Sir Karl Jenkins is one of the most performed living composers in the world. The release of Karl’s new album Miserere: Songs Of Mercy And Redemption, on 11 October, will be followed by his 75th birthday concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 13 October. His new choral masterpiece Miserere is dedicated to all who have suffered or perished during the conflicts in the Middle East over the last 70 years. Karl was motivated by the desperate situation for the millions of people displaced and impacted by the cruel effects of war and hoped the healing and uniting powers of music could be used to bring together people from different religions.
Miserere, conducted by Stephen Layton directing his twice Grammy-nominated choir Polyphony, features Gramophone award-winning countertenor Iestyn Davies and ‘rising star’ South African cellist Abel Selaocoe, a recent recipient of the Sir Karl Jenkins Music Award in association with Classic FM. Also featured is the Britten Sinfonia and former Royal Harpist to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales Catrin Finch.
Conductor Stephen Layton said, “Miserere is such an intriguing juxtaposition of many elements – I do believe it will catch the imagination around the world. It’s rare I find myself singing things over and over again. There is something very enduring and uniquely wonderful here which I love. I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to record this fantastic music.”
Sir Karl Jenkins’ wide-ranging approach to the composition of this work is reflected in his use of ancient Latin, Aramaic, modern-day Arabic and Hebrew texts. The words used in Miserere are drawn from Psalm 51 from the Hebrew Book of Psalms, used as a liturgical text in music throughout history, from the Renaissance (Josquin des Prez) and Baroque (Allegri, J. S. Bach, Pergolesi) eras to Romantic and Contemporary interpretations by Verdi, Górecki and Pärt. Carol Barratt, Lady Jenkins, wrote the words to the closing movement, Contemplation and Benediction, adapted by her from sayings pertaining to ‘mercy’ by Rumi (1207-1273), the Sunni Muslim and Persian poet and philosopher.
Karl Jenkins’ sold-out 75th birthday concert at the Royal Albert Hall on 13 October will feature the first performances of selections from the score of Miserere performed by the Crouch End Festival Chorus and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The World Premiere of Miserere will take place on 29 November at a sold-out event at St Luke’s Church in Grayshott, Hampshire, with a broadcast on Classic FM.
Sir Karl Jenkins’ works for choir, soloists and orchestra are among the most popular in the genre by any living composer, including Adiemus, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace – performed over 2500 times – Requiem, Stabat Mater, Gloria, Te Deum, The Peacemakers and Cantata Memoria. His prolific career spans the worlds of classical, jazz, and film music. Karl was educated at Cardiff University and the Royal Academy of Music and his recorded output has resulted in seventeen gold and platinum disc awards. He was awarded a Knighthood in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Karl Jenkins’ Miserere: Songs Of Mercy And Redemption will be released on 11 October 2019 and can be pre-ordered here.