Religion has long been the inspiration behind many works of art, and after the Passions – which narrate the story of the Crucifixion as recorded in the Gospels – the Stabat Mater dolorosa stands as the second most important genre connected to Easter. Based on a poem used as a sequence and hymn in the Roman liturgy, it reflects on the suffering of Mary during Jesus's execution.
This release is dedicated to some of the most famous settings of the Stabat mater, revealing the genre's varying treatment by composers over the centuries. From Palestrina's effective use of polyphony to Pergolesi's unusually sparse instrumental accompaniment and lack of chorus, we move forward in time to contributions by Vivaldi and Haydn, the latter of whom employs daring harmonies in order to heighten the text's depictions of pain and anguish. Dvorák is next to follow, with Boccherini's stirring chamber setting rounding off the compilation; though probably conceived in response to the death of his children, the former composer's work features music that is largely secular and symphonic in design, thus comparable to the structure of a Romantic oratorio.
These compositions rank among some of the most famous and affecting music ever composed. The compilation makes for a fascinating journey through the history of sacred choral composition, detailing many an inspiring performance along the way; a fantastic addition to Brilliant Classics' comprehensive library of choral music.
- Composers who wrote a Stabat Mater are: Palestrina,Vivaldi, Pergolesi, Boccherini, Haydn, Dvorak. Each work gained considerable popularity, the Pergolesi Stabat Mater even became one of the most famous and iconic sacred works of all time.
- Performances by leading choirs and soloists: the Clare College Choir Cambridge/Timothy Brown, Stuttgart Chamber Choir/Frieder Bernius, Czech Philharmonic/Smetacek and others.
- A splendid collection of sacred works, a valuable addition to the Brilliant Classics Choral Classics series.
- Sung texts available on www.brilliantclassics.com.