“Die sieben letzten Worte unseres Erlösers am Kreuze” is a composition by Joseph Haydn, featuring seven meditations on the last words of Christ.
In 1801, when Breitkopf & Hàrtel published the vocal version of the work, it appeared together with an explanatory text, quite plausibly in Haydn’s own words, relating the context and circumstances in which the work was composed:
“Some fifteen years ago I was requested by a canon of Cádiz to compose instrumental work on the seven last words of Christ on the Cross. It was customary at the Church of Cádiz to produce an oratorio every year during Lent, the effect of the performance being not a little enhanced by the following circumstances. The walls, windows, and pillars of the church were draped with black cloth, and the solemn darkness was broken only by a single large lamp hanging from the centre of the roof. At midday, the doors were closed and the ceremony began.”
This quote is the starting point for Anouk De Clercq, Reynaldo Ramperssad and Anton Aeki to work on a setting for Piet Kuijken and the audience, interpreting the piece as the essential battle between light and shadow.