At the end of the 18th century, the town of Cádiz in southern Spain provided the backdrop for a Passion to mark Christ's hour of death; its focal point was the reading and interpretation of Christ's last words. Haydn was commissioned to write short meditative music to be played alternately with the readings. Haydn composed a work for orchestra. Due to its success, the publisher commissioned Haydn to make an arrangement for string quartet. As the wind instruments double the strings for the most part, only a few changes had to be made to the string parts.