Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?

In contemplating the seven final utterances of Christ prior to his death, we can perhaps understand their significance and gain an insight into what was ultimately important to this man dying on the cross.

Scottish contemporary composer James MacMillan and the German 17th century composer Heinrich Schütz both wrote setting of these poignant phrases, both vastly different and equally shaped by their respective Catholic and Lutheran faiths.

Join Oriana Chorale in their performance of these extraordianry works, alongside venerated Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's moving Seven Magnificat Antiphons, representing the pinnacle of his tintinnabuli style.

Seven last words

Settings by Heinrich Schütz and James MacMillan, together with antiphons by Arvo Pärt.

The Chapel, Canberra Girls' Grammar School

4 pm Sunday 17 November 2019



Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672) was a German composer and organist, generally regarded as the most important German composer before Johann Sebastian Bach.

His Die sieben Worte Jesu Christi am Kreuz is a highly regarded work in German. 

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Composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan’s Seven Last Words from the Cross was commissioned by BBC Television and first screened in seven nightly episodes during Holy Week 1994.

In a review of a performance of MacMillan's work under Richard Gill 10 years ago, Australian Stage called it a 'masterpiece':

"This exceptional contemporary composer ... carries an immense depth of Christian insight in his heart, which permeates every tone of his music.

"The cantata 'Seven Last Words...' (1993) has the freshness of contemporary music and the splendour of the best music ever written."

The opening bars of Die Sieben Worte by Schütz from the Breitkopf und Härtel 1885 edition, Leipzig. Source imslp.org

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Oriana Chorale is also honoured to continue the tradition of singing at University House dinners at ANU. Remaining dates this year are: 

  • Yuletide in July, 3 July 
  • Christmas, 4 December