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In this, Stephen's third collaboration with Birtwistle, Jacob wrestles with Yahweh's Angel.
If man does not fight his god, how will he ever know him?
Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts - tenor - Jacob
Andrew Watts - counter-tenor - The Angel
London Sinfonietta conducted by David Atherton
Music - Harrison Birtwistle
Libretto - Stephen Plaice
Proms Saturday Matinée
UK première Saturday August 20th 2011
The image of Jacob wrestling with the Angel is one of the most resonant in world literature. Harrison Birtwistle saw it in his mind's eye, asked Stephen Plaice to open it out into a libretto - and wrote his cantata Angel Fighter to a commission for the Leipzig Bachfest. Its British première at the Proms Saturday Matinée revelaed this 'dramatic episode from Genesis' to be a bold and startling recreation of the Biblical incident. Plaice's pungent words include the novelty of Enochian language the pre-lapsarian angelical language recorded in the journals of Dr Dee. The Angel tells Jacob 'If man does not fight his God, how will he ever know him?' ... David Atherton directed his forces with all the clarity and high drama of the work itself.
Hilary Finch, The Times