hungarian center
for early music

Haydneum Festival of Sacred Music – FRANZ LISZT CHAMBER ORCHESTRA – J. Haydn

8 June, 2022 - 8:00 PM

University Church, Budapest

(Concert Master: Péter Tfirst,
Artistic Leader: István Várdai)

Joseph HAYDN: The Seven Last Words of Christ
– string quartet version with string chamber orchestra –

Program helyszíne

The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross ranks as one of the most remarkable compositions in music history. It arose from a commission: in the mid-1780s, Haydn had to write and orchestrate music for a Good Friday service at the parish church in Cádiz, Spain. According to local liturgical custom, the priest read out the seven final sayings of Christ: 1. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” 2. “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” 3. “Woman, behold thy son! and Behold thy mother!” 4. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” 5. “I thirst!” 6. “It is finished.” 7. “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Using these as illustrations, Haydn wrote seven slow, reflective movements. He was attracted to the contrastless process of the slow movements yet added a dramatic finale (Terremoto – Earthquake) at the end of the work. He made string quartet and even piano versions of this remarkable work but most excitingly Haydn also adapted it as an oratorio after hearing an oratorical arrangement written by Passau kapellmeister Joseph Friebert in 1794. This prompted him to make his own vocal version. Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra perform the string quartet arrangement of the work at the third concert in the Haydneum Festival of Sacred Music. Set up in 1963, the constantly rejuvenated world-famous ensemble of young artists work under the direction of Péter Tfirst. Their artistic director is István Várdai, teacher at the Vienna Music Academy and one of the most important cellists of our day.