'Martyr' was commissioned by St. Albans Chamber Choir in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of their founding. It was premiered by the St Albans Chamber Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in St. Albans Abbey on 24th January, 2009 under the direction of John Gibbons.
'Martyr' was written as a counterpart to Haydn's 'Missa in Angustiis' ('Nelson' Mass), using the same orchestration as Haydn's original version. in venues where an organ is present, the optional organ part should always be used. The four SATB solo parts should be performed by a group of singers placed to the side or to the front of the orchestra, away from the main chorus. Although written with individual 'professional' solo voices in mind, the solo parts may also be performed by a semi-chorus with, for example, two or three voices to a part.
The central a cappella section can be performed as a stand-alone piece entitled 'Martyr Dei'.