Karl Jenkins releases new choral work ‘The Peacemakers’ on EMI Classics
Karl Jenkins is to release The Peacemakers, the follow-up to his highly successful The Armed Man:
A Mass for Peace, on EMI Classics.
The 17-movement work for chorus and orchestra features texts by some of the most famous advocates of peace and compassion in the 20th century, including Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr., the Dalai Lama, Mother Teresa, and Anne Frank, the 15-year-old who died while incarcerated by the Nazis in the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp.
Passages from the Bible and the Qur’an also feature in the piece, together with new texts by Terry Waite, who was held captive by the Islamic Jihad Organization in the Lebanon for 1,763 days (four years
of which were spent in solitary confinement) before his release in November, 1991.
The Peacemakers received its world premiere in Carnegie Hall, New York, conducted by the composer, on January 16 this year. Its first British performances will follow in May.
Jenkins says the work “is dedicated to the memory of all those who lost their lives during armed conflict and, in particular, innocent civilians. One line from the 13th-century Persian mystic poet Rumi sums up the ethos of the piece: ‘All religions, all singing one song: Peace be with you.’ Many of the other ‘contributors’ are figures who have shaped history, others are less well known.
“I have occasionally placed some text in a musical environment that helps identify its origin or culture: the bansuri (Indian flute) and tabla in the Gandhi; the shakuhachi (a Japanese flute associated with Zen Buddhism) and temple bells in that of the Dalai Lama; African percussion in the Mandela; and echoes of the blues of the deep American South (as well as a quote from Schumann’s Träumerei in my tribute to Martin Luther King. ‘Healing Light: a Celtic prayer’ is with uilleann pipes and bodhrán drums.”
Performing on the disc are: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Rundfunkchor Berlin, City of Birmingham Youth Chorus and 1,000-voice Really Big Chorus (which includes members of choirs from across the UK). Guest artists include violinist Chloë Hanslip, soprano Lucy Crowe, Davy Spillane on uilleann pipes, Indian bansuri player Ashwin Srinivasan, and jazz saxophonist Nigel Hitchcock and bass player Laurence Cottle.
The Peacemakers will be released on EMI Classics in March.