Septem Verba

Septem Verba, for violin solo and organ, was completed in February of 2011 and premiered in Albuquerque during Holy Week at St. Luke in April of the same year. The music was composed for violin virtuoso and conductor David Felberg who played the first performances and is featured on this recording. For Good Friday observances, the parish at St. Luke typically hears the St. John passion narrative with musical interpolations which serve as points of meditation.

In 2011, Frederick Frahm, who serves as the Director of Music and Principal Organist for the parish, composed the Septem Verba for use in the Good Friday liturgy. The seven movements are titled with single Latin words emblematic of the emotional and physical anguish described in the crucifixion scene:

Remissio: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34)

Paradiso:  “Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43)

Mulier:  ” ‘Woman, here is your son.’  Then he said, ‘Here is your mother'” (John 19:26-27)

Desero:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34)

Sitio:  “I am thirsty” (John 19:28)

Perfectio: “It is finished” (John 19:30)

Commendo:  “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

The seven movements are largely abstract works and are not based on any pre-existing material. There are two exceptions to this—movements three and seven each feature fragmentary quotes of plainchant: Ave Maria and In paradisum deducant te angeli. 

Below is the violin part:

This work is available from Firehead Editions.

This music has been recorded by Robin Walker and David Felberg and is included on the album:  Works for Organ

You can preview the music, and download each movement (or the entire album) here.