fond; elles reflètent les quatre quartiers de la «vieille ville» de Jérusalem, et elles sont divisées en quatre sections comprenant chacune trois mouvements.

1equalmusic © 2017
Français: Rosemary Pitts

Selected verses taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® (Anglicised), Audio Edition
(Narrated by David Suchet)
Audio Copyright ℗ 2013 by Biblica, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Holy Bible, New International Version ® (Anglicised), NIV ®
Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.
Used with permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
The “New International Version” is a trademark registered in the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc. The “NIV”, “Biblica”, “International Bible Society” and the Biblica Logo are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc. Used with permission.

Hyperion Records Ltd ©

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