America’s Violinist Jenny Oaks Baker will perform her new album, “The Redeemer” at the BYU-Idaho Center tonight. The world premiere of the music coincides with the release of the album on CD and on streaming services.
“It’s really a concert not to be missed,” Baker said. “This is one of my most important concerts of my life, I feel. I just feel like you wouldn’t have wanted to miss the premiere of Beethoven’s 9th (Symphony). If you had lived during Beethoven’s 9th and you just lived down the street from where that was premiered, you wouldn’t have wanted to miss that and I kind of feel that way about this work. I feel like it’s got a really beautiful life ahead of it and this is the beginning and it’s really going to be impactful in the world and I just can’t wait to share it with the people of Idaho.”
Buy tickets to "The Redeemer" concert at the BYU-Idaho Center
Baker says the idea for the album came after listening to the April 2021 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to the conference, she and Bestor had an album planned already. But after the conference, Baker felt it wasn’t the right time for that album. She called Bestor and he suggested an album about the Savior.
The album includes 10 tracks of recognizable hymns, music from Handel’s “Messiah” and new songs from Bestor. Baker says she feels inspired during the creation and recording of each of her albums, but this one was different.
Stream "The Redeemer" on Spotify
“This was more inspiration than I’ve ever felt guiding an album along,” Baker said. “I’m just so grateful to the Lord … this album’s just really special.”
The music includes orchestra and choir, which makes it a perfect fit for the BYU-Idaho Center stage. Baker’s daughter, Sarah, will join the orchestra as the cello soloist. She’s also on the album in “Born This Day” and “Gethsemane.” In “Gethsemane” Baker told Sarah she had to play her best because the cello represents God the Father.
“She pulled it out in the recording, it’s just gorgeous playing. It’s really a privilege to be able to perform with her,” Baker said.
Baker says the music has touched her in a way that few songs have over the years. With 18 solo albums and hundreds of recorded songs, she’s only cried twice while hearing her recordings. The first time was when she heard “Jesus Once Was a Little Child” when the choir came in. The second is with “Gethsemane.”
“I have honestly never cried so much from hearing a piece of music in my life,” Baker said. “I don’t cry when I hear myself play. I hear myself play all the time. But this work, especially that song, are really impactful and it just hit me in the most powerful way I’ve ever experienced just what the Savior did when He suffered for our sins.”
Another song that stands out in the album is “He Lives,” which is the theme from the movie the Church of Jesus Christ produced called “The Lamb of God” back in the 1990s. Bestor composed the original theme for it and Baker asked him to expand it for this album. She wanted him to incorporate the powerful theme over and over again. It’s the final song on the album. It’s also the song Baker produced as a music video, which she released for Easter.
The music video features scenes from the Church’s Bible Videos series. Baker says she wanted to strike a balance where the song didn’t feature her too much, so the emphasis could be on Jesus Christ. That same emphasis is what she hopes for this concert and her new album.
“It’s really special. I know the Lord’s behind it,” she said. “I just want people to experience it. I just want them to because I know it’s impacted me and everyone who’s heard this music.”