Haydn composed The Seven Last Words in 1786 to accompany the liturgy of the long Good Friday ceremony in Cádiz. Later, he adapted this cycle of seven sonatas, all with a slow tempo for string quartet, which is the version presented here. The intensity of this work expressing the final agony of Christ enables the listener to ignore the absence of text in this music, yet purely instrumental.
On the other hand, Dominique Vellard undertook to set these texts to music, having unsuccessfully sought for any sort of musical setting of the Seven Last Words that might serve as an introduction to Haydn’s work. His Sept dernières paroles are strongly influenced by early music, while also being nourished by his attentive listening to music from other traditions. The Ensemble Gilles Binchois and the Quatuor Debussy have come together to put these two works into perspective in a beautiful album, recorded in the crypt of Lagorce.
Total duration: 71′