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One World, Karl Jenkins’s most recent large-scale work for voices and orchestra, will be premiered in June 2023 and released on a new recording by Decca Records. The Stay At Home Choir has issued a call for singers to sign up to rehearse and record two movements of the new recording during September 2022.

Decca Records has announced a new album from Karl Jenkins, one of the world’s most-performed living composers. The album presents his latest work One World, commissioned by Nicol Matt, founder and artistic director of the World Choir for Peace. The release will coincide with the score’s world premiere at a concert on 3 June 2023 in Hannover, a highlight of the German Choir Competition (Der Deutsche Chorwettbewerb) event organised by the German Music Council.

The World Choir for Peace was founded in 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War when Jenkins conducted a commemorative performance of his The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace in Berlin with a choir of 2000 singers from 30 countries.

As with that concert, the choir is joined in this new work by the World Orchestra for Peace, co-founded by Georg Solti and Charles Kaye in 1995 to reaffirm “the unique strength of music as an ambassador for peace”.

These illustrious ensembles are joined for two movements by the Stay At Home Choir, a global choral community formed during the first Covid-19 lockdown to bring singers together, digitally, during a time of isolation. The virtual ensemble has already formed a strong connection to the music of Jenkins; their 2020 video performance of The Armed Man amassed over 5000 singers in a powerful online singalong hosted by Classic FM (watch here).

One World deals with a fractured world (populist governments, plagues, climate change, human trafficking, disrespect for basic human rights, terrorism, war) and heralds a vision of a peaceful and egalitarian planet. The work is best encapsulated by one of the texts set: ‘Tikkun Olam’, Hebrew for ‘repair the world’, a Jewish concept of stewardship over God’s creation.

The music is scored in Jenkins’s inimitable style familiar from such works as Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, Requiem and The Peacemakers. To create his global vision for One World, he takes inspiration from texts as diverse as the Bible, the Hindu Gayatri Mantra, the poetry of the English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, African American abolitionist and suffragist poet Frances Harper (c.1850) and Lebanese American writer, poet and artist Kahlil Gibran. As in many of Jenkins’s works, Carol Barratt contributes some impactful text (including for the movement Paradise Lost?), as well as various adaptations.

The combined orchestral and choral forces, with baritone Roderick Williams, soprano Lucy Crowe and mezzo Kathryn Rudge as soloists, are conducted by Karl Jenkins, in collaboration with Artistic Director of the World Choir for Peace, Nicol Matt.

> Pre-order the Decca recording

Karl Jenkins says, “In 1998, I was commissioned to write a piece, The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, that was to herald a new millennium with the hope of a lasting period of peace. The war in the Balkans was happening while I was composing, which is why I dedicated that work to the victims of Kosovo.

“I began One World during the first UK COVID lockdown in 2020. Progress was slow and I had a nagging concern that issues raised in the work would be irrelevant by the time of the premiere and record release, in 2023. Twenty odd years since writing The Armed Man, and three thousand performances later, little has changed and if anything, the global situation has worsened; another war in Europe and a fractured world in so many ways.

'tukkin olam' - repair the world.”

Nicol Matt (Artistic Director of the World Choir for Peace) says, "For me as the commissioner of the magnificent One World, a personal dream comes true. It’s a special honour to collaborate with this outstanding composer, Karl Jenkins, in the creation of this new major work. His music offers a powerful contribution to heal the world. I look forward very much to its premiere with the wonderful World Orchestra for Peace and my choir, the World Choir for Peace, under the baton of the composer. May it go on to fulfil its mission in countless performances worldwide!"

Charles Kaye (Director and General Manager of the World Orchestra for Peace) says, "The World Orchestra for Peace and the 68 players from 28 countries who join Karl Jenkins for One World share his vision and hope for this new work. As its concertmaster Krzysztof Wisniewski has touchingly expressed, ‘Karl's music has captivated me for many years and therefore it is a personal privilege to be in at the ‘sound birth’ of this new masterpiece. It was very exciting for us to help bring this new creation, with its hopes for peace and world unity, to life. During such times as those in which we live, the emotional message through his music is needed more than ever’."

Anyone can join the Stay At Home Choir for the One World project regardless of singing experience, learning tracks, resources and teaching support are available, and there is no audition. Rehearsals will take place over three weeks in September 2022 and will include sessions with Karl Jenkins as well as sectionals and tutti rehearsals. Submissions will be due in October 2022, and all submitted vocals will be included on the final Decca Records album release. Please visit www.stayathomechoir.com for more information.

Boosey & Hawkes will release the vocal score of One World in advance of the premiere performance next June. For other publications by Karl Jenkins available on sale, view here.

>  Further information on Work: One World

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