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ARP presents ‘Seven Last Words of Christ’

Posted on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 8:10 am

The Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church is bringing the legendary composer Joseph Haydn to Fayetteville.

On Good Friday evening, April 18, at 7 p.m., the church will present “The Seven Last Words of Christ” by the aforementioned Joseph Haydn. It will be presented free of charge as an offering to the community, and there will be a nursery provided.

Joining the Adult Choir of the church offering will be friends from the community, a string ensemble and a quartet of soloists. It will indeed be a memorable night.

The opportunity to hear a piece like this in our community is unique.

“This music is challenging, but the singers are working hard to get everything ready,” said Joe Stephenson, the director of music at the church.

Haydn considered “The Seven Last Words of Christ” to be one of his greatest works and thought it superior to either of his later oratorios, “The Creation” or “The Seasons”. The piece is unique in the fact that it exists in several different versions for string quartet, orchestra and chorus and orchestra.

While traveling in 1794, Haydn stopped in Passau, Germany, where he heard an oratorio version of his piece arranged by Joseph Frieberth. This inspired Haydn to do his own version, but he used Frieberth’s arrangement as a starting point.

Each movement is introduced by an a capella statement of each word in the early baroque style. The final movement of the piece is a rhythmic and dramatic interpretation of the earthquake in which we hear the voices cry out in anguish.

Be sure to mark your calendars and get there early.