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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
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?
 

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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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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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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!
Crucifix Cross Organism Art Religious item
 
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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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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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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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 :p
 
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So I went overboard - some I purchased, most I found at my local library. But these are now on my iPod to listen to.

Vivaldi - 2 versions, one with Fabio Biondi on Virgin, the other by the Ensemble Matheus on Naive.
Pergolesi - 2 versions, one again by Biondi on Virgin, the other (which I purchased) by Florilegium on Channel Classics.
Poulenc - Ozawa on DG
Rossini - Myung-Whun Chung on DG
John Browne - I actually had this one all along, just didn't realize it, sung by the Tallis Scholars
Cornysh - already mentioned, sung by the Tallis Scholars
Josquin des Prez - Herreweghe, Harmonia Mundi (purchased)
Szymanowski - Simon Rattle on EMI
Palestrina - purchased recording by the Tallis Scholars.

That should give me plenty to listen to and digest.
 

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The Poulenc and the Szymanowski are probably my favorites. I just discovered the Szymanowski this last year and I come back to it often. Also, has anybody mentioned the Stabat Mater by Arvo Part? It is a simple and beautiful rendition. Highly recommended.
 

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For Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, this is the CD of good choice, as it includes two other (rather rare) works by the composer, one of which is of disputed authorship but magnificent regardless of the truth - I'm talking about Orphean work performed by Netrebko:

 
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