Toward a Golden Future, Oratorio for Soprano, Tenor, Baritone, Child’s Voice, Mixed Choir and Wind Orchestra, Op. 103


This oratorio deals with what I believe to be very important developments in recent human history, centered around the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. This event, with everything surrounding it, has been so profound for each and every one of us that I very much wanted to dedicate a musical document to it in the form of an oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra. I discussed this wish with wind orchestra Muziekvereniging Concordia from the Dutch town of Hengelo and their conductor Lute Hoekstra. The idea appealed to them and this resulted in an application for a composition commission from the Dutch Fund for the Performing Arts; an application that, to the delight of all concerned, was granted at the end of October 2023.

A common statement at the beginning of the pandemic was: ‘Things will never be as they were.’ Furthermore, concepts like Build Back Better and Great Reset were being introduced. I found this fascinating: regardless of these slogans, I too had come to the conclusion that humanity is evolving in a way that simply cannot be continued forever. To mention an example: we produce so much plastic, that this will turn against us, some day, one way or the other. And there are more examples: pesticides in our food and farmland, radioactive waste as a by-product of nuclear power, and so on. The time will inevitably come when ‘the shore will make the ship turn’.

This theme runs like a thread through my compositions. An example is the second movement of my first symphony, subtitled From the Diary of Etty Hillesum.[1] This movement is called Systems and is based on the following excerpt from Etty’s diary: ’The terrifying thing is, that systems rise above people and hold people in a satanic grip, designers as well as victims of that system, as great buildings and towers, built by people with their own hands, rise above us at some point, control us and can collapse over us and bury us.’ The way life grinded to a halt after the pandemic outbreak reminded me of this sharp observation.

Immediately after the commission was granted, I set to work intensively, and with me my regular lyricist Franz K. Custos. The first thing that had to be available was an outline of the various movements of which the oratorio would consist, and a draft of the texts to be set to music. While working on this, we discovered all sorts of details about how the people advocating the Build Back Better idea envisioned this ‘better built back’ world. It turned out that their vision is based on quite materialistic thinking; a world of ideas that denies the existence of concepts such as God, the soul, free will or immortality, and sees humans as improvable, ‘upgradable’, by means of the application of modern technology.

Franz Custos and I wanted to contrast this ‘transhumanist’ ideal, as promoted by institutions such as the World Economic Forum and articulated by people like Yuval Harari and Klaus Schwab, with a vision of the universe as described in the Corpus Hermeticum, an ancient text attributed to a certain Hermes Trismegistus: ‘threefold great Hermes’.[2]

What struck me while reading the Hermetic tracts was a certain similarity with, on the one hand, the Hindu-Buddhist view of existence (karma and reincarnation), and on the other hand, with the many near-death experiences as people all over the world have experienced and are still experiencing; experiences that indicate that human beings have a soul that is immortal and that death is just a transition to another form of life. Also, Hermetic philosophy emphasizes that human beings are divine and that there is in fact only one ‘sin’, namely lack of consciousness. Once you really understand how universal laws such as for instance the law of karma work, you won’t even think of deliberately doing things that are damaging for your fellow human beings, and therefore for you yourself as well.

What Franz Custos and I also discovered was that all kinds of prominent people connected to the World Economic Forum were already priming people’s minds for what they call a Great Reset, years before the pandemic broke out. For instance, the now familiar slogan You will own nothing and you will be happy ( dates back to 2016, and is elaborated on in an article by Danish Young Global WEF Leader Ida Auken, also from 2016, with the (original, later modified) title Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better (

We also discovered, that as early as of 2005, several prominent persons have predicted that a pandemic would come. What I was already familiar with, was a report, written in 2010, with the telling title Scenario LOCK STEP, a world of tighter top-down government control and more authoritarian leadership, with limited innovation and growing citizen pushback ( This report describes how a pandemic, supplemented with, among other things, climate change issues, must necessarily result in citizens’ freedoms being – permanently – curtailed. I therefore immediately wrote a cantata in 2020, entitled An Ardent Love Affair, which musically illustrates this Scenario; this in collaboration with American poet Michael R. Burch. A modified version of part of this composition is included in the oratorio, as Movement V: The World Grinded to a Halt, the movement that depicts how ’the pandemic the world had been expecting for years finally struck’.[3]

For the cantata, Michael R. Burch transformed excerpts from Scenario Lockstep into poetry, suitable for setting to music. Similarly, Franz K. Custos transformed public statements by prominent figures in the Netherlands and abroad, as well as excerpts from various public articles, into song lyrics, which I was then able to set to music. However, we wanted to leave one single statement by a prominent figure unchanged: a remarkable assertion by Abraham Kuyper, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905: In every successful attack on freedom, the state can never be an accomplice. The main culprit remains the duty-forgotten citizen himself, who, slacking off his moral muscle in sin and carousal, lost the power of his own initiative. Our current (albeit currently outgoing) prime minister Mark Rutte quoted this statement during the Parliamentary debate of 21 February 2021 (

