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Length: 10 mins

About this Piece

Theo Brandmüller’s Sieben Stücke zur Passionszeit (Seven Pieces for Holy Week) for organ sometimes carries the subtitle “und er weinete bitterlich” (“and he cried bitterly”) and includes accompanying parts for metronome and speaking voice. In a published program note, Brandmüller (1948–2012) mentioned reliefs by sculptor Richard Hess (1937–2017) as an inspiration.

Each of the original seven pieces describes a specific stage of Christ’s Passion, all commencing with what Brandmüller referred to as a “rhythmically bizarre starting point.” Each depiction stems from a “vision” based on the details of the narrative.

The sixth piece, which depicts the crucifixion, is described succinctly as a Sarabande. “Pietà” (the final piece) is a circular canon (i.e., a canon that can be played endlessly) based on the “Dona nobis pacem” from Bach’s Mass in B minor, BWV 232.