Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

This page lists all recordings of String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words', by Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) on CD, SACD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Haydn wrote his 'Seven Last Words' in 1786/87 for Good Friday devotions in Cádiz. Although the custom in Cádiz was to perform an oratorio, Haydn's brief was in fact to write seven movements for orchestra alone, each creating a mood inspired by one of the sayings attributed to the dying Christ. He chose to frame them with a further slow movement called ‘Introduzione’ and a concluding Presto entitled ‘Il Terremoto’, intended to depict the earthquake that occurred after Christ’s death (Matthew 27:51).

This purely instrumental ‘oratorio’ consisting of seven contemplative slow movements was by no means an easy task; but the outcome was a work of sublime nobility, which in Haydn’s own transcription for string quartet has enjoyed unfailing popularity ever since.

It is entirely appropriate that this recording of Haydn’s 'Seven Last Words of Christ' should be performed by the Cuarteto Casals, for the work represents one of the few surviving traces of the composer’s flourishing relationship with Spain, where his music seems quickly to have become as popular as it was in France and Britain. There is footage of excerpts from the 'Seven Last Words' on our harmonia mundi YouTube channel recorded at Oratorio de Santa Cueva, Cadiz, the place for which the work was orginally written.

“The Casals bring a rapt spiritual intensity and high emotional drama to the piece.” Sunday Times, 9th March 2014

“This performance combines devotional gravity, a refined sense of drama and beautifully precise and pure playing.” Financial Times, 13th April 2014

“Using Classical bows, the variety of nuance and colour these players derive from gradations of vibrato and bow pressure alone constitutes a masterclass in quartet playing. Yet it is the sheer intensity and range of expression that transfixes the ear...Truly a revelation.” BBC Music Magazine, June 2014 *****

“Anyone who has encountered previous releases from this group will know what to expect: seriously lean textures, an austere avoidance of vibrato leading to a certain wiriness of sound, an extraordinary clarity of detail and attention to nuance, stark contrasts of staccato and legato, an utter lack of sentimentality that at the same time allows a high degree of expressivity.” International Record Review, May 2014

“The key quality with the Cuarteto Casals is consistent poise - or, rather, poise coupled with a complete understanding of Haydn's textural colouring...The players use a minimal amount of vibrato, reserving it for emotional effect rather than as a standard tool.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2014

GGramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - June 2014

Harmonia Mundi - HMC902162

(CD)

$12.75

(also available to download from $11.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

version by José Peris Lacasa for Mezzo-Soprano & String Quartet


Susanne Kelling (mezzo-soprano)

Henschel Quartett

Spanish composer José Peris Lacasa recently created a new version of Haydn’s “Seven Last Words” in which for the first time the leading part is taken by a solo voice, in this case a mezzo-soprano. The world premiere took place at the Royal Court in Madrid during Holy Week in 2008. It was performed, as it is here, by the award winning Henschel Quartet – a new signing for the Challenge Classics label – on the Spanish court’s unique Stradivarius collection of instruments. The singer is the German mezzo Susanne Kelling.

The Henschel Quartet is a German string quartet comprising the Henschel siblings, Christoph and Markus (violinists) and Monika (violist), and cellist Mathias Beyer-Karlshøj.

The quartet has given many première performances of works of contemporary composers from Günter Bialas to Manfred Trojahn and played premières of recently discovered works of famous past composers. It belongs to the select group of guest ensembles who regularly play at the Spanish royal palace in Madrid and perform concerts on the 4 Stradivarius instruments that belong to the palace. Mezzo-soprano Susanne Kelling was recently named “Cavaliere dell`Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana” O.S.S.I.), the highest decoration recognized to expatriates for outstanding contribution to the Italian people.

“the playing of Henschel Quartet - fierce and wiry in the more rhetorical passages; gently expressive in the more reflective moments - sounds quite fine enough to have stood on its own.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2012 **

“the Henschel Quartet play with fierce commitment. They choose their tempi shrewdly, balancing spaciousness with forward momentum, and are always sensitive to expressive import of the pauses and interrupted cadences so crucial in this music. Burning remorselessly into the strings, they make the final Earthquake more convincing than do most quartets...Susanne Kelling's light mezzo is pleasant enough and she sings with evident feeling.” Gramophone Magazine, October 2012

Up to 25% off Challenge Classics

Challenge Classics - CC72546

(CD)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $12.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Rosamunde Quartett

“This reading is alert not only to musical texture, but to the modulating phrase and the dramaturgy of key changes between movements. The playing is limpid and subtly coloured, sparing of vibrato (in that respect the Rosamunde are heedful of various period-instrument models) and, at the beginning of the third movement, suspended in a sense of rapture. Another imaginative aspect of this performance is the way it reflects the sense of the text, just as Haydn does in those movements that seem to follow the pattern of the words he set. This feeling of narrative is especially keen in the fourth movement, 'Woman, behold thy son!' and the closing 'Earthquake'.
The list of virtues is fairly simple to enumerate: variety and refinement of tone, internal clarity, historical awareness, imagination and a certain poise that not all its rivals can claim in equal measure.
It serves well as a compromise between period-instrument clarity and modern-instrument warmth. Against strong competition its fuller instrumental sonority is marginally to be preferred. A first-rate CD of a wonderful score.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

ECM New Series - 4617802

(CD)

$14.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

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Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Callino Quartet

Joseph Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross is one of the most unusual and remarkable compositions of the Classical period. Performed here by the brilliant Callino Quartet, the piece exists in four different versions and the edition for string quartet, which has a particular purity and intimacy, is the form in which the music is most often heard today. Suffused with profound sorrow and grief but also with strength and hope, The Seven Last Words is a work so deeply moving and contemplative that it has impassioned listeners in all its forms for over 200 years and was considered by the composer himself to be one of his greatest masterpieces.

