J. Haydn The 7 Last Words at St. Stephen’s Cathedral

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March 2023

Listen to J. Haydn's oratorio "The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross", an emotional and spiritual masterpiece in St. Stephen's Cathedral that captures the last words of Jesus on the cross in seven meditative movements.

Haydn's Passion cycle still evokes in today's audiences the impression of experiencing first-hand the seven words attested in the Gospels. "If the author had written directly from the soul of the dying mediator, he would hardly have been able to portray the feelings of the same more truly and solemnly." With these praising words, the musical Real-Zeitung in Speyer entitled Haydn's "Seven Last Words" in 1788.

Rightly so, for a composer who publishes his work in three different versions obviously wants to emphasize its relevance. Originally composed for orchestra on commission from the Cathedral Chapter of Cadiz, later for string quartet and finally also as a piano reduction, it was turned into an oratorio with soloists, choir and orchestra in 1796, for which Gottfried van Swieten probably provided the text version. Even if the first three versions were probably simply a baroque-era marketing gambit by the Viennese publisher of the time, Artaria, in order to increase the dissemination of the work, all the musical aspects of Haydn's "Seven Last Words" remove any doubts about the significance of the work.

Get a first-hand impression of the oratorio with the Vienna Cathedral Choir and Vienna Cathedral Orchestra conducted by Cathedral Kapellmeister Markus Landerer and renowned soloists, at the very place where Haydn himself sang for nine years as a chapel boy and later also married his wife Aloysia, Vienna's St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Program and cast

Vienna Cathedral Choir
Vienna Cathedral Orchestra

Cornelia Horak, soprano
Katrin Auzinger, alto
Martin Mairinger, tenor
Klemens Sander, bass

Domkapellmeister Markus Landerer, conductor
NN, speaker

J. Haydn: The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross (Hob. XX/2)

60 Minutes, no intermission

St. Stephen's Cathedral

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