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The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross

By Franz Joseph Haydn

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SATB vocal soli, SATB chorus, piano
Composed by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809). Edited by Wilhelm Weismann. Choral Works (inc. Oratorios). (Text Language: German). Choral. Piano/Vocal Score. Duration 00:35:00. Edition Peters #EP1371. Published by Edition Peters (PE.EP1371).

Item Number: PE.EP1371


As the composer explained this work: Some fifteen years ago I was requested by a Canon of Cadiz to compose instrumental music on the seven last words of Our Savior on the Cross. It was customary at the Cathedral of Cadiz to produce an oratorio every year during Lent, the effect of performance being not a little enhanced by the following circumstances. The walls, windows, and pillars of the church were hung with black cloth, and only one large lamp hanging from the center of the roof broke the solemn darkness. At midday, the doors were closed and the ceremony began. After a short service the bishop ascended the pulpit, pronounced the first of the seven words (or sentences), and delivered a discourse thereon. This ended, he left the pulpit and fell to his knees before the altar. The interval was filled by music. The bishop then in like manner pronounced the second word, and then the third, and so on, the orchestra following on the conclusion of each discourse. My composition was subject to these conditions, and it was no easy task to compose seven adagios lasting ten minutes each, and to succeed each other without fatiguing the listeners; indeed, I found it quite impossible to confine myself to the appointed limits. (The work was commissioned in 1787 for the Good Friday Service at the Grotto Santa Cueva near Cadiz in southern Spain; Haydn added vocal parts to the orchestral work between 1795 and 1796, and published a version for String Quartet -- Peters Edition EP289E)

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