The Seven Last Words of Christ
Haydn / Mozart
Choir and Orchestra of Les Arts Florissants
The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross is one of Joseph Haydn's major works, along with The Creation and The Seasons. Composed in response to a commission from the Church of Santa Cueva in Cadiz for Holy Week, this piece was written in four versions, the last of which, premiered in Vienna in 1796, takes the form of a large oratorio for soloists, choir and orchestra.
This is the very first time that William Christie conducts this masterpiece at the head of Les Arts Florissants. He thus continues his exploration of Haydn's great repertoire, initiated a few years ago with The Creation, the Paris Symphonies and, more recently, The Seasons.
For this occasion, he associates Haydn with his most famous contemporary, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, whose Solemn Vespers of a Confessor complete the program. If the two works require the same orchestral forces and are similar in their religious dimension, they are also balanced by their complementary tonalities, the solemnity of Haydn finding its counterpoint in the joyful lightness of Mozart.