hungarian center
for early music

II. Haydneum Festival of Sacred Music – Concert of the MÁV Symphony Orchestra

14 June, 2023 - 8:00 PM

University Church, Budapest

Haydn: The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross, Hob. XX:1

(first, symphonic orchestral version)

Narrator: Father László Varga, choirmaster of the Cathedral of Vác
Conducted by András Keller


SEASON TICKET for the 5 concerts of the festival (admission to the closing concert is free but registration is required)

Program helyszíne

One of the most remarkable chapters in the creative career of Joseph Haydn is related to the birth of The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross. The composer was commissioned to write Passion music for the traditional Good Friday service of the Santa Cueva chapel of Nuestra Señora del Rosario Church, Cadiz, Spain, at Easter 1787. The liturgical work was to be woven around the seven last words of the crucified Christ. Haydn contrived to create astonishing Passion music, the unconventional – and at the same time representing an unprecedented compositional challenge – motif being that the work had to comprise exclusively slow movements. In Haydn’s work, a tempestuous and frightening Presto finale, the Terremoto (earthquake), ensures a suitably dramatic and impressive finish. The composer initially formulated his composition for orchestra but later he made piano, string quartet and oratorio arrangements as well. This concert features the first, symphonic form of the work, with the input of a narrator. MÁV Symphony Orchestra have been one of the leading ensembles in Hungarian music since their foundation in 1945. András Keller, conductor of the concert, is one of the foremost figures on the music scene in Hungary today. In 1987 he founded and has since led the world-famous Keller Quartet, while since 2007 he has been music director of Concerto Budapest, who play an important part in Hungarian concert life. He is also professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.