Knut Nystedt (1915-2014) was a key figure both as a composer and a conductor for the better part of the last century. As a conductor he founded the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir, a very much sought after ensemble today. For Nystedt’s 85th birthday in 2000, he received a commission from the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra for a really large-scale piece; song soloists, big chorus and orchestra. The result was Apocalypsis Joannis, inspired by the texts in The Revelation of St. John.
The piece is divided into four parts:
Pars I is inspired by chapter 22,13: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end”.
Pars II is from 11,19: “And God’s temple in heaven was opened…”.
In Pars III the text is inspired by a letter about Christ by the martyr Ignatius from the year 107 ad: “He is the Word which came forth from silence”.
Pars VI is introduced by the words: “The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever”.