Symphony No. 2, 'Apocalypsis'

Concert Band with SSAATTBB Chorus
(Level: Advanced) 

View text with translation

Apocalypsis is the name of the Book of Revelation in Latin. I had always wanted to write something for chorus and wind ensemble and I had originally conceived this as a much smaller work. As I was composing I quickly realized that it was begging to become something much larger and more complex. In writing this I was inspired by Revelation's message of hope and redemption along with the music of Giuseppe Verdi and Benjamin Britten.

The first movement is a Dies Irae from the Catholic requiem mass (with truncated text). It is representative of the number seven, which is very important in Revelation: the Tribulation is seven years long and God's judgments come in sets of seven. There are seven major sections (the introduction/invocation, the Dies Irae, the Quantus Tremor, the Tuba Mirum, the Quid sum Miser, the Rex Tremendae, and the Lacrimosa).

Movement two is titled Paean, which is a song of triumph. The text is taken directly from the Vulgate (the Latin bible). It opens with a characterization of the beast, and goes on to describe the war that the Antichrist and the beast prosecute upon the world. The choir sings an a capella section telling of the appearance of Christ on a white horse, and the ensemble rejoins them as God's armies fight back and repel the beast and his armies. As the music comes to a climactic ending, the earth is reborn in God's victory. Movement two is dominated by the number three (supremely important in Christian numerology, representing the trinity), which comes to the fore more and more as the symphony nears its end and God's final triumph approaches. The finale also uses J.S. Bach's chorale BWV 310, Es wird schier die letze Tag herkommen, which roughly translates to "the last day has almost come."

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