Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras, in the company of Jewish, Christian and Muslim musicians from Israel, Palestine, Greece, Syria, Armenia, Turkey, England, Fr4ance, Spain, Italy, Belgium, as well as their own ensembles Hesperion XXI and Capella Reial de Catalunya, portray the chequered fortunes of Jerusalem in a freize of texts and music evoking her protagonists. Jewish, Arab and Christian music from ancient times to the present day highlights Jerusalem as a city that looks forward to the possibility of achieving the two peaces proclaimed in its name.
"This project was conceived as a hommage to Jerusalem, the city endlessly built and destroyed by man and his quest for the sacred and for spiritual power. Through the power of music and words, this fruit of passionate amd committed collaboration of musicians, poets, researchers, writers and historians from 14 nations as well as Alia Vox and the CIMA Foundation teams, has become a fervent invocation to Peace."
Jordi Savall and Montserrat Figueras, Autumn 2008
Given electric performances and virile repertoire, early music regularly offers uplifting experiences, but do they hit you like bulletins ripped from today s news? Not often.
Matters are different in Jerusalem. Time and again the 52 tracks of Jordi Savall s bumper project bring you slap up against the continuing tragedy of Gaza of wrecked buildings, wailing people, and faiths at war. There will be a great peace throughout the world, until the end of time, sings Montserrat Figueras on track two, following the Greek text of a Sibylline oracle.
The rest of the programme uses the history of Jerusalem to plead for that elusive world peace. Jews, Christians, Arabs, Turks, Armenians are all given a voice in music and words from across the centuries, with different religions and cultures battling for dominance and a homeland as the end of time ticks closer...
As Savall and Manuel Forcano s collection advances, the heart is still moved, the mind still whirrs. Whatever the language and culture adopted, Figueras throbs with humanity. Instrumentally, Savall, Hespèrion XXI and their guests always give us splendour. Track by track you listen, learn, read and wonder. Jerusalem may not bring world peace any closer, but you ll never read the Gaza headlines in quite the same way again. --Geoff Brown, The Times, January, 2009
As always with Savall, the whole thing has the sense of a scrupulous piece of historical and musicological research...there are certainly some fascinating moments, as well as some striking imagery. --The Guardian, January, 2009
A lot of care has been taken in the historical shape, the repertoire and the artists it's a territory where early music and world music meet to create beautiful and powerful performances. --SIMON BROUGHTON, Evening Standard, 16 January 2009