Jocelyn Pook’s work for the Brodsky Quartet and mezzo-soprano Loré Lixenberg was commissioned as part of the City of London Festival (23 June – 26 July 2013). The song-cycle is themed around places with walls, linking Derry~Londonderry, the City of London, Utrecht, Berlin, Vienna, Dubrovnik, Nicosia and Jerusalem in creative reconciliation. Overall, the piece aims to reflect the transcendence of and growth beyond such barriers that divide people.
Pook was among the eight composers who contributed to the work, in partnership with local poets or using earlier texts. Pook’s libretto was specially written by Richard Thomas (well-known for writing Jerry Springer: The Opera and Anna Nicole). A theme running through the texts is trees – symbolic of life, freedom, environment, building and peace. The songs were brought together in an interlocking suite of musical material, composed by Nigel Osborne, creating a coherent journey between the styles and characters of the songs and cities.