- Movement I - Prologue 1:39
- Movement III - Word 1 ~ Vocal 4:07
- Movement V - Word 2 ~ Vocal 4:02
- Movement VI - Word 3 ~ Narrative 2:42
- Movement VII - Word 3 ~ Vocal 3:11
In August 2019, I had a meeting with Tim Stafford, the Artistic Director and Minister of Music at the Moody Church, Chicago. He had seen the final video footage of my Christmas Concerto for Hammered Dulcimer, Strings, and Percussion and asked me if I would be interested in creating a work for the Moody Church Good Friday service in 2020. He wanted the theme of the work to be based on the Seven Last Words of Christ (here, aka “7LW”).
Of course, this “7LW” concept has been composed with libretto added many, many times over the last several hundred years. So, how could we make this new concept unique? The work was to be the centerpiece of the Moody Church’s Good Friday service. Pastor Stafford had envisioned several movements for full choir, several instrumental movements, and some narratives, with the complete work lasting between 30 to 40 minutes. As our work developed over the next two months, my brother Don, the librettist, and I realized the scope of the work would easily extend to one hour.
Even so, development of the piece continued until it became clear that the work could not be premiered for at least two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Aware of this, I then shelved further development on the fifteen-movement opus for eighteen months.
In mid-2021, I was approached by my long-term musical ally, Ron Arden, Conductor & Artistic Director of the Lake County Symphony Orchestra, located in north Chicagoland. Ron asked if I were interested in engaging three professional choral entities in the Chicagoland area, asking each of them to host one of a series of three world premieres in the greater Chicago area, with his symphony orchestra accompanying the combined vocal ensembles at each premiere location. Ron shared his passion for my writing and a desire to help make the world premiere of “7LW” a reality. The vision would be to engage these three professional choral ensembles in the greater Chicagoland area in three distinct locations. The world premiere would include the LCSO and these choral ensembles, with soloists. The idea would be to engage diverse musical forces and deliver the premieres in an expansive way throughout the city – not only for its musical benefit, but also as a significant “passion of the Christ” offering during Lent.
Needless to say, this will be my most ambitious undertaking to date in my composing career.
The result is that we now expect the world premieres will be scheduled for Lent, 2024.
For now, I hope you can hear and enjoy a few movements of the “computerized” rendition of this work, as narrated by the Moody Church Pastor, Larry McCarthy. When completed, it will be my largest-scale work to date. We hope you enjoy my and my brother’s dramatization of The Seven Last Words of Christ – Through the Eyes of Eyewitnesses.