Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Music in the Morning No. 307 – Pergolesi


This morning’s music is hauntingly beautiful. 

Shortly before his death in 1736 Giovanni Battista Pergolesi composed this piece, Stabat Mater Dolorosa, for soprano and alto.  The form is described by Wikipedia thus,

Of two hymns, Stabat Mater Dolorosa (about the Sorrows of Mary) and Stabat Mater Speciosa (joyfully referring to the Nativity of Jesus), Stabat Mater usually refers to the first, a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, variously attributed to the Franciscan Jacopone da Todi and to Innocent III.

The title of the sorrowful hymn is an incipit of the first line, Stabat mater dolorosa ("The sorrowful mother stood"). The Dolorosa hymn, one of the most powerful and immediate of extant medieval poems, meditates on the suffering of Mary, Jesus Christ's mother, during his crucifixion. It is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Dolorosa has been set to music by many composers, with the most famous settings being those by Palestrina, Pergolesi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Domenico Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Haydn, Rossini, Poulenc, and Dvořák.

I’m not much wiser after reading that but after listening ……

Stabat Mater Dolorosa


…. I’m much, much wiser.

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