Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It Isn't Lent, but ...

... but you really have to listen to a recording of Joseph Hadyn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ.

You didn’t know Papa Haydn wrote serious stuff, did you?  Except maybe for his Creation (which is still perhaps a bit too “pretty” to be altogether serious—angels singing lines like “With verdure clad the fields appear”? I ask you!), and maybe his Nelson Mass.  Well, The Seven Last Words of Christ is different.

Haydn wrote several versions of the piece, the first being an orchestral work commissioned for a 1783 Good Friday service.  In 1787 Haydn produced a version for string quartet; finally, almost twenty years later in 1789, he turned out an oratorio.  It’s the oratorio that you’ll find below, in a version conducted by Harnoncourt (all apologies for the ads).

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