Meditations on Stations of the Cross

On Palm Sunday a service of preparation for the journey of Holy Week will take place at 5.30pm. The Stations of the Cross, which find their roots in the experiences of the earliest pilgrims to Jerusalem, who would walk the “Via Dolorosa” as it had been reconstructed there, offers an opportunity for reflection and prayer as, through music and readings, we ourselves walk the Way of the Cross. The music is provided through a recent composition by John Hosking, Assistant Director of Music at St Asaph Cathedral, who writes:


There is nothing pleasant about the 14 Stations of the Cross; indeed one must recall, suffering, grief and torture throughout.  My overall aim has been to depict each station as graphically and colourfully as possible, with a constant feeling of unsettlement and not quite knowing what will come next. In this sense, even though the opening theme does appear at various points throughout the work, it has been my intention not to develop any thematic material fully. Rather, one should leave the performance in a state of shock and feeling confused – just as those close to Jesus must have not quite known what was happening or even why. In some cases, a whirlwind of different moods and senses are exploited in a very short space of time; in others, the listener is left wondering what just happened. It wasn’t even in the space of a week that the crowd were cheering Jesus and then shouting “Crucify”. I hope that some of this feeling is depicted throughout the work.

This work is inspired by the various colours the organ can produce, a Stations of the Cross that I improvised in 2012, a walk through the Stations of the Cross at Pantasaph Monastery and some fragments of plainsong.