Musical settings of The Seven Last Words of Christ

Musical settings of The Seven Last Words of Christ

The Seven Last Words of Christ refers to the seven short phrases uttered by Jesus on the cross, as gathered from the four Christian Gospels. The Crucifixion of Jesus has served as inspiration to a great many visual artists and composers over the centuries. In particular, at least 16 composers have written musical settings of the Seven Last Words, for various combinations of voice and/or instruments. The best known of these settings is probably that by Joseph Haydn, who produced three different arrangements of his own work.

Chronological list of settings

  • Heinrich Schütz's Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz, SWV 478 (1645), German cantata.
  • Joseph Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Christ (1787), an instrumental meditation commissioned for Cadiz in Lent.
    • Haydn's 1801 bilingual German, Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze, and Italian Le sette ultime parole del nostro Redentore in croce choral arrangment for voices and orchestra.
    • Haydn's third and final setting for string quartet
  • Septem ultima verba christi in cruce (Siete palabras de Cristo en la Cruz) (1787), Latin oratorio by Francisco Javier García Fajer

19th Century

  • Le sette ultime parole di Nostro Signore Gesù Cristo The Seven Last Words of Our Savior (1838), oratorio by Saverio Mercadante
  • Les Sept Paroles de Notre Seigneur Jesus-Christ sur la Croix (1855), choral work by Charles Gounod
  • Sept Paroles du Christ sur la Croix (1859), choral work by César Franck
  • Les sept paroles du Christ (1867), choral work by Théodore Dubois

20th Century

  • Sept Chorals-Poèmes pour les sept Paroles du Christ for organ (1935), by Charles Tournemire
  • The Seven Last Words for organ (1965), by Alan Ridout
  • The Seven Last Words for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus and orchestra (1970), by Douglas Allanbrook
  • Sieben Worte for cello, bayan, and strings (1982), by Sofia Gubaidulina
  • Seven Last Words from the Cross, cantata for choir and strings (1993), by James MacMillan
  • Die sieben letzten Worte Jesu am Kreuz for organ (1996), by Ruth Zechlin
  • The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross for SATB choir, baritone soloist, organ, string quartet and trumpet (2009), by Benjamin Cornelius-Bates
  • Seven Last Words, cantata for choir, five soloists and orchestra (2010), by Jerome Malek
  • Logos for unaccompanied choir (2010), by Gareth Wilson

See also


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