The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross

This interpretation of the orchestral version, under the baton of Paul Kuentz, is one of the most spiritual and profound. One can detect the influence of Father Jean-Pierre Nortel († 2015), chaplain to performing artists of Paris, who help Paul Kuentz prepare for his recording. Haydn’s profound musical sensitivities are here beautifully deployed. The role accorded to the emotions is characteristic of Viennese classicism, then emerging with Haydn and Mozart, followed by Beethoven (whose enormous oeuvre would serve as the turning point between classicism and romanticism). Classicism differentiated itself from the baroque through a more subtle and refined sense of melody. As Mozart himself said of Haydn, “Who better than he knows how to move in such a way from tears to laughter, from joy to profound upheaval?” Right from the opening in D minor, Haydn manages to wordlessly accompany each listener in contemplation of the events of Calvary. Through movements alternating between calm and dramatic tension, the musical language of this Austrian composer allows us to hear the intensity of Christ’s last words. The conclusion, startlingly shorter and more rapid than the other sections, interprets the violence of the earthquake that followed the death of Christ. Beginning in C minor, il terremoto closes in a major key, thus proclaiming that “it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). 15