First heard in July 2018, Richard Danielpour’s long-gestated The Passion of Yeshua (“A Dramatic Oratorio … telling of the final hours of Christ on Earth”) has about it a direct and universal appeal that can be deeply affecting and spiritually rewarding. JoAnn Falletta, who led the premiere in Oregon, has now recorded it with her Buffalo Philharmonic (in April last year), one of the work’s co-commissioners. Danielpour sets his own adaptations of sacred texts (the Hebrew and English words are included in Naxos’s booklet) in a manner that is powerfully sincere; and if the 100-minute opus is mostly slow-moving (with dramatic outbursts and Part One ends in a high-spirited manner that would fit Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms) there is also a palpable sense of theatre to underpin his engagingly expressive writing that avoids cliché. Falletta believes The Passion of Yeshua is “a classic for all time” and conducts it accordingly, drawing a dedicated response from her Orchestra and also its associated Chorus as well as the UCLA Chamber Singers. There are six solo voices, all in named roles, and each is noteworthy, including Kenneth Overton (Yeshua), J’Nai Bridges, and the boundary-crossing Hila Plitmann (high notes are not a problem for her). I found The Passion of Yeshua to be compelling – on its own terms as a musical experience and in this wonderful performance. It is no doubt coincidence that Naxos’s release coincides with the Covid-19 pandemic, but it could not be timelier or more significant in terms of music as our saviour. You don’t need to be religious to appreciate it. With excellent/atmospheric sound, The Passion of Yeshua can be found on Naxos 8.559885-86 (2 CDs).