The Seven Last Words of Christ
illis, non enim sciunt, quid faciunt
Amen dico tibi: hodie mecum eris in paradiso
Mulier, ecce filius
tuus, et tu, ecce mater tua!
Eli, Eli, lama asabthani
Pater! In manus tuas commendo spiritum meum
Father, forgive them, for they know not
what they do
Verily, I say unto thee: Today Thou shalt be with me in
Woman, behold thy son- behold thy mother
My God , why hast thou forsaken me?
It is finished
Father into thy hands I commend my spirit
Haydn described this work and the circumstances
under which it was written with the following words:
"The walls, windows and columns of the Cathedral were
covered in black cloth, a large solitary lamp hung in the centre
lightening the religious darkness. At noon the Cathedral doors
were closed and the music began. The Bishop ascended the pulpit,
spoke one of the seven phrases (the work is incorrectly translated
from the German and means "phrases" as opposed to
"words") followed it with a commentary, descended from
the pulpit and fell on his knees before the altar. At this moment
the orchestra played. The Bishop ascended and descended 7 times
and each time the orchestra played after his discourse.
My composition must be judged in this light.
The task to produce 7 Adagios, each of which should last 10
minutes, without tiring the listener, was no mean one; and I soon
found that I could not keep to this duration."