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Concert review: Moving message in Jordi Savall's Jerusalem

Published on Apr 27, 2014 12:47 PM

Jordi Savall's Jerusalem, subtitled City Of Two Peaces: Heavenly Peace And Earthly Peace, chronicles the struggles for control of the city considered holy by the three Abrahamic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Performed around the world since 2008, Savall brought together the singers and early music instrumentalists of La Capella Reial de Catalunya and Hesperion XXI, guest artists from Armenia, Greece, Israel, Palestine and Turkey and occasional recorded segments. Saturday's concert was part of the Esplanade's A Tapestry Of Sacred Music festival.

The musicians played on a weird and wonderful collection of instruments, ranging from the shofar (ram's horn) to sackbutt (renaissance trombone), a selection of zithers and medieval harp, viols of varying sizes, drums and bells. The human voice was a core element, with singing and spoken word in languages that were heard in Jerusalem over the millenia.

A stirring fanfare by shofars and anifars (Moorish trumpets) playing from the stage and upper balconies opened the performance. The intensity of sound from the ram's horns and ancient trumpets reverberating through the hall chilled the blood in this account of how Joshua and seven priests blowing their shofars brought down the walls of Jericho, a city just outside Jerusalem.

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