“the piece successfully balances artistic gravitas with the need for a [work that can be] performed by church ensembles”
Thanks to Timothy Michael Powell for such a wonderful review of Seven Last Words:
“This issue’s column will focus on new major works written primarily for, and accessible to, the sacred ensemble with moderate performing forces. Michael John Trotta’s new passion setting, Seven Last Words, was commissioned through the efforts of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. It is set for SATB choir and soloists, with a full symphonic version available. Churches of modest means will be particularly interested, however, in the chamber orchestration.
Trotta pays homage to the great composers of the past, particularly in the opening movement, “Father, Forgive Them,” which lingers on the brief text before launching into a brilliantly written “Kyrie” fugue. The 3rd movement, “Behold, Your Son,” combines the gospel text with fragments from the Stabat Mater, and is distinguished by an ethereal soprano solo over a more contemporary orchestral texture featuring the harp. Trotta creates continuity throughout the work with recurring melodic fragments.
Conductors familiar with Trotta’s work will recognize his familiar syncopated rhythms, which breathe energy into the stunning final movement, “It is Finished.” At times poignant and at others fiery, Trotta’s orchestral palette is what drives the success of this work, supporting his clear and accessible choral writing, with only very brief extremes of range. Within that framework, the piece successfully balances artistic gravitas with the need for a season- al cantata able to be performed by church ensembles.”