2014 marked the beginning of a new collaboration for Stephen Layton with Karl Jenkins. The album 'Motets' was released on Deutsche Grammophon on 5th May 2014 and entered the Classical Artist Albums Chart at No. 1 the same week.
A 70th Birthday Celebration
"This album of motets marks the year of my 70th birthday and 50 years of my career in music. A motet is a piece of sacred music for unaccompanied voices. This album includes movements taken from my extended works reconceived for this format, together with some pieces that are newly composed."
The Old and the New
"From The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace I chose Benedictus, Agnus Dei and the closing chorale, God shall wipe away all tears.
Healing Light, Peace, Peace! and Dona nobis pacem are from The Peacemakers.
Pie Jesu and In paradisum are from Requiem.
Ave verum corpus, originally written for Bryn Terfel, is from Stabat Mater. From the same work comes And the Mother did weep, itself an adaptation of Amaté adea from Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary.
I have also revisited Adiemus: Songs of Sanctuary with Cantate Domino and Ave Maria, reworkings of Adiemus and Hymn respectively.
I’ll make music and Laudamus te are from Gloria, while Lullay comes from Stella natalis.
Exsultate, jubilate is based on Palladio, a “retro” instrumental piece inspired by the Italian architect of the same name.
Of the new pieces, The Shepherd and Nunc dimittis are taken from The Healer: A Cantata for St. Luke, which was commissioned by Grayshott Concerts for premiere in 2014.
Locus iste was composed merely a week before this recording..."
"The perfect doorway to what lies inside"
"Late one night in 1997, across a dark and deserted St.Mark’s square, Venice, I saw a painting, lit like a beacon, drawing me inexorably to the window of Galleria ravagnan. It made a deep impression on me, and my musician wife, Carol, remarked that it looked like my music sounded. I returned the next day, bought the painting and began a firm friendship with gallery owner Luciano Ravagnan. on a return visit, a year or so later, I met and befriended the artist, Andrea Vizzini, only for us both to discover that he, not knowing who had bought his painting, had been painting to my music!
The album cover is a painting by this eminent italian artist, titled Il Luogo degli Angeli (“the Place of the Angels”) and, as Stephen Layton remarked, is 'the perfect doorway to what lies inside'."
Recording with Polyphony
Music in Paint: Visualising the Music of Karl Jenkins
Karl Jenkins believes the work of artist Andrea Vizzini provides a pictorial representation of the ethos of his own music work. He describes the music and art as being "of today but with a traditional core".
Polyphony Recording-session photos - All Hallows, Gospel Oak, January 2014