Seven last words is a traditional format for musical composition probably made most famous by Haydn’s orchestral work, which is also popular in its string quartet and piano versions.

The format takes its inspiration from the seven last utterances of Jesus as recorded in the various gospel accounts: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” is the most famous. Musically these pieces are meditations on mortality and are often interspersed with the gospel texts or other religious poetry.

The Aust

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