ARVO PÄRT Stabat Mater
HAYDN The Seven Last Words of Christ – oratory
Performers: Katalin Szutrély soprano, Edit Szappanos soprano, Eszter Balogh alto, Zoltán Megyesi tenor, Zoltán Melkovics bass
Purcell Choir, Concerto Budapest Symphony Orchestra
Conductor György Vashegyi
Nearly 200 years separates the two features on the programme conducted by György Vashegyi, although the choice of subject and the elevated manner in which the Pärt and Haydn works have been handled binds them closely. The Seven Last Words of Christ was commissioned for a service in Cadiz, Spain, and in its original form it was pure instrumental music, followed by numerous variations. In 1796 it was arranged in oratorio form, making it both one of the most personal and the most moving expressions of the faith of Haydn. Mary’s suffering at the foot of the Cross has been the inspiration for countless artists in music, one of them being Arvo Pärt in 1985. The work featuring three vocal soloists, just like the majority of Pärt compositions dating from the mid-70s onwards, was created in the spirit of the so-called tintinnabuli technique and style closely associated with the composer. “I have discovered that it is enough when a single note is beautifully played,” he once said of the core creative idea behind the Latin word tintinnabulum, that is, little bell.