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Warsaw | The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross


The Jerzy Semkow Polish Sinfonia Iuventus Orchestra under the direction of Paul Esswood will perform Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross Hob. XX / 1A on Holy Wednesday, 17 April 2019, at 7.30 p.m. in the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.

The Gospels convey seven sayings of Jesus uttered while he was dying on the Cross (commonly referred to as ‘the seven words’) – these messages, so significant for Christians, were often reflected upon by theologists and became a topic of homilies as well as musical compositions, mainly oratorios and cantatas. In 1786, Joseph Haydn received an extraordinary commission from Cádiz, a city in Andalusia located at the edge of the coast of Spain. A local clergyman, Don José Sáenz de Santa María, wanted an instrumental composition accompanying prayers and contemplation of ‘the Seven Words’ to be performed at Oratorio de la Santa Cueva in Cádiz on Good Friday the following year. The composer created a piece of art that was highly unconventional and unprecedented: Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze, including seven sonatas written for orchestra (all in slow tempos: adagio, largo, grave and lento) preceded by an introduction and finished with a lively finale, an illustration of an earthquake that followed the death of Christ.

Haydn’s work was a tremendous success – it was performed not only in Cádiz, but also in Vienna, Paris and Berlin. Deeply inspired by the success, the composer soon created a string quarter version (also popular to this day) and, ten years after composing the original, a choral version. During the April concert, the original version of Haydn’s masterpiece written for full orchestra will be performed under the legendary British conductor Paul Esswood.

Admission free!

Media patronage: Polish Music Information Centre POLMIC.

More information at: https://sinfoniaiuventus.pl/