Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, written in 1736 when he was only 26 years old, is one of his most celebrated sacred works and composed in the final weeks of his life. The Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Latin hymn which portrays Mary standing at the foot of the cross mourning the loss of her Son. Over centuries, the text has been a popular subject for many composers including Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Haydn, Schubert, Verdi, Dvořák, and Arvo Pärt. Featuring two voices, Pergolesi’s score is 12 movements, divided in two parts. The first half is in third person, with the text providing a bit of narrative storytelling, while the second half is in first person, becoming a universal prayer.
Program Note by Jessica Lang