Sieben Worte

This morning's Honey Bunches of Oats/ Corn Flakes/ Rice Krispies w/ Greek style Honey Yogurt was enjoyed whilst listening to S. Gubaidulina's "Sieben Worte". Piano Professor Kendall Feeney who is in charge of the Contemporary Ensemble class at EWU loaned me a recording after I mentioned my interest in Soviet music. Cereal will never be the same again!

It's a work for an interesting ensemble: cello, strings, and bayan. The bayan is a Russian accordion and named after an 11th century bard. Seven sections explore musically the spiritual depth of Christ's seven last words from the cross. I was struck by the juxtaposition of Gubaidulina's harsh, brooding, and often declamatory style with stretches of beautiful, tonality, especially for the piece "...today you will be with me in Paradise." For "I thirst" the ending where the bayan releases the air from its bellows left me literally parched. There are several instances in the cycle where the bayan rises in a chilling, towering chord while the cello slides higher and higher. This is truly a powerful moment of sonic emotion. Gives me chills just thinking about it.

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