Saturday, April 19, 2014


This was one of the most profoundly spiritual treatments of the crucifixion I have witnessed. Calvin Dyck of course is excellent and his quartet was comprised of remarkable musicians, a cellist and two violas, to do Joseph Hayden's The Seven Last Words of Christ (1787), an instrumental meditation commissioned for Cadiz in Lent. The four instrumentalists sat in a semi-circle with music stands in front of them. To the left on stage was a table with seven large glass containers with a lighted candle inside each. On stage right was another glass-contained candle. A container and glass of wine.

There are seven brief musical sections to express the seven words/phrases.

1. Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do,
2. Today you will be with me in paradise
3. Behold your son: behold your mother
4. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
5. I thirst
6. It is finished
7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit

Between each section, a reader, so called, with memorized script quoted a relevant scripture selection. Then a young female dramatist walked forward to explain in contemporary narrative language the scene and the theology. Then the reader walked to the table of candles, quoted one line of a prayer, and we, the audience completed that prayer with a statement displayed on the three large screens. 
Calvin Dyck
 of this with uncommon dignity and reverence. was no applause at any point. On a couple of occasions a pianist played a well known hymn inviting us to stand to sing words cast on the screen. When the final movement was played, The dramatist picked up the sole candle (Christ’s Life) on the right side of the stage, and carried it down the centre aisle as darkness overtook the auditorium. Words on the screen read something such as, "And now we quietly leave to reflect and to respond to God's loving gift of his Son." People immediately stood and silently left the auditorium. It was memorable and moving because it was not performance but worship.

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