Opening of the IV Moscow International Festival Christmas-fest
Medieval Catholic sequence Stabat Mater has been set to music by composers of different epochs and styles, contemporary authors still turn to this immortal text. The Stabat Mater hymn is one of the glories of Medieval Latin religious poetry. This text was created apparently in the XIII century. The authorship is attributed to Franciscan Jacopone da Todi. The first part of Stabat Mater narrates suffering of Mary during Jesus Christ’s crucifixion; the second part is a sinner’s prayer in giving him Heaven after death.
In 1712 Vivaldi was commissioned with composing Stabat Mater for Santa Maria della Pace in his native city Brescia. As usual in Early Baroque music, solo vocal part was written for male voice – castrato or countertenor (nowadays it is sung by deep female voice). Vocal part in spiritual Vivaldi’s motets is distinguished by such virtuosity that it can compete with the violin one for sure, and his solo motets are not coincidentally called “concertos for voice”.
Gioachino Rossini, being a renowned author of such operas as The Barber of Seville, La gazza ladra, Cinderella, and many others, during the last 38 years of his life created only one major composition – Stabat Mater. Stylistically this work is very close to opera genre. Suffice it to hear any aria, ensemble or chorus, as we realize, how Rossini drew spiritual music and opera together. Rossini supposed that in the 19th century “a person prefers heated dialogue with regard to faith, hope, and love to meditation”. Stabat Mater was performed for the first time in Paris in 1842 and it was a great success. Two months later Italian premiere in Bologna was even more triumphant, with Gaetano Donizetti as a conductor.
Metropolitan Hilarion created Stabat Mater in 2008. In his opinion, Stabat Mater is very close to Orthodox Church service, especially, to Holy Week services. “I began to think of this composition while writing St. Matthew Passion. According to Matthew the Evangelist nothing is said about God Mother’s standing at the Cross. I wanted to dedicate my piece to his theme. As the theme of mother’s cry over her child’s sufferings and the theme of the God’s Mother’s Lamentation of the whole world and her prayer to her son, being God by now– are eternal”