Hyperion Records

Stabat mater, Op 61
1800 version
author of text
Sequence for the Feast of Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary

'Boccherini & Astorga: Stabat mater' (CDA67108)
Boccherini & Astorga: Stabat mater
Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDA67108  Archive Service  
'Boccherini & Astorga: Stabat mater' (SACDA67108)
Boccherini & Astorga: Stabat mater
SACDA67108  Super-Audio CD — Deleted  
'The King's Consort Collection' (KING7)
The King's Consort Collection
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Movement 01: Stabat mater dolorosa
Movement 02: Cuius animam gementem
Movement 03: Quae moerebat et dolebat
Track 3 on CDA67108 [3'11] Archive Service
Track 3 on SACDA67108 [3'11] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 04: Quis est homo, qui non fleret
Movement 05: Pro peccatis suae gentis
Track 5 on CDA67108 [4'15] Archive Service
Track 5 on SACDA67108 [4'15] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 06: Eia mater, fons amoris
Movement 07: Tui nati, vulnerati
Movement 08: Virgo virginum praeclara
Movement 09: Fac ut portem Christi mortem
Track 9 on CDA67108 [2'32] Archive Service
Track 9 on SACDA67108 [2'32] Super-Audio CD — Deleted
Movement 10: Fac me plagis vulnerari
Movement 11: Quando corpus morietur

Stabat mater, Op 61
The influence of Pergolesi on Boccherini's setting of the Stabat Mater, the sequence for the Feast of Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is abundantly clear. Like Pergolesi, Boccherini chooses the melancholy key of F minor and a bittersweet mood of tender supplication, juxtaposed with vocal writing that would more normally be associated with opera. The same sighing appoggiaturas and advanced harmony that made Pergolesi's work so forward-looking for its time are still present: even the famous Pergolesi walking bass is heard at the opening of the final section.

Throughout Boccherini's remarkable succession of solos, duets and trios there is a constant flow of invention. Here is writing of extraordinary individuality from a composer, nearing the end of his life, setting one of the most poignant of all sacred texts with an open Christian conviction that comes straight from the heart. The opening, large-scale movement mixes string writing of startling, anguished textures (also showing Boccherini's fastidious eye for expressive detail) with ravishing vocal melancholy. The gentle Cuius animam, still gloriously bittersweet, is interrupted at its conclusion by the second soprano, setting up the melodic Quae maerebat. A winding violin melody introduces the accompagnato-like Quis est homo and a tender Pro peccatis suae gentis, in which Jesus gives up his spirit with exquisite, gentle simplicity. The Eia Mater, fons amoris is particularly striking, the instrumental prelude coloured by Boccherini's favoured cello playing in its rich treble tessitura, the sopranos eloquently and operatically duetting.

The busy vocal trio Tui nati vulnerati is introduced by active string figurations, scales flying, with contrast supplied by a slow, veiled middle section. Virgo virginum praeclara is another masterpiece: the instrumental texture of solo violin, accompanied by pizzicato cello, viola countermelody and the second violin's gently rocking figurations creates a rich cushion of sound for a ravishing soprano melody. The second soprano's Fac ut portem is lyrical in its gentle rocking 6/8 rhythm, followed by the total contrast of the aggressive, triumphant trio Fac me plagis. For Quando corpus, such operatic devices are forgotten: Pergolesi's bass returns in a mood of total submission – all passion has been spent. The bells of paradise gently chime in the violins, and the work closes with Boccherini's serene picture of the world to come. This extraordinary, neglected masterpiece is surely one of the most remarkable sacred compositions of the era.

from notes by Robert King © 1999

Track-specific metadata
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Details for SACDA67108 track 1
Movement 1: Stabat mater dolorosa
Recording date
24 February 1999
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Boccherini & Astorga: Stabat mater (CDA67108)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: September 1999
    Deletion date: January 2008
    Archive Service
  2. Boccherini & Astorga: Stabat mater (SACDA67108)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: September 1999
    Deletion date: August 2013
    Super-Audio CD — Deleted
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