excerpt Archive

The Last Words of Christ (REGER, HAYDN, WEBERN & Others – Ebonit Sax Q. – Challenge Classics

The Last Words of Christ (REGER, HAYDN, WEBERN & Others – Ebonit Sax Q. – Challenge Classics

Ebonit Saxophone Quartet – The Last Words of Christ – REGER/HAYDN/WEBERN/SIBELIUS/SHOSTAKOVICH – Challenge Classics multichannel SACD CC72701, 53:13 (2/3/16) ****: (Simone Muller, soprano saxophone/ Dineke Nauta, alto saxophone/ Johannes Pfeuffer, tenor saophone/ Paulina Marta Kulesza, baritone saxophone/ Claron McFadden, voice) A nearly successful  attempt at solemnity. In 1786 a work by Joseph Haydn premiered in Cadiz, Spain. The occasion was Good Friday Service in a “subterranean” cathedral. According to reports made to Haydn, the church was darkened and a priest flung himself before the altar and uttered the first word of the seven last sentences spoken by Jesus before his death. A homily on each word followed, separated by the performance of each of the seven movements. Together, music and text comprised the Easter celebration of the Passion.  As such, it appears to belong to the tradition of religious music which reached its apogee in Handel, Pergolesi and Bach. However, I  have always had a problem with this notion; The Seven Last Words of Christ considered in purely musical terms does not seem to express any noticeable degree of solemnity, no transcendent yearning or tragedy. Certainly, the old Haydn jollity and wit are set aside, but instead we hear a […]