Saturday, March 06, 2010

Stabat Mater (Dolorosa) at St. John Cantius Catholic Church

St. Cantius Catholic Church offered the Stations of the Cross last evening. God knows I need as much Church as any sinner can get and I sin like a Congressman on junkets.

One of the most beautiful pieces of music from the Baroque period was performed - the Stabat Mater by Pergolesi. Click my post title ( Katia Ricciarelli and Lucia Valentini sing the final movement of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. 1979. Conductor: Claudio Abbado.)

Stabat Mater means - the Standing Mother - Mary Mother of Christ. It is the heartbreaking depiction of a mother witnessing the last breaths of her Child - think of Childrens Memorial Hospital at any given time.

St. John Cantius Catholic Church celebrates the magnificence and te simplicity of Faith. In our zip-lock culture, Faith is sneered at and shouted over. Faith engines our efforts and taps on the shoulders about our obligations to those we love and those we are commanded to love - that's the tough one, boys and Girls.

St. John Cantius
825 N. Carpenter St.
Chicago, IL 60642

About the Stabat Mater

Date 1736

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710 - 1736) was born in Jesi, Italy. His name became known thanks to his comic opera La Serva Padrone. He was slightly handicapped and had a weak constitution. He probably died of tuberculosis. A lot of confusion exists about which works Pergolesi did or did not compose. As his work came more and more in demand, some publishers tried to make a little extra by taking an anonymous composition and attaching the name of Pergolesi to it. However, about the Stabat Mater there is no doubt. It is known that in his early years he composed a Stabat Mater in A minor.
Probably the Stabat Mater in C minor was Pergolesi's last composition. The commission for this work was given by the same Order in Naples for which Alessandro Scarlatti 20 years earlier had composed a Stabat Mater. Though the score of the compositions is almost identical, the melodic lines of Pergolesi are more sentimental and highly ornamented.The piece was widely acclaimed and it seems to have inspired many composers to imitate, paraphrase and adapt (see Brunetti, de Nardis and Paisiello). Joseph Eybler (1764 - 1846), who was a friend of Mozart and who became Court Kapellmeister in Vienna after Antonio Salieri, added a choir to replace some of the duets, and extended the orchestra. Others were John Adam Hiller/Johann Adam Hüller (1728 - 1804) and Alexy Fyodorovich L'vov (ca. 1830). The musical setting of Psalm 51 "Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden" of the great Johann Sebastian is another example.

Performers Soprano, alto, three violins, cello, organ
Length 41.44 minutes (CD 1), 41.30 minutes (CD 2), 37.27 minutes (CD 3), 40.03 minutes (CD 4), 34.58 minutes (CD 5), 39.38 minutes (CD 6), 33.12 (CD 7)
Particulars The work is divided into twelve sections, varying from one to five stanzas. Very moving melodies, which led to some criticism because they were thought to be too cheerful. Interesting is the line "dum e-mi-sit" which is sung intermittently, as a musical picture of the last breaths of Jesus. This is found also with some other composers.
Some interpretations deviate from the composer's score, as a choir has been added to the two voices (see the second Colorbar, based on CD 2). This is probably based on the Eybler adaptation.

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