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Thread: Your favourite Stabat Mater?

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    Default Your favourite Stabat Mater?

    This medieval Latin hymn, a searingly direct depiction of Mary's feelings during the Crucifixion, has been set to music by many of the great composers. I'm referring here, of course, to the dolorosa, though contributors are also welcome to talk about settings of the speciosa if they so wish.

    My personal favourite is Pergolesi's beautifully airy, delicate setting (why, did Pergolesi have to die so young?). I'm also rather fond of Szymanowski's version, which as with much of his music, seems to be criminally underrated in comparison to relatively ordinary works by composers who are more widely popular. Rossini's deploys perhaps just a little too much operatic bombast for my tastes, though I must concede that it also contains some fine music (some of which I would perhaps have appreciated better in another piece).

    I've not by any means heard all settings of the Stabat Mater, however, and I may still be missing out on some of the finest ones. Which are your own favourites? Are there specific recordings that you'd like to recommend?
    Last edited by Orpheus; Jan-15-2014 at 06:02.

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    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    Second the Szymanowski - it blew me away the first time I heard and made me a long-time fan. I'm not much of a baroque listener but the Scarlatti has wonderful textural and harmonic qualities which for me makes it more interesting than Pergolesi

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    My favorite is Haydn's Stabat Mater conducted by Pinnock on Archiv - a sharp and exciting version.

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    I absolutely love Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. His premature death was indeed one of the greatest losses in classical music. Before the death of Bach, Pergolesi was already pointing toward the more stripped-down structure of the classical era. I can easily imagine his as a third along-side Mozart and Haydn in the classical era. I have several recordings of the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi... but no clear favorite... although this recording with Michael Chance is quite good:



    After Pergolesi, I would highly recommend Boccherini's intimate Stabat Mater scored for chamber group and soloist. The Harmonia Mundi recording with Chiara Banchini is absolutely marvelous:



    I also love Rossini's Stabat Mater... in spite of the fact that it often sounds more like a comic opera than a meditation upon maternal loss. The composer himself would even acknowledge this.
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    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    A toss-up between Poulenc's and Szymanowski's.
    “Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

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    Senior Member dgee's Avatar
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    How did I forget Poulenc? Shame on me - I only listened to it a couple of days ago!

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    Senior Member Ingélou's Avatar
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    Vivaldi for me; I love the elegant instrumental interludes but especially when the ?key changes, and the drama and the pathos hit me suddenly on the words 'Eia Mater...'

    It raises the hairs on the back of your neck!

    http://youtu.be/zIpbgr9aUEo
    Last edited by Ingélou; Jan-15-2014 at 08:58.
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    Senior Member GioCar's Avatar
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    I would pick up three Stabat Mater for three different centuries:

    18c Pergolesi
    19c Dvorak
    20c Poulenc

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    Senior Member Winterreisender's Avatar
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    My three favourites have already been mentioned but I'll repeat them anyway:

    1. Pergolesi
    2. Vivaldi
    3. Boccherini

    I also enjoy the Stabat Mater of D. Scarlatti. Although not quite as enjoyable (in my opinion) as the three mentioned above, it is nevertheless interesting to here some of Scarlatti's non-Keyboard works!
    ScarlattiStabat.jpg

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    Senior Member Rocco's Avatar
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    My favorite would be Vivaldi too. I haven't heard a lot of others, but I love Vivaldi's Stabat Mater.
    "No Sir, to take life is not my duty." - Rocco from Beethoven's opera Fidelio

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    Don't forget the Renaissance. I enjoy William Cornysh's setting of the Stabat Mater - the Tallis Scholars perform this work wonderfully. Admittedly, in spite of my love for religious choral works, the Cornysh Stabat Mater is the only recording of this work in my collection. With the help of this thread, I shall have to remedy that.

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    I must admit that the Poulenc had eluded me before I started this thread. I gave it a listen earlier and enjoyed it quite a lot. I don't think it will displace either of my current favourites in my estimation, it doesn't have quite either the lyrical delicacy of the Pergolesi or the visceral intensity of the Szymanowski (I'm pleased to see that I'm not the only one who likes that work, by the way!). It is, nonetheless, a very fine work. I'll have to get on to the Vivaldi soon too. I'd quite forgotten that he'd written a Stabat Mater. The Cornysh is an interesting new one for me; I may give that a try too.

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    The Cornysh is only about 15 minutes long, and purely vocal, no instruments. I'm not sure what other Renaissance composers wrote settings of the Stabat Mater, but I'm guessing he wasn't the first, given the age of the song.

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    Senior Member Couac Addict's Avatar
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    It helped if your name started with a P.

    Palestrina
    Part
    Penderecki
    Pergolesi
    Poulenc

    ...and a wildcard entrant.
    Rossini

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    Senior Member Tristan's Avatar
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    I haven't heard too many either, but Poulenc and Pergolesi do come to mind right away. I also like Dvorak's.

    So in other words, exactly what GioCar said
    A way a lone a last a loved a long the riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

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