"Jordi Savall has long been one for dreaming up fascinating concepts for his albums. But musically tracking the disparate cultures of Jerusalem is ambitious even for him. Whether or not you (as does our reviewer) find this a mite too ambitious for two discs, the playing here is wonderful and the presentation is of showpiece quality: the discs fit inside what amounts to a handsomely illustrated book on the subject."
…that Sarajevan chant lies at the wounded heart of this whole brilliant enterprise. Sung with just the faintest hint of vibrato by Montserrat Figueras, it segues into a haunting Palestinian lament by Mufawak Shahin Khalil, which is followed by an Armenian lament by Razmik Amyan, after which we hear the awe-inspiring cadences of Auschwitz survivor Shlomo Katz. Recorded in 1950, this chant for the victims of Nazism has no whiff of vengefulness: like the whole of this majestic interfaith enterprise, it is quite simply an affirmation of humanity. BBC *****
400 pages deluxe book
Booklet : English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Catalan, Hebrew, Arab
"In the festival's closing concert devoted to Jerusalem (a Jewish, Arab and Christian city, a city of pilgrimage, exile and refuge), Savall made a powerful and timely statement. By bringing them together without blurring their boundaries, he has proved that these highly refined musical expressions are intimately related. Emotion ran high among the audience at the end of a long concert which boldly threaded together apparently very different musical traditions, such as a plaintive kamancha solo and the recording by the cantor Shlomo Katz - who survived Auschwitz because an SS guard was moved by his song - of a threnody dedicated to the victims of Auschwitz. Their similarity in tone and sound was striking. Among many others on stage were an Arab Israeli singer, an Israeli Jewish singer (the extraordinary Lior Elmalich), the Iraqi- Hungarian son of the great Munir Bachir, a Spanish singer who sings in Arabic and Ladino (the language of the Sephardic Jews), an Israeli of Iraqi origin, musicians from Greece and France, etc, etc. The transition from one piece to the next was both impeccable and inspired by the ear, not the intellect, under the watchful eye of Jordi Savall, who listens to others with the same depth of concentration that he instils into his own playing. One couldn't help thinking that it is all so transparent, as witnessed by these musicians who join hands while the bombs continue to claim lives. One couldn't help hoping that examples such as this will multiply, and that the "power of music", in which the two Catalan driving forces behind one of the world's finest festivals so fervently believe, will prevail."
(Le Monde on the same "Jerusalem" repertoire, performed during the Fontfroide Festival in August, 2008)
A hommage to Jerusalem and an invocation to peace
"This project was conceived as a hommage to Jerusalem, the city endlessly built and destroyed by man in his quest for the sacred and for spiritual power. Through the power of music and words, this fruit of the passionate and 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. A Peace born out of a dialogue based on empathy and mutual respect is, despite the enormous difficulties involved, a necessary and desirable path forward for all concerned. It is a goal that is both urgent and imperative, one which can help humanity to overcome its ancestral fears and follies, thus preventing countless innocent victims and untold futile siffering. Jerusalem is more than a holy city: it is a symbol for mankind, continuing to remind us all in this 21st century of the great difficulty in living together. Without peace, no human life is possible." Montserrat Figueras and Jordi Savall, Unesco ‘Artists for Peace’, Bellaterra, Autumn 2008
Invited musicians: Yair Dalal (oud); Dvir Cohen, Erez Shmuel Mounk (perc); Yagel Harel (shofar); Wabab Badarne (qanun); Usama Abu Ali (flutes, ney); Kaled Abu Ali (chant); Razmik Amyan (chant); Gaguik Mouradia (kamancha); Dmitris Psonis (santur, morisca, percussions); Omar Bashir (oud); Fahmi Alqhai (viol); Mutlu Torun (oud); Driss El Maloumi (chant, oud); Khaled Arman (rebab); Siar Hashimi (darbouka); Al-Darwish (Sufi group of Galilee); Les trompettes de Jéricho; La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Hespèrion XXI (Andrew Lawrence-King, Pedro Estevan, Arianna Savall, Pierre Hamon, Montserrat Figueras...).