Haydn's Seven Last Words Transposed

A beautifully intense performance from the Klenke Quartet.

Composer: Haydn
Repertoire: The Seven Last Words of Our Saviour on the Cross
Artists: Klenke Quartet
Rating: 5/5

Genre: Instrumental
Label: Berlin Classics 1631

Haydn’s The Seven Last Words (1787) was originally written for orchestra and commissioned for performance in the cathedral at Cadiz in Spain. The composer subsequently adapted it for string quartet, approved a version for piano, and later added choral parts. An introduction and epilogue frame seven sonata slow movements, which in Cadiz were played one by one after the bishop had recited and preached on Christ’s words. This live performance takes 74 minutes – 12 more than the excellent Fitzwilliam Quartet’s version on Linn Records – but the Klenke Quartet’s playing is so beautiful and so intense that the listener is gripped, not bored. The switch from minor key to major in the second sonata is truly moving and heartrending.