Seven Last Words was composed during the summer of 2000. It was commissioned by the German violinist Peter Stein to accompany a display of a series of paintings by his father, Rolf Stein. The work is cast as a series of seven short movements, each of which evokes the spirit of the corresponding painting. However, the compositional structure encompasses the complete set, with thematic and structural echoes weaving the seven movements into an organic whole. The most obvious of these connections is the return of material from the second movement at the end of the seventh–the suggestion of paradise now realized. The premiere was given on April 1, 2001, in Holzhausen, Germany.