A CANTATA reflecting on the Holocaust is to be performed with an orchestra - more than 40 years after it was written by a musician who fled Nazi Germany as a child.

Rudi Leavor escaped Germany aged 11 with his parents and sister in 1937, and later became Chairman of Bradford Synagogue. In 1977 he re-arranged six songs sung by the Synagogue choir and added words. Written in pencil, the arrangements were kept in a drawer for four decades. Now the cantata is to be performed with the Airedale Symphony Orchestra at two concerts.

"Having sung in the Synagogue choir for many years, some of them doubling as conductor, it occurred to me that some of the songs were of superb quality and it was a pity that only worshippers could hear them," said Mr Leavor. "I decided to select six, arranged them with subtle variations and linked them with interludes, prelude, postlude and recitatives with words in 'telegram form' telling the outline story of the Holocaust."

Despite never studying composition, Mr Leavor completed Enosh ('Mankind'), a 35-minute cantata for mixed chorus, a large orchestra and soprano soloist. Enosh consists of six songs by other composers, re-arranged with some of Mr Leavor's own music.

"The piece uses traditional Jewish melodies and texts as a choral framework," he said. "The soprano's English-language narrative and the orchestra's interludes address themes that are universal, and of equally vital importance today as they have ever been - the yearning for freedom, the fate of the refugee, the dangers of despotism and tyranny, the search for a deeper meaning to human life."

This week sees the premiere of Enosh with an orchestra, celebrating the end of a 42-year wait for Mr Leavor to hear his music in its full glory. "Enosh was resurrected some years ago and performed with a piano," he said. "Over recent months it has been transferred to a computer and now, for the first time, it will be performed in its original full orchestral scoring."

After settling in Bradford, Mr Leavor attended Bradford Grammar School and later graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in dentistry. In 1975 he became Cantor, as well as President and Chairman of the Bradford Reform Synagogue. In 2017 he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his work strengthening bonds between Jewish and Muslim communities in Bradford.

* Enosh will be performed at Bradford Grammar School on Saturday at 7pm and St George's Church, Leeds, on Tuesday, July 9 at 7.30pm. For tickets call 07985 004362 or visit tinyurl.com/Enosh-Tickets-2019