“Seven Last Words of the Unarmed” by Joel Thompson
Featuring the Tenor and Bass voices from Cantare, OPUS, and State Singers
Mar 20, 2023
First Baptist Church, Starkville-MS
MSU Combined tenor-bass choir will present a preview concert of Joel Thompson’s “Seven Last Words of the Unarmed.”
From the composer: “The inspiration…
After being troubled by the onslaught of killings of unarmed black men and finding Shirin Barghi’s #lastwords project, Joel Thompson began his journey in writing his most important composition today, The Seven Last Words of the Unarmed. Using the text structure of the Joseph Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Christ, Joel chose seven last words from Shirin’s artwork that formed the structure of the work.
The last words and/or correspondences of each victim spoke to Joel deeply, and he chose seven that most easily aligned with the text structure of Hadyn’s work. Each victim’s last words are set in a different musical style and Thompson incorporates the L’homme armé (The armed man) Renaissance french secular tune throughout the composition. Originally scored for male chorus, string quintet and piano, the work has also been scored for full orchestra.