The Callino Quartet was formed at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival in 1999 and has been delighting audiences ever since with its fresh, enthusiastic interpretations and engaging programmes. The versatility of the quartet has enabled it to cultivate a diverse and challenging repertoire with a thoughtful and historically informed approach to the classical quartet literature. The quartet has worked with numerous contemporary composers and has received many awards including prizes at the Borciani and Tromp international string quartet competitions. The group has performed in many of the world's best concert halls including Wigmore Hall and Carnegie Hall. Violinist, Sarah Sexton, is leader of The Sixteen’s Orchestra.

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Coro connections - COR16152

(CD)

$14.00

Scheduled for release on 31 March 2017. Order it now and we will deliver it as soon as it is available.

The Last Words of Christ: Ebonit Saxophone Quartet

The Last Words of Christ: Ebonit Saxophone Quartet


Haydn:

String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

arranged for saxophones

Reger:

Nachtlied, Op. 138, No. 3

arranged for saxophones

Shostakovich:

String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108: Allegro-Allegretto

arranged for saxophones

Sibelius:

String Quartet in D minor, Op. 56 'Voces Intimae': Adagio di molto

arranged for saxophones

Webern:

Langsamer Satz, (slow movement), Op. post. (1905)

arranged for saxophones


Claron McFadden (voice)

Ebonit Saxophone Quartet

This is a totally original project - brand new arrangements for saxophones of Haydn's Seven Last Words, by the Ebonit Saxophone Quartet, with the addition of music from 20th Century. The famous soprano Claron McFadden recites the words before each movement.

Up to 25% off Challenge Classics

Challenge Classics - CC72701

(CD)

Normally: $15.00

Special: $12.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Transcriptions: Jean-Paul Imbert

Transcriptions: Jean-Paul Imbert


Borodin:

In the Steppes of Central Asia

Cochereau:

Symphonie Improvisée

Haydn:

String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Rachmaninov:

Prelude Op. 3 No. 2 in C sharp minor

Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14

Scriabin:

Étude Op. 2 No. 1 in C sharp minor

Verdi:

Ave Maria (from Otello)

Grand March from Aida

Wagner:

Tristan und Isolde: Prelude to Act 1

Mild und leise 'Isolde's Liebestod' (from Tristan und Isolde)


Jean-Paul Imbert (the organ of Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage, Cannes)

The transcript or reconstitution, this is Mozart noting memory Allegri's Miserere going out from the Sistine Chapel this is Maurice Duruflé transcribing the recordings of Charles Tournemire improvisations, this is John Scott Whiteley reconstructing the internal structure of the chords in the sound flood of the great organ of Notre-Dame de Paris.

The organ, by its huge orchestral resources, is the ideal instrument for these sound adventures, and that of Notre-Dame de Bon Voyage in Cannes has all the necessary range in addition of its great technical possibilities. Thank you to Henri Pourtau, titular organist, having us generously welcomed, and Jean-Cristophe Debély, the harmonist, for having ensured the accuracy of its tuning.

In the first case, it is to rethink a work for musical training to be played by another instrument. In the other it is to rebuild, just by listening faculties, the unwritten score that would have allowed such performance or improvisation. Two difficult exercises, opening the field to the reserves and criticism from those who do admit only the original version.

Borodin, Cochereau, Haydn, Mozart Rachmaninoff, Scriabine, Verdi, Wagner

The most beautiful transcription examples were given by J. S. Bach, adapting to the organ concertos for strings or transcribing himself by transforming a partita for solo violin in a brilliant orchestral sinfonia with trumpets and timpani. It shows freedoms to take with the original text to give the same life to a sentence issued by an animated body as an oboe or flute and rows of static and non-expressive pipes like those of the organ.

BNL - BNL112978

(CD)

$14.00

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Attacca Quartet

Azica Records - Azica71299

Download only from $10.00

Available now to download.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


“A luminous, engrossing performance of Haydn's meditative epic, somehow managing to retain a flow despite rather deliberate tempos.” BBC Music Magazine, December 2014 ****

La Dolce Volta Talich Quartet 1964-2014 - LDV258

(CD)

$9.50

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Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days. (Available now to download.)

Haydn: Seven Last Words & Mozart: Oboe Quartet

Haydn: Seven Last Words & Mozart: Oboe Quartet


Haydn:

String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Mozart:

Oboe Quartet in F major, K370

Hansjorg Schellenberger (oboe)


Daniel Giglberger (violin), Hariolf Schlichtig (viola), Wen-Sinn Yang (cello)

Without any commission or payment, purely for pleasure, W.A. Mozart composed this quartet for a “most esteemed” friend - the most wonderful work that was ever written for the oboe. Mozart always wrote his solo works closely related to the abilities of his performers: Ramm’s playing and virtuosity on the oboe must have really inspired him. After numerous years as resident composer and Director of Court Music at the Esterhazy castle, Joseph Haydn’s fame as a great composer of genius had spread across all of Europe - no wonder, when one considers the consistency with which he developed the form of the symphony and the string quartet in more than 100 works, from “Sturm und Drang” to the beginnings of Romanticism, not to mention his many other creations.

Solo Musica - C130199

(CD)

$14.75

Usually despatched in 2 - 3 working days.

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'

Haydn: String Quartet, Op. 51 'Seven Last Words'


Xenakis Quartet

Urania Leonardo Digital Collection - LDV14012

Download only from $10.00

Available now to download.

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