Golgotha is a highly programmatic piece that chronicles the final hours of Jesus’ life. The rich imagery and careful orchestration throughout highlights not only the events experienced in that time by those present but also the deep internal struggle Jesus faced in his crucifixion. The work begins at the last supper with musical lines referencing the traditional Jewish hymn from Psalm 118, believed by many to be sung that night by Jesus and the disciples. From there it moves through Judas’s betrayal and into the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed “…let this cup pass from Me.” (Matthew 26:39). A fight broke out as Peter led the disciples in trying to stop the angry mob, led by Judas, from arresting Jesus but Jesus allowed himself to be peacefully arrested as the disciples fled. The three short timpani solos reflect Peter’s famous three denials of Jesus as he was then beaten and flogged. The constant underlying major to minor harmonic shifts depict Jesus’ inner calmness in knowing the end result and coming glory in His resurrection, despite the intense pain and suffering He was currently experiencing. The traditional Christian Passion hymn, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” is referenced as Jesus, assisted by Simon of Cyrene, carried his cross to Golgotha (Calvary), the place of the Skull, for his crucifixion. Three heavy, metallic hits followed by solo chimes represent the nails driven into his wrists and feet and the time that passed before Jesus gave up his spirit on the cross. The final phrase recalls the hymn from Psalm 118 and represents the dark days of uncertainty that passed after Jesus’s death leading to his resurrection.
Golgotha by Adam Bruce
Golgotha is a programmatic work for large percussion orchestra that is inspired by the final hours of the life of Jesus as chronicled in the New Testament of the Bible. It spans the range of expression from haunting and somber to rage and desperation.... Read More
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