D.H. Lawrence says in his book Apocalypse that the Book of Revelation had to be included in the New Testament to give the death-kiss to the Gospels. I understand his misgivings but question his approach. The Book of Revelation, on which the Oratorio Apocalypsis Iesu is based, constitutes a powerful symbolical comment on the book of the Christian Bible, and taking it literally (as we all do at some point) will not lead to a better understanding of its message approach its message.
The score of Apocalypsis Iesu, as it stands at present, is the result of seven years of work, experimentation, and study. I did not welcome the idea of writing such a huge work at first, but several occurrences and various circumstances made it almost inevitable to channel the musical creative process in this direction.
The Book of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, and possibly the most difficult to understand, appears to be the one that sets the pace for the things to come, viewed from the narrative perspective of the Bible itself. This circumstance alone seems to call for all of our imaginative capacities, however qualified (intellectual, artistic, or experiential), to be applied. In a world where total destruction is an every-day painful and real possibility, we are in dire need to inquire into the deeper motives of our mind and soul: the Book of Revelation is a testimony to the apocalyptic side of the human presence on this planet.
On a personal note, in the summer-autumn period of 2010 my mind was brimming with music, but the idea of writing for small forces (and idea I had imposed on myself for years) would do no longer. I aimed to write a mass, a work of homage and gratitude, but the few sketches (Kyrie, Gloria, Agnus Dei) were promising but non productive. It was almost by coincidence, if such a thing really exists, and exasperation that one cold and clear-sky autumnal day, sitting down on the top floor of the Estonian National Library (in the music section, from where you can clearly see in that season the city’s skyline) I finally gave in and commenced the project. There, in front of me, seven churches raised their pinnacles and domes towering up to the sky. This was not coincidence, I felt (my mind, I suppose, still toying with the idea of dropping the project). Nevertheless I came back to the library fully armed with resignation and a slight disbelief. I sat down and said, perhaps to myself, or perhaps not: “I will write the music, but You dictate it.”
There is no cheating in this music, no technique in place to write it faster, the same that there is no arrogance in the task. A good deal western music is represented in the score, and many composers are honored within; but there is neither collage nor plagiarism. A multitude, kaleidoscopic musical forms, devices, manners, gestures, moods, harmonies, and plethora of all things musical are blended in this sonic alembic.