Facets of Faith: Art, poems join music about words from cross

By LEILA PITCHFORD-ENGLISH

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Photo provided by RICHARD WEBB -- Organist Richard Webb developed readings and images for a multimedia presentation of 'The Seven Last Words of Christ.'
Photo provided by RICHARD WEBB -- Organist Richard Webb developed readings and images for a multimedia presentation of 'The Seven Last Words of Christ.'

St. Joseph Cathedral will present a Holy Week multimedia devotional event based on the words Jesus said from the cross.

The “Seven Chorals-Poèmes for Organ on the Seven Last Words of Christ” by Charles Tournemire (1870-1939) will be performed at the downtown Baton Rouge church at 7:30 p.m. March 26.

Tournemire was a Catholic mystic and composer. This work has been out of print but is considered a monumental work by many.

Organist Richard Webb, who developed the project that adds images and readings to the music, will be joined by readers Shirley Sands and Oneal Isaac.

Webb selected poetry of different types and styles from across seven centuries to mirror the musical interpretation of each “word.”

Images, also selected from seven centuries, will be shown on a large screen during the music.

The readings and other information about the performance will be available in a download from the church website (http://cathedralofstjoseph.org/) after the performance.

The performance is free, but baskets will be available for people to donate to the Cathedral Concert Series.

Here, from the New International Version of The Bible, are the seven things Jesus said from the cross:

Luke 23:34

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Luke 23:43

“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

John 19:26-27

To his mother: “Woman, here is your son.”

To a disciple: “Here is your mother.”

Matthew 27:46,
Mark 15:34

“Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

John 19:28

“I am thirsty.”

John 19:30

“It is finished.”

Luke 23:46

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”

These words were inspirational for many other composers. At least 16 people, including Joseph Haydn, César Franck, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber have set them to music.

Sources: press release, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Email: lenglish@
theadvocate.com.