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Most often performed in an arrangement for string quartet, this recording of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross is a unique proposition – offering Haydn’s original instrumental meditations alongside their choral counterparts.
Vladimir Jurowski writes ‘I felt it was important to hear the music first in its original shape, and then what it has become…the words are no longer the central focus, but a variation, another layer of pre-existing material.’
This series of seven Easter meditations includes some of Haydn’s most intense and inventive music, evoking the struggle of Christ’s final hours and the solemnity of the church’s Holy Week services.
Recorded live in 2009, the reduced string forces of the London Philharmonic Orchestra combine really well with a lovely sense of ensemble.
‘…a performance of real integrity, Vladimir Jurowski pacing perfectly this predominantly slow, often gravely beautiful music, the use of non-vibrato strings adding a terse, authentic edge.’ Classical Source on The Seven Last Words at London’s Royal Festival Hall, 2009
Franz Joseph Haydn: Die 7 letzten Worte unseres Erlosers am Kreuze (The 7 Last Words), Hob.XX:2
Introduction 1: Maestoso ed adagio
No. 1. Vater, vergib ihnen (Father, forgive them)
No. 2. Furwahr, ich sag' es dir (Verily I say unto you)
No. 3. Frau, hier siehe deinen Sohn (Woman, behold your son)
No. 4. Mein Gott, mein Gott (My God, my God)
Introduction 2: Largo e Cantabile
No. 5. Jesus rufet, Ach, mich durstet (Jesus said, I thirst)
No. 6. Es ist vollbracht (It is finished)
No. 7. Vater, in deine Hande (Father, into your hands)
Il terremoto (The Earthquake)
5th February 2011
“Jurowski, with the LPO and its fabulous choir, offers the best of both worlds, juxtaposing the original instrumental movements with the later choral versions. The result is unexpectedly satisfying: we are never made to feel that the music is “doubling up” in any way...this is a full-bodied performance which nevertheless behaves itself with admirable restraint”
10th February 2011
“ it's nicely done, with some finely detailed playing and choral singing of great warmth and beauty. The quartet of soloists are led by Lisa Milne, suitably ecstatic, and by Christopher Maltman, intense and expressive as always.”
“[Jurowski shows] a vital sense of motion in presenting this music - an essential challenge, given its predominant slowness - as well as pointing up the work's intensity and revealing its inner parts. A strange and solemn extra movement Haydn added for the choral version is particularly potent in his hands.”
“Jurowski's feeling for musical architecture and care for surface detail, matched by his spiritual engagement with Haydn's score, are served by world-class playing and singing of transcendent beauty.”
“Jurowski takes several movements provocatively fast...[his] urgency is vindicated in the despairing fourth Word, with its grinding suspensions, and the violence of No. 5 "I thirst". Here and elsewhere the orchestral palette is aptly lean and astringent, with pared-down string tone and louring natural horns. A word, too, for the superb LPO wind, including a wonderfully pungent contrabassoon.”
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