The Temple of Solomon - Andrew Downes (1950 - )

This Cantata for Baritone Solo, SATB Chorus and Brass Band was commissioned by the Birmingham Festival Choral Society with funds made available by West Midlands Arts.
Andrew Downes completed this work in on January 5th 1980. To mark the restoration of Birmingham Cathedral, Andrew Downes chose words from the authorised version of the First Book of Kings and the Second Book of Chronicles describing the building of the first temple in Jerusalem. The words of Solomon, King of Israel, are sung by the Baritone soloist, the choir's role being to decribe the events.
The work opens with the solemn statement by Solomon ordering the building to fulfil the Lord's prophecy to King David. In a rapid section, the chorus excitedly describe the materials used in the construction, and expansively relates how the priest bring the Ark of the Covenant into the Holy of Holies.    
Solomon now humbly prays to the Lord to accept the temple as His dwelling-place. With joy, the chorus describe how the glory of the Lord filled the house as in a cloud, and that Levites and Priests with trumpeters and singers praised the Lord.
An ecstatic setting of Psalm 150 follows, and the work ends peacefully with soft unaccompanied voices weaving their praises into infinity.

 Cynthia Downes


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