Stabat Mater 2019
Stabat mater dolorósa juxta Crucem lacrimósa
At the Cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping
Whenever I listen to or perform one of the many Stabat Mater settings, I feel rather uncomfortable about it. Most of them are of sublime beauty (sometimes on the edge of being cheesy), and arguably some of the finest music ever written (listen to Pergolesi or Scarlatti above)
But the text, a catholic poem from the 13th century, speaks – rather flowery – about the pain Mary feels, when she watches her son brutally executed. Theology aside, this is a human tragedy we hear about. And the music, I feel, does somehow not mirror that.
With the concert I did in June 2019 I wanted to address that.
The program was a variety of Stabat Mater settings, old and new, as well as my own choral arrangements of Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder and Mussorgsky’s Songs and Dances of Death. I know these pieces well of course, as I had recorded them in 2014 (see here)
All proceeds went to the Lullaby Trust, an amazing charity, that looks after bereaved parents. Their CEO Jenny Ward spoke between the pieces about the wonderful work the Lullaby Trust does. For me, one of the best things about the concert was, how many people stayed on afterwards to talk about their, sometimes very personal, experiences.