A Cross to Bear

It's going to be a long week; can you feel it? So before we get all political up in this piece, here's our way of easing into it -- with some five and a half minutes of Joseph Haydn, courtesy the Gyros String Quartet. Yesterday, the group -- which has included, since its inception in 1986, Cafe Noir's Norbert Gerl on viola -- posted to YouTube the North American premiere of a new version for string quintet of Haydn's The Seven Last Words of our Savior on the Cross, performed last month at the Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe. Which means it not only sounds beautiful, but looks it as well; hell of a setting, as it were.

Should you want to know more -- or, no doubt, hear more -- the quartet has posted to its Web site MP3s from another performance, on April 4 at the Prince of Peace in Plano. There are selections for quintet as well, plus an essay from Gerl about his new version of a 220-year-old work he describes as "absolutely beautiful and increasingly popular." --Robert Wilonsky

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