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Haydn: Seven Last Words Of Christ On The Cross / Frans Brüggen, Orchestra Of The 18th Century

Release Date: 03/31/2009 
Label:  Glossa   Catalog #: 921109   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Franz Joseph HaydnRon Ford
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

HAYDN The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross & Frans Brüggen, cond; O of the 18th Century (period instruments) GLOSSA 921109 (49:16)

& FORD Intermezzi

The latest version of Haydn’s original orchestral work is sublime, a touching, gentle rendition of the music that benefits from a warm acoustic that casts a glow around the performers. The pacing Read more is sensible, a rather solemn maestoso to begin, followed by a more lively largo for the first word. The progress of the music unfolds inevitably, concluding with a stormy terremoto that is not overdone. Brüggen feels the meaning of the music, it would seem, and conveys his sense to the players. Unlike several other recordings of this edition, such as Antoni Ros Marba, Julius Rudel, and the recent John Storgards, the repeats are omitted.

For a work that has had 106 recordings by my count, some distinctions are necessary. Many efforts have been made to situate the music in the setting of its commission, when the movements each followed a sermon on the gospel text, like a meditation. I know of 11 versions that supply some form of recitation that more or less fits the bill. Another inserts chant responsories that don’t quite make the same point, since responsories are themselves meditations on readings. The new version is unique in adding brief orchestral interludes commissioned from Ron Ford. There are six of them, tracked at the beginning of the second to seventh words. In style they contrast with the classic Haydn, but at 15 to 20 seconds each, they are almost too short to signify much of anything. They are certainly not long enough to be a serious distraction. I find them superfluous, but they don’t disable a superb recording.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Seven last words of Christ on the Cross, H 20 no 1a by Franz Joseph Haydn
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary 
Intermezzi (6) by Ron Ford
Conductor:  Frans Brüggen
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra of the 18th Century
Period: 20th Century 

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