Stabat mater dolorósa
Stabat Mater is a Latin hymn to the Virgin Mary written by a Franciscan monk more than 800 years ago. Since the late Renaissance its text has attracted countless composers (one website lists more than 600 names), among them many of the most significant; from more recent years these include Poulenc, Penderecki, Frank Martin, Poul Ruders and Arvo Pärt.
On this occasion, two very different interpretations are presented side by side: Antonio Vivaldi’s 1712 Stabat Mater for solo alto and strings; and Giovanni Pergolesi’s for soprano, alto and strings from 1736. In its 24 verses the hymn depicts the anguish of the Holy Mother at the foot of her son’s cross at Golgatha. Stabat Mater Dolorósa - “the grieving mother stood weeping by the cross on which her son hung”. Whilst this is certainly a gripping tableau, it is not altogether obvious why such a lengthy text, with its static and undramatic trajectory, has been able to entice so many composers. Maybe the concept of it as a sort of musical relay baton, symbolically passed on again and again between successive colleagues, is inspiration enough.
A. Vivaldi: Sinfonia Al Santo Sepolcro in B minor, RV 169
A. Vivaldi: Stabat Mater
P. Locatelli: Concerto Grosso Op. 1 No. 5 in D Major
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G. B. Pergolesi: Stabat Mater