Seven Last Words from the Cross
Dedicated to Nicholas Tall
1. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do [Luke 23:24] - dedicated to Tom Mahoney (UK)
2. Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise [Luke 23:43] - dedicated to Elsen Price (Australia)
3. Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother [John 19:26-27] - dedicated to Marco Antonio Quiñones Martinez (Mexico)
4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? [Matthew 27:46/Mark 15:34] - dedicated to Diego Zecharies (Uruguay/Spain)
5. I thirst [John 19:28] - dedicated to Eloine Vatteville (France)
6. It is finished [John 19:30] - dedicated to David Whitla (Canada/Eire)
7. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit [Luke 23:46] - dedicated to Daniel Chiva Sanz (Spain)
"This work was so moving. David Heyes has created a piece of beauty for our bass community." [Gaelen McCormick]
"I’ve been working through these. Such beautiful music, David. Congratulations!" [Adam Booker, Appalachian State University, USA]
"People are STILL talking about it and I played it on Wednesday (and there have been multiple recitals every day here). They were brought to tears. Loved loved loved it. (As do I)... I am playing it again this year. It's GORGEOUS!!!" [Susan Hagen/Boston Pops]
"What a beautiful piece. It is reverent, moving, haunting, and eloquent" [Gina Hagen Kolenda]
"By the way: when I was in North Carolina with Adam I heard his last recording featuring your piece for solo bass and wanted to say I really love it!!!" [Andres Martin]
The commission to write 'Seven Last Words from the Cross' came about during a conversation in March 2016. I liked the idea of creating a work for unaccompanied double bass on this theme and Nick Tall kindly commissioned the work for a performance at his church at Easter 2018. 'Seven Last Words from the Cross' is dedicated to Nick Tall.
As bassists we know that the double bass can be a very colourful, evocative and descriptive instrument, able to portray many moods and emotions, which I wanted to demonstrate to new audiences. I aimed to create a seven movement work which employed a range of performance techniques, alongside creating atmospheric mini soundscapes, with movements which could be performed individually or collectively. Each is influenced by its title and a generally low tessitura is used, although the higher solo register is also employed in some to demonstrate the many and varied facets of the solo double bass.
Over the past four years I have composed many works for unaccompanied double bass and have enjoyed the opportunities, whether writing for a specific ability level, theme or duration. The challenge of creating seven pieces which were both individual and had their own character but also worked as a suite, was daunting to say the least, but one I wanted to accept. My aim was to create a work which demonstrated the true potential of the double bass as a solo instrument and to explore the wide range of its sonorous and cantabile qualities.
Each movement is dedicated to a friend who is also a double bassist, creating a work which is both international in scope and design. 'Seven Last Words from the Cross' lasts around 21 minutes and poems can be inserted between the individual movements.
Seven Last Words from the Cross was premiered by David Heyes at the Parish Church of St Mary, West Harptree (Somerset, UK) on Saturday 31 March 2018 with its American premiere on Wednesday 15 August 2018 at Rochester Bass Retreat (New York) by Susan Hagen, it's Mexican premiere on 23 August 2018 by Marco Antonio Quinones Martinez and its Italian premiere on 27 August 2018 in Ganghereto by Nicola Malagugini.