Through the lens of esoteric thought: Joseph Haydn's The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Joseph Haydn is unquestionably the most influential and innovative composer of his generation. Haydn’s monumental masterpiece The seven last words of Christ on the cross, written in 1786, exposes Haydn’s personal worldview (informed as this was both by his faith and by Christian reality). Though Haydn remarked that his Seven last words was ‘the very finest of all his works’, he did not provide any clues regarding the methods that he employed to create the work. Geoffrey Lancaster reorients the compass of study in relation to the Seven last words by examining the masterpiece’s structure and meaning through the eighteenth-century esoteric mechanisms of key characteristics, proportion and number symbolism. Haydn’s Seven last words is placed within the context of late eighteenth-century philosophic and metaphysical thought, and contemporaneous esoteric mechanisms are woven together to reveal the ‘hidden’ heart of the work...