Apocalypsis

Apocalypsis. A musical/theatrical pageant in two parts by R. Murray Schafer requiring approximately 500 performers. Part 1: John's Vision employs Psalm 148 and text from the book of Revelation adapted by Schafer, bp Nichol, Paul Dutton, Steve McCaffery, and Leo del Pasqua. Approximately 65 minutes in duration, John's Vision dramatically portrays the cataclysmic events described in the last book of the Bible with a cast that includes 6 choruses (men's, women's, children's, speech, and 2 mixed choruses), 4 instrumental groups, organ, tape, and soloists (5 singers, 3 'sound poets,' dancers, and mime artists). Because of the spatial separation of the various vocal and instrumental choirs throughout the auditorium, Part 1 requires six conductors who are themselves under the direction of a centrally-located principal conductor. Banners, slide projections, and short film clips are also used in Part 1. Part 2: Credo, approximately 45 minutes in duration, is a serene and ecstatic meditation on the majesty of God for 12 mixed choirs and tape or synthesizer (with optional strings and/or synthesizer); the 12 choirs are to be positioned in a circle around the audience. The text to Part 2 is Schafer's adaptation of one of the Dialogues of the medieval philosopher Giordano Bruno. In Apocalypsis Schafer parallels the numerology employed in Revelations with use of the number 7 for structural features of Part 1 and the number 12 for Part 2. Commissioned by the CBC in 1976, Apocalypsis was premiered at Centennial Hall in London, Ont, 28 Nov 1980 as part of the city's 125th anniversary. A co-production of the CBC, the London SO (Orchestra London Canada), and the University of Western Ontario, a second performance given the following day was recorded for broadcast 1 Dec 1980 on the CBC program 'Arts National'. Joining the London SO's Sinfonia and numerous choral and instrumental groups from the university were the London Pro Musica, the Fanshawe Concert Singers, the Monsignor Feeney Choir, and from Toronto, members of the Hart House Chorus and the RCMT Chamber Singers. Directed by the composer, choreography was by Sallie Lyons, and costumes and sets were designed by Margaret Stephenson Coole and Marian Spanjerdt. Simon Streatfeild was the principal conductor for Part 1 and Deral Johnson conducted Part 2. Soloists included the sound poets bp Nichol, Paul Dutton, and Steve McCaffery as John of Patmos, the Archangel Michael, and the Antichrist respectively, soprano Jean Stilwell as the Old Woman, and dancer Judy Jarvis as the Whore of Babylon. William Littler called London's gala presentation of Apocalypsis 'one of the most spectacular events in the history of Canadian music'. The score to Part 1 and Part 2 are published separately and available through Schafer's Arcana Editions (Part 1, 1981; Part 2 1986).