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 premiered 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, and by the Elysian Singers under the direction of the composer in the City of London. TONUS PEREGRINUS recorded the coda for Hyperion on an album called Alpha and Omega, and in June 2008 gave the world premiere of the complete oratorio at Opera Fringe in Down Cathedral, Downpatrick, Northern Ireland – to a standing ovation. The revised and expanded version of the oratorio was recorded in October 2011, followed by the U.S. premiere in May 2012 which was given by Choral Arts Cleveland under conductor Martin Kessler – in the presence of the composer. >>