This work is based on the biblical story of the martyrdom of Saint Stephen, traditionally regarded as the first Christian martyr, as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles.
Stephen was a member of the early Church in Jerusalem. He was an inspired and charismatic preacher, but he aroused great hostility among the members of the various synagogues by his teachings, and he was accused of blasphemy. At his trial he looked up to heaven and declared that he saw God in his Glory, with Jesus standing at his right hand. This so enraged the authorities that he was flung from the city and stoned to death. As he died, he prayed that the Lord Jesus would receive his spirit, and that his killers would be forgiven.
In this setting the choir recounts the story in Latin, whilst the solo horn music depicts the violence of the stoning. The work ends with a quotation from Chopin's Ballade No. 2 in F, Op. 38.
Commissioned by the Metropolitan and Cathedral Chapter of St. Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna. First performed on 16th March 2015 at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna, by the Cathedral Choir conducted by Markus Landerer.