The Blair School of Music is opening its 2013-14 performance season in high style this weekend, presenting the original orchestral version of Haydn’s masterpiece Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross.
Commissioned around 1786 for a Good Friday performance at Cádiz Cathedral in Spain, this miraculous nine-movement work contains some of the most wrenching (and life-affirming) music ever written. Haydn composed seven ruminative adagios – labeled “sonatas” in the score – for each of Christ’s last seven words (or sayings). A short introduction opens the piece, and it concludes with a furious finale titled “Earthquake.”
“The last movement contains one of the first triple fortes in the orchestral repertoire,” says Dean Whiteside, the conductor of this weekend’s concert with the Nashville Sinfonietta. “It’s really one of the most dramatic pieces I know.”
The concert is 8 p.m. Saturday at Ingram Hall at Blair, 2400 Blakemore Ave. My interview with Whiteside is published in this week’s Nashville Scene.