What a shock that there are still such progressive masterpieces sitting around utterly unknown. At least to me.
My attention was drawn to this by one of those wonderful aforementioned friends who are always finding things I would never have known about, or to put it in his words, "the hungry dog always finds a bone..." And we sure have been ravenous lately with the endless series of library records and fusion opuses, so many dipping their cold toes in the inclement waters of the eighties... Which ironically is exactly what composer Thijs van Leer is doing here, in this work which could easily have been made or written just after his 1975 magnum opus O My Love. (One of my all-time favourites.) Note that he does steal from himself on the one track, the resurrection, using the title track from the prior. I guess we can forgive him that.
Check out the highly progressive material we have on the third track, which starts with the classical flutes weaving a beautiful tapestry, whereupon suddenly the electric guitars intrude in the style of ol' Mike Oldfield:
Wow. One might also mention how similar to Pohjola's composed works this sounds. I mentioned earlier how much I love Thijs for his work arranging Bulgarian-Dutch angel Bojoura in Beauty of Bojoura (wasn't he married to her once too?)-- now some six years ago. (What a lot of previously unknown progressive and beautiful music we've heard in those 6 years.) It's interesting to me as well how successfully the music has been married to the oratorio style. Often there is some spark lacking as I found with another roughly contemporaneous such attempt involving Garfunkel (of all people!) and the great songwriter Jimmy Webb (how could he ever go wrong?) about the Christmas of Animals. An egregious work which shocked me insofar as there is not a hint of the master who wrote MacArthur Park, By the Time I get to Phoenix, Up Up and Away, I'm still Alive, etc., etc. Not to pummel him, esp. since some of the tracks he wrote for Art were some of his most beautiful songs, like on Watermark which was their best collaboration (most people will mention Scissors Cut however), but my point is that these religious works meant presumably for concerts are often lacking spontaneity.
Not this one though. (Nor the Kantata of Siebert.) This is absolutely amazingly magical from beginning to end, a double-LP moreover, and it's shocking to me that I never knew about it despite loving Focus-related artists deeply. Note that it was released to CD in 1990 and thus out of respect for the powers to be the link if there is one permitted will be down very quickly. I'm guessing from the price of the CDs on discogs though these are relatively rare too and must be out of print.
Really stunning music.