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The Living Last Words (A Dramatic Musical Experience for Holy Week). Composed by Ruth Elaine Schram. For SATB choir, piano, narrator (with optional orchestration (instrumental accompaniment)). Cantatas. Holy Week, Sacred. Choral octavo. Published by Lorenz Publishing Company (LO.55-1134L).
In this dramatic and powerful work, Ruth Elaine Schram imagines the responses of other witnesses at Calvary, creating short dramatic monologues for each: the contemptuous soldier; the crucified thief's sympathetic sibling; the scornful priest; the anguished shepherd; the grieving mother of Christ; and the heartbroken disciple, searching for answers. Her remarkable score conveys Christ's words deftly and passionately, and the music is both tuneful and easily prepared. Appropriate for choirs of all sizes, it offers a small orchestra accompaniment for larger choirs and an intimate instrumental reduction to accompany smaller choirs. This selection offers additional flexibility with two options for the conclusion. For Lent and Holy Week, performances can end contemplatively with the congregation singing the beloved folk hymn "What Wondrous Love Is This," while an alternate triumphant chorus of "Alleluias" is perfect for Easter worship.