Franz Custos’ and my efforts eventually lead up to a composition consisting of 11 movements. Here is a summary of them:

I. Prelude, for orchestra
A prelude, with a positive, bright ending, passing into the beginning of this composition’s story
II. A World View, for tenor and orchestra
A summary of the transhumanist ideal image regarding the future of humanity, before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic
III. Hymnus ad Divinum (Hymn to the Divine), for choir and orchestra
As a contrast to the previous movement, elements from the ancient Hermetic philosophy are highlighted here.
IV. Predictions, for soprano, tenor, baritone and orchestra
In addition to various predictions by prominent figures that a pandemic would someday break out, some pre-2020 visions of what some prominent figures believe to be an ideal future for humanity are also featured.
V. The World Grinded to a Halt, for tenor, baritone, choir and orchestra:A brief depiction of what happened when the pandemic broke out, based on excerpts from the accurate description of this in 2010’s Scenario Lockstep
VI. ‘Things will never be as they were’, for tenor, baritone and orchestra
About various measures deemed necessary to combat the virus, complemented by the statement that the pandemic is not just a tragic event, but also a golden opportunity to realize a necessary Great Reset.
VII. ‘The Apex of our Century’, for tenor and orchestra
A euphoric compilation of the transhumanist ideal, this time complete with a vision of an ‘upgraded’, chipped world population
VIII. Over the Top, for choir and orchestra
The various government measures to combat the pandemic inevitably led to occasional hilarious scenes, which we can now look back on with good-natured humor. An anthology.
IX. I’ve Got Climate Change!, for soprano, choir and orchestra
The combination of absurdities and frightening assertions confuses the soprano and the chorus to such an extent that they believe they have contracted the disease Climate Change.
X. Mama, I don’t want to be here, for children’s voice and orchestra
Song of a child, longing for how life used to be before the pandemic outbreak
XI. Towards a Golden Future, for soprano, tenor, baritone, children’s voice and orchestra
I see the transformation humanity is currently in as a kind of birth canal to a new, better world. This is the theme of the final movement, where texts from the Corpus Hermeticum are supplemented by lines of poetry by Franz Custos, who has also added some Latin lines in the spirit of Hermetic philosophy.

To add to this concluding section: I base my view that we will eventually face a golden future partly on the Hermetic ideas, which state that man, consisting of light and life, is in fact divine and the soul immortal. I have also read many books on life after death, such as Life in the World Unseen ( and A Wanderer in the Spirit Lands ( and listened to or read many testimonies of so-called ‘near-death experiences’. According to these books, the collective development of human consciousness will eventually lead to the point that entities that feed off our negative feelings, such as fear, sadness or anger[4], will no longer be able to exist here, for lack of sustenance. To mention an example, one day the insight will come that war can never bring about anything positive because negative energy always leads to negative results. The recently unleashed wars show that we have not yet reached that point. At the same time, things like the greatly increased interest in spirituality show that our collective consciousness is growing, and it is my impression that the pandemic outbreak has given a powerful impetus to this development. All in all, we are not there yet, and it looks like we are in for a difficult time in the short term; but we are nevertheless on the right track.

                                                                                                                                             Eduard de Boer, April 6, 2024

[1] Esther (Etty) Hillesum (15 January 1914 – 30 November 1943) was a Dutch Jewish author of confessional letters and diaries which describe both her religious awakening and the persecutions of Jewish people in Amsterdam during the German occupation. In 1943, she was deported and murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp (

[2] The Hermetic writings have their origin in pre-Christian Egypt, but the ‘tracts’ known today date from the first to third centuries AD, and are strongly influenced by the philosophy of Neoplatonism. A Greek version of the Corpus Hermeticum, was discovered in 1460 by a monk in Macedonia and translated into Latin by Marsilio Ficino a few years later, by order of Lorenzo de Medici. Excerpts from this translation are included in my oratorio.

[3] Cf. p. 18 from Scenario Lockstep: In 2012, the pandemic that the world had been anticipating for years finally hit. (…) This new influenza strain (…) was extremely virulent and deadly. (…) The virus streaked around the world, infecting nearly 20 percent of the global population and killing 8 million in just seven months, the majority of them healthy young adults. The pandemic also had a deadly effect on economies: international mobility of both people and goods screeched to a halt, debilitating industries like tourism and breaking global supply chains. Even locally, normally bustling shops and office buildings sat empty for months, devoid of both employees and customers.

[4] In the Nag Hammadi writings, these entities are called ‘archons’, see for example These entities are also described in the above-mentioned books on life after death, but are not called archons there, since these books predate the discovery of the Nag Hammadi writings.

A vocal score of the oratorio can be seen here.