Notes and Editorial Reviews
Seven Last Words – a cycle of sacred adagios – has been lucky on record. There are excellent recordings no matter how you like the piece: in oratorio form (Jordi Savall, dramatic), the original orchestral (Riccardo Muti, dark-hued) or – most abundant – wide-ranging string quartet interpretations, from the poetic and period-instrument (Quatuor Mosaïques) to the intensely inward (Rosamunde Quartett). Cuarteto Casals has a quirkily formal sense of phrasing that can take some getting used to. Yet this group – from Spain, where the piece was premiered in 1787 – offers an alluring rendition in terms of timbre and texture, with the quartet’s period bows drawing out a sound that’s complex and vulnerable.
Bradley Bambarger, Listen Magazine
"My own previous encounter with this very fine Spanish ensemble dates back to a review in 29:6 of a three-disc Harmonia Mundi set containing Mozart’s early quartets and divertimentos, a review in which I expressed only the highest praise for the Cuarteto Casals...I find the perfectly blended, rapt beauty of tone produced by these players to be exquisitely matched to the contemplative character of this music. Moreover, the wonderfully atmospheric sound captured by the recording in the Oratorio de la Santa Cueva, the Cádiz church in which the work was first performed, is ideally suited to the music’s mystical message."
-- Jerry Dubins, Fanfare
Works on This Recording
Seven last words of Christ on the Cross, H 20 no 1a by Franz Joseph Haydn
Casals String Quartet
Written: 1787; Eszterhazá, Hungary
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