Scored for SATB choir and orchestra, this lovely new setting of the Stabat Mater was commissioned by the English Arts Chorale. It is in six sections.
The Stabat Mater is my third large-scale religious choral work, following on from my 2012 setting of the Seven Last Words from the Cross , and tells of the painful grieving of the Mother Mary for her dying son. As someone who struggles with a belief in God, I have, nonetheless, always had an underlying fascination, a love, in fact, of Jesus Christ and the journey leading to his eventual demise; I feel a passionate response to him as a unique and individual man.
The poem, Stabat Mater Dolorosa , is considered by many to be one of the seven greatest Latin hymns of all time. Its origins stem from the peak of Franciscan devotion to the crucified Jesus and attributed to either Pope Innocent III, Saint Bonaventure (the 7th Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor), or more commonly, Jacapone da Todi (a Franciscan Friar from Umbria, 1230-1306), who is considered by most to be its true author.
I have divided the Latin poem into six sections and scored the work for choir, with 2 oboes (with the 2nd doubling Cor Anglais in No. 3) harp and strings. This somewhat baroque influenced orchestration is a direct response to my recent fascination with the baroque period and the works of Handel and Bach in particular. Having grown up listening to the likes of Stravinsky, Britten, Richard Strauss and Wagner etc., I am surprised, though not disappointed, to find myself, in later years, embracing early music in a way I never truly did before, and this enjoyment and evocation can unashamedly be heard in this Stabat Mater.