The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes is an oddity in biblical terms.

It contains no stories, no prophecy, no rules for a godly life.

It is an essay on the human condition which attempts to reconcile philosophy and faith.

The first performance of a new oratorio based on Ecclesiastes took place on 30 July 2016.

Graham P Andrew © 2015

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1a. Introduction 1b. Overture 2. A New King 3. Chasing the Wind
4. A Great King 5. God Sets the Time 6. A Frustrated King 7. Injustice
8. A Desperate King 9. Don’t Make Rash Promises 10. Riches 11. Eat, Drink and Enjoy Yourself
12. A King in his Prime 13. Wisdom 14. More Bitter than Death 15. A Lost King
16. Do What the King Says 17. Life 18. Wisdom and Foolishness 19. A Philosophical King
20. You Never Know 21. Advice to the Young 22. Enjoy Life; Revere God

As material for an oratorio, Ecclesiastes lacks a key ingredient - a storyline.   To fill this space I have embellished the philosopher's time as king, linking the philosophical sections with the story of an 'everyking'.   The king's story is told in flashback to link the biblical writer's commentary on life and God.

The tenor soloist plays the role of the king, while the baritone plays the philosopher.   For the sake of balance and variety, a queen is added to the mix.   The mezzo-soprano soloist takes on some of the philosphical arias and jousts with the philosopher on the subject of relations between the sexes.

This oratorio is in two parts and each part will take about forty minutes to perform.   It is intended for performance in a concert hall or large church, preferably with a large chorus and orchestra.   The first performance will use a reduction of the full score for piano (four hands) and percussion.

Scriptures quoted are from the Good News Bible © 1994 published by the Bible Societies/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd UK, Good News Bible© American Bible Society 1966, 1971, 1976, 1992   Used with permission.