Furness Bach Choir is preparing for a very special world premiere next month.

The performance will be a world premiere of a new edition of Austrian composer Joseph Haydn’s great work for Passiontide - The Seven Last Words from the Cross.

Haydn originally wrote it in 1787 as an orchestral piece to be performed in sections between homilies by the priest on Good Friday, finishing with a dramatic 'Earthquake' movement. Later it was transcribed into a choral version with Christ’s words from the Cross being sung as a recitative before each movement.

The performance by Furness Bach Choir will be under a dynamic young conductor by the name of Alex Robinson.

It is particularly special because he and his brother Daniel have prepared a new English translation of the words, going back to Haydn’s original libretto.

It strives to recreate the rhythms of the original instrumental version by preserving the brief silences and the structural integrity of Haydn’s musical syntax.

The instrumental accompaniment has also been reworked and is now for string orchestra with timpani.

A spokesperson for Furness Bach Choir said: "Perhaps the most interesting feature of this new version is the way in which Alex has taken some sections of the original instrumental work that are written in the style of recitatives and has added gospel text to them.

"This helps the work to feel more like an oratorio, 'stitching' the words together, providing more narrative content, and making the work into a true devotional Passiontide experience."

This first-ever performance of Alex’s new English version will be accompanied by his own instrumental ensemble, the Orchestra Laus Deo, and will feature young professional soloists in addition to the widely-acclaimed Furness Bach Choir.

The choir’s last concert, a performance ofJ S Bach’s B minor Mass, landed on the day the snow immobilised South Cumbria, which resulted in a large proportion of the choir, one of the soloists and several orchestral players being unable to get there.

A spokesperson added: "Inevitably there was only a small audience. Hopefully no such disaster will happen this time!"

The concert will take place on Sunday, March 17 at 7.30pm at St Mary of Furness R C Church. Tickets are available on the door or can be reserved by visiting the choir’s website.