A new CD released by Eloquentia features violinist Livia Sohn as soloist in Benjamin Britten's Violin Concert, Op 15, paired with Jiyeh, a concerto by Israeli-American composer Jonathan Berger. Written for and premiered by Livia Sohn in 2007, Jiyeh is scored for chamber orchestra, violin, cimbalom, percussion and strings. The album coincides with the ongoing Benjamin Britten centennial celebration.
Benjamin Britten's Violin Concerto (1938-39) was written against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War. The music evokes the composer's abhorrence of fascism. Jiyeh, written by Jonathan Berger almost seventy years after the Britten Concerto, expresses Berger's rejection of war, brutality and inhumanity. "Paired together, these works present musical reflections of a world gone mad-by composers whose aesthetic, while stylistically diverse, share a sensibility of lyricism and expressivity," comments Berger.
Jiyeh is a town on the Lebanese coast built upon the ancient city of Porphyreon. On July 14, 2006, the third day of the military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, a rocket hit the fuel storage area of an aging power station in Jiyeh. The potential ecological disaster of tons of oil spilling into the Mediterranean Sea while the military conflict was escalating became to Berger, "a metaphor of the absurdity and tragedy of this, and of all war."
The Britten Concerto was recorded live in May 2010 at the Teatro Marrucino in Chieti, Italy. Luigi Piovano conducts the Orchestra Sinfonica del Teatro Marrucino di Chieti. Berger's Jiyeh was recorded live in February 2008 at the Banff Centre with Henk Guitttart conducting the Banff Centre Chamber Orchestra.