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Red Dot Baroque plays Pergolesi: Stabat Mater – The Grieving Mother as part of Esplanade’s A Tapestry of Sacred Music series.
Stabat Mater, a 13th century hymn and one of the seven great hymns of the mediaeval church, has long captivated many great minds. From the Renaissance Palestrina to the 20th century Arvo Pärt, composers throughout history have been drawn by the powerful dualism of the hymn: it narrates the Virgin Mary’s anguish at Christ’s crucifixion, and simultaneously speaks to the mortal soul as a mother witnessing her son’s death.
Today, the name of Pergolesi and the Stabat Mater are almost always mentioned in the same breath. Like Mozart and his Requiem, Pergolesi wrote the Stabat Mater at his deathbed in a Franciscan monastery before dying of tuberculosis at the tender age of 26—his creative output barely lasted six years. Indeed, the final pages of Stabat Mater’s manuscript showed conspicuous signs of haste. This story of a young, dying genius spread throughout the whole of Europe, even influencing the elderly J.S. Bach to compose an arrangement of Pergolesi’s final work.
While the posthumous romance may have been a contributing factor to the work’s enduring popularity, it is merely a sum of many parts. The transcendence of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater lies in its delicate quality and Neapolitan simplicity, as the music is intended for an intimate group of faithful worshippers at the chapel of San Luigi di Palazzo in Naples.
Red Dot Baroque and their collaborators present a historically informed performance of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater. Be enraptured by the sublime sounds of this 18th Century masterpiece.