|For five soloists, speakers, three mixed choirs and orchestra. Performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir Warsaw.
"Krzysztof Penderecki first passed through the seven gates of Jerusalem in 1974 during an unofficial visit to Israel, which at the time was off limits owing to military conflicts with the Arabs. The Holy Land impressed the composer deeply, especially because he felt he was retracing Christ's steps. In 1995, Penderecki received a commission to compose a work for the celebration of the third millenium of Jerusalem. Penderecki, who had already composed five symphonies and planned out his sixth in concept, decided in favor of a new vocal work and chose for its theme and title Seven Gates of Jerusalem.
It was premiered on January 9, 1997 in Jerusalem, and subtitled Symphony No. 7. The number seven has long fascinated Penderecki. For The Seven Gates he wrote seven movements. The main theme of each of the respective movements II and IV has seven different notes that serve as the motif for their passacaglia-like structures. Again and again, one finds in the score distinctly emphasized groups of seven notes, repeated on a single pitch. Finally, there are the seven powerful fortissimo chords that end the seventh and final movement.
Wergo's CD is accompanied by lavish and extensive liner notes, including an essay by Wolfram Schwinger, biographies of the performers, and a full libretto. This world premiere recording was made during a live concert that took place in Vienna on November 16, 1999.