Libretto

Composer's Notes

Each of the pieces which were included in the "Songs of Worship from the 'Jerusalem Passion'" anthology (which preceded the hard-cover score by a couple of years) have a more detailed set of notes written by the composer; in each case a link is provided to a page which accesses those more detailed comments. Each link will return to this page after reading.

Each of the pieces in that earlier anthology is arranged for soloist and choir with piano accompaniment. Basic guitar chords are included, and these provide the basis for improvised accompaniments by rhythm and bass guitars, as well as other instruments.


1. The Overture

The two central musical themes are introduced... the haunting 'weep' theme associated with the earthly Jerusalem, first stated by the french horn, and the A Minor theme of the New Jerusalem, first stated in the pipe organ solo. The opening choral anthem takes the challenging words from The Revelation - ‘He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches’. Those who overcome are promised ‘the name of the city of God, the New Jerusalem’.


Part 1
THE EARTHLY JERUSALEM


2. Sweet Galilee
3. Galilee

This narration and soprano aria describe the land and time of Christ's popularity, which He must soon leave behind for the harshness of Jerusalem.


4. One Shepherd, One Flock.
5. The Shepherd’s Song

The Good Shepherd laments over the condition of His sheep, but looks beyond the giving of His life to the time when His sheep will hear His voice and gather together as one flock.


6. They shall be One

The ‘pastorale’ flute solo sets the scene for the processional anthem, which describes the gathering together of His sheep from every nation and tribe, from every mountain and valley. This future gathering will be made possible through the laying down of Christ’s life.
a more detailed analysis of what the composer felt when he composed the previous piece may be read by pressing here.



7. Galilee Farewell
8. Jerusalem Entry

Christ must now face the city of His destiny, the city that will soon be made desolate for her rejection of Him. ‘Weep, and weep, and weep, and cry, for Jerusalem’.


9. My Temple: My Body
10. Last Supper

The disciples are told of His coming passion, and of the destruction of the earthly temple in preparation for the raising up of the new temple, which is His body. They are introduced at the ‘last supper’ to the elements of participation in His broken body and shed blood.
a more detailed analysis of what the composer felt when he composed the previous piece may be read by pressing here.



11. In Your Name

Jesus then prays for His disciples of all ages, that the Father will keep them in His name and make them one just as He and the Father are one. Jesus then prays for His disciples of all ages, that the Father will keep them in His name and make them one just as He and the Father are one. The depth of this timeless prayer is translated into the confident certainty of the unity for which He prayed.
a more detailed analysis of what the composer felt when he composed the previous piece may be read by pressing here.



12. The Cup
13. Gethsemane

The Son proceeds to the garden called Gethsemane where He must take from His own Father ‘the cup’ of the sin of mankind. ‘If it be possible...’ He cries, but ‘nevertheless...I’ll take the cup’. Thus commences His solemn anguish.


14. The Trial

Faced with an unique personal, religious and political conflict, Pilate tries three times to release Christ, but is told by the Jews that they '...have a law, and by that law He must die!' We are left to ponder the tragedy that the very law given by God, had, in the hands of men, become the means of rejecting and destroying the truth.


15. O Lamb, most pure

As an elegy for Christ’s death, the soloist laments the death of the Saviour of the world. The spotless Lamb of God is lifted up; now we see His face and adore Him, with a humility and reverence echoed in the ‘consummation’ harp postlude.
a more detailed analysis of what the composer felt when he composed the previous piece may be read by pressing here.



16. Forsaken and Finished

The dismay and anguish of the watching crowd and the unbelief of the thief beside Him are echoed in the chorus 'O Jesus, Saviour, come down from that cross...' Even greater is Christ's own anguish, as He is encompassed by the pains of hell, as well as the awesome agony of the Father's rejection. With His suffering complete, He finally cries 'It is finished!'


17. Consolation Prelude

The final tension and then the resolution of all universal conflicts are conveyed by the agitated development of the 'weep' theme which resolves into the tenderness of the 'consolation' melody, 'For You are My Rock...'


18. The Consolation

The faith of His commitment to the Father, and the ecstacy of His consolation in the Father’s bosom are expressed in both the arioso and the chorale ‘Into Your Hands I commit My Spirit’.
a more detailed analysis of what the composer felt when he composed the previous piece may be read by pressing here.


19. The Testimony of John
20. Out of His Side

The apostle John, in his gospel account, surprises us with a further point of emphasis - 'and He who saw it has borne witness... and his testimony is true... so that you may believe'. He comments on the 'blood and water' which flowed from the pierced side, and thus prompts us to consider the hope of a perfected church for Christ's return, a glorious bride city that the scriptures call the 'New Jerusalem'.


Part 2
THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM

21. Resurrection Prelude
22. The Temple Shall be Raised

The victory of the resurrection is first announced in the pipe organ prelude, then in the choral anthem. An essential Christian understanding is woven into this anthem, that when the physical body of Christ was raised after three days, this resurrected body included all those through the ages who would become members of Christ through faith. This body, or temple, replaced the physical temple in Jerusalem as the centrepiece of the covenant.


23. Searching for the body

Composer’s notes

A ritual dance called ‘searching for the body’ is still performed in Jerusalem to this day.Those involved act out the disciples’ search in the empty tomb. Against the background of this ritual, this contralto ballad carries us down through the ages of mankind’s search for the true body of Christ, and for the reality of Christ’s presence.


24. My Body: My People
25. Where are the eagles?

Where is the body? Where is His temple? What is the New Jerusalem? For whom has He wept and cried? In the soliloquy, the violin reflects on the themes and leads us to the answer - His people, the eagles. Eagles are used in the scriptures as symbolic of believers. The fact that they are creatures of vision that feed on a slain body, provides the background to the poetic question ‘where are the eagles?’ The narrator declares that ‘eagles’ know where the body of Christ is. It is to be found where believers gather as the living body to partake of the broken body of Christ. ‘Where are the eagles?’ .... where are those whose instinct is to gather in unity as the body of Christ; why don’t they see and fly home?
a very more detailed analysis of what the composer felt about the topic of 'eagles' - which has been woven into the work - may be read by pressing here. This topic has been the subject of a huge amount of correspondence received by the composer, and by Vision One.



26. Gather Now
27. Hope of Unity

It is the time for God’s people to come together and express the unity of the body of Christ. The chorale declares the certain hope of such a unity.
a more detailed analysis of what the composer felt when he composed the previous piece may be read by pressing here.



28. Heaven Coming Down
29. Jerusalem Come Down

The same John who saw the pierced side yield blood and water, also described the New Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, adorned as a bride for Christ. (Rev 21). Such is the imminence of the coming of the New Jerusalem, that we are urged to pray and call to the heavens 'Jerusalem, come down'.


30. Christ Your Passion

When the passion of Christ for His people, for the New Jerusalem, becomes our passion, then the words of this commitmemnt chorale indeed become our song - 'Christ Your passion has become our passion...'



31. Communion Chorus

In the certain hope of Christian unity, this celebration anthem looks forward to when believers will be able to eat and drink at one table of friends; no longer divided by separate doctrinal distinctions and traditional divisions; whereupon the blood of Christ, the royal blood, will be able to flow and bring life to the world.
a more detailed analysis of what the composer felt when he composed the previous piece may be read by pressing here.


Created 8th August 1998
Edited 15th August 2003