“The Seven Last Words of Christ: Through the Eyes of Eyewitnesses” will be performed at the Moody Church in Chicago. Scored for tenor & soprano Solists, narrator, SATB choir, and Orchestra, the 45-minute work depicts the final phrases uttered by Jesus prior to His death on a Roman cross.
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 based on the Seven Last Words of Christ (7LW).
Of course, this “7LW” concept has been composed and librettoed many, many times over the last several hundred years. So, how would we make this one unique? The work was to be the centerpiece of the 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.
I pondered this concept for a while. Since I was already working with my brother, Don, on my Op. 08, Poem for American Acrimony, I asked Don if he would be interested in working with me to develop lyrics for this 7LW commission. Don envisioned an incredibly fresh idea on how we could look at the seven last words of Christ: “Why don’t we view these events Through the Eyes of Eyewitnesses?” In other words, the narrative movements and the song lyrics would be told the first person from actual witnesses at the event of our Lord’s crucifixion. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as some other completion deadlines, this work was not performed on Good Friday, 2020.
Here in June 2020, I continue to develop the piece with the hope and expectation that it will be performed at its world premiere in 2021.
This description will be updated when the full work is completed, the performance is uploaded, and a world premiere date has been set. For now, I hope you can hear and enjoy the opening to the work, as narrated by Moody Church Pastor, Larry McCarthy.
I am composing the score and my brother, Don, is writing the libretto and storyline. This work will feature Chicago soloists, the orchestra and choir from Moody Church, Chicago. The narration will be performed by Pastor Larry McCarthy. All are welcome.