Conductor Xavier Pastrana

Haydn and death

The Ensemble O Vos Omnes and the Quartet Gerhard perform the Austrian composer's Les set últimes paraules de Crist a la creu

Although we are close to Christmas, the main theme of this season at L'Auditori is death, and for this reason, on 13 December the Ensemble O Vos Omnes and the Quartet Gerhard are invited to perform The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross, one of Joseph Haydn's compositions most clearly related to the end of life. Both ensembles will have Roger Illa on fortepiano, in a concert conducted by Xavier Pastrana, which will begin at 7 pm.

Haydn wrote The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross for a 1786 commission which came from the Santa Cueva, near Cadiz, and was performed on Good Friday of the following year. He made different versions between 1787 and 1796: for orchestra, for string quartet, a reduction for piano, and finally, an oratorio with choirs. After an introduction based on the phrase of Jesus "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do", there follow six sonatas in which the composer reviews the other words — or, perhaps, it would be better to call them phrases — that Jesus uttered before he died, such as "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me", "All is fulfilled", or "Father, I entrust my breath into your hands". Each sonata shows different states of mind: grief, maternal companionship, transcendence, suffering. A final "earthquake" closes the composition: the Austrian introduced the only fortississimo of the whole work and wrote that the orchestra should play it "Presto e con tutta la forza".

You can find concert tickets at this link.

Publication date: Tuesday, 06 December 2022
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