Good Friday Concert

Joseph Haydn
- The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On the Cross

Erkki-Sven Tüür
- Passio for strings


Erkki-Sven Tüür
- Requiem


Ksenja Kutšukova (soprano), Helen Lepalaan (mezzo-soprano),
Mati Turi
(tenor), Uku Joller (bass)
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir 
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra


The concert is produced by Eesti Kontsert,


Haydn’s work is based on seven last words (actually phrses, taken from all four gospels of the New Testament), the Christ says as waiting for his death on the cross. The majestic introduction is followed by one phrase at a time, seven meditative slow “sonatas”. The finale, Il Terremoto, represents the earthquake after the death of the Saviour, after the long-lasting adagio-music it sounds as an explosive contrast. Haydn uses here three forte-marks: the first fortississimo in the history of music! Original version of the work was for orchestra, “the lyrics” were written for each part on the sheet music, for the musicians to express in the language of music.

The work was commissioned by the Bishop of a Spanish port city Cadiz in 1787, to be premièred on Good Friday in the underground Oratorio de la Santa Cueva Church. The church walls were covered with black cloth, with only one lamp lighting the room.
The composer himself considered this work as one of the most complex in his life – to carry put seven sequential adagio! – and also as his biggest achievement, more important than the oratorios The Creation and The Seasons. From Cadiz he received an unusual fee: a chocolate cake, filled with gold coins.

The Seven Words was performed a lot already during Haydn’s lifetime, especially the version for string quartet, which is the most popular even now. The oratorio version performed at this concert is also the version Haydn conducted at his last performance on concert stage (1803).
seemingly simple and ascetic, with a few strong lines this work presents the emotional shades of the crucifixion story. Despite of the intensity and the emotional high voltage, we can hear sincere, profound wisdom in this music. The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour On the Cross is a meditation on devastating weight of tragedy and persistence of hope.