Seven Last Words
April 16, 2011 at 8 PM
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
The season finale features The Philadelphia Singers' first performances of J.S. Bach's Cantata No. 182, "King of Heaven, Be Welcomed" and James MacMillan's Seven Last Words from the Cross for chorus and string orchestra. The Singers previously gave the U.S. Premiere of his acclaimed Quickening with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 2002. The powerful and moving Seven Last Words is widely regarded as one of MacMillan's masterpieces.
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"Seven Last Words" Preview
David Hayes and the singers discuss what makes Seven Last Words so powerful.
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Special thanks to Rich Tolsma Productions for these great previews!
Unlike the more well-known Bach cantatas from his years in Leipzig, Cantata No.182 dates from Bach's years at the Ducal Court at Weimar. By 1714, Bach was already court musician and organist; in March of 1714 he was appointed Konzertmeister. Part of his responsibilities was to provide a new choral work each month-the beginning of what eventually became five cycles of church cantatas.
Behind the Music: "Seven Last Words" Program Notes
Cantata No. 182, one of his earliest from this period, was composed for the beginning of the church cycle in March 1714. Although the exact authorship of the text is unknown, it is likely that Weimar court librarian and poet Salomon Franck adapted the Biblical texts and writings of 17th century writer Paul Stockmann. The text portrays the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, metaphorically interpreted as Christ's entry into the hearts of all faithful Christians. The premiere of this cantata was on March 25, 1714, likely at the court church of Weimar.
Seven Last Words from the Cross, a cantata for eight-part chorus and strings, was commissioned in 1993 by BBC Television and first broadcast in seven nightly episodes during Holy Week 1994. A concert premiere took place on March 27, 1994 at St. Aloysius Church in Glasgow, Scotland by the choral ensemble Cappella Nova, accompanied by the BT Scottish Ensemble. The text is based on seven sentences spoken by Christ from the cross interspersed with traditional Latin texts for Holy Week.
Click here to open the program notes for Bach's "King of Heaven, Be Welcomed" and MacMillan's Seven Last Words from the Cross.
Parking and Transportation
The Church of the Holy Trinity is located at 1904 Walnut Street, on Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. For more information from the Philadelphia Parking Authority about parking in the area, click here. There are also a variety of public transportation options available. For more information from Septa regarding public transportation to the concert, click here.