Howard Goodall's King James Bible oratorio to premiere at Westminster Abbey

Howard Goodall's King James Bible oratorio to premiere at Westminster Abbey
Every Purpose Under the Heaven, a new 45-minute oratorio by Howard Goodall is to be premiered in Westminster Abbey, London on Remembrance Sunday, 13 November.

It has been commissioned as a gift from Sir Ewan and Lady Harper to the United Church Schools Trust and United Learning Trust, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.  The oratorio is scored for soprano and tenor soloists, mixed voices and chamber orchestra and sets some of the Bible’s best-loved passages.  The premiere will be conducted by the composer, with performers including Kirsty Hopkins (soprano), Noah Stewart (tenor) and the combined choir and orchestra of the United Church Schools Trust and United Learning Trust.

The ten-movement work will be available for general performance from 2012 onwards. Contact us for perusal materials.

The composer wrote:

“The King James Bible of 1611 is one of the cultural milestones of Western civilisation and its poetic phraseology, its narrative imagery, its ethical dilemmas and its uninhibited spirituality permeate the English language like no other document in history, with the exception of the first folio of William Shakespeare, published at more or less the same time.

Knowing that my 2011 King James Bible Oratorio was intended to reflect the themes of both Old and New Testaments, I set about selecting what I felt were the ten most memorable and powerful passages, then created ten movements from these, working chronologically through from Genesis to Revelation.  The commission was requested and sponsored by Sir Ewan Harper with the express aim that it should be anchored in the language of the King James Bible and be accessible and suitable for young singers, so that a new generation, who might not perhaps have as easy a familiarity with the ringing phrases of the text as their parents and grandparents, might be introduced to it through the expressive power and unabashed sincerity of their own voices.”