Gyora Novak: The Jews Of York
Label: Claudio Records
Gyora Novak; Rohan McCollough; Idit Arad; Nicholas Hill; David Watkin; Catherine Butler-Smith; Robert Truman; ChrisBrannick
During the course of one day, the 17th of March 1190, all the Jews living in the city of York were killed. The attacks on the Jews that had begun six months earlier outside London’s Westminster Abbey during Richard the Lionheart’s coronation culminated that day the following March in their being set upon by their neighbors. The survivors fled to the Tower of York, where, after much deliberation, those who’d survived the attack’s first waves offered farewells and prayers before committing suicide, in all likelihood the adult males killing the women and children, then setting fire to the tower, killing themselves. No trial was ever held; no one was ever punished; no requiem was ever sung. Written to be performed only once to mark the 805th anniversary of the tragedy, The Jews of York, A Lament and Kaddish, is equally divided into 18 parts for a male baritone speaking and 18 parts for female mezzo soprano singing. Gyora Novak chose five instruments to accompany the lament and devised an "emotional graph" to guide the listener through the build-up to the agonizing climax and on to the resolution towards understanding, forgiveness, remembrance and prayer. The celebrated harpist David Watkins collaborated with Gyora by writing the instrumental arrangements.