Since our Spring Concert falls, as usual, in the Lenten period, Marc Murray, our Director of Music, has chosen three settings of Stabat Mater for half the programme. Stabat Mater is a thirteenth-century hymn to the Virgin Mary, exploring her sorrow as she stands by the cross on which her Son has been crucified, begging to share in her grief and praying to join Christ in paradise when death eventually comes. The poem consists of twenty 3-line stanzas; the language is vivid and emotional. So it is not surprising to find that it has attracted many composers over the centuries since it was written, though they don’t all set the complete poem.
The earliest and best known setting that we shall be singing, dating from the end of the 16th century, is by Palestrina. This is an impressive work for double chorus, which sets all 20 stanzas, creating different effects with the eight vocal lines at his disposal.
Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla, a Spanish composer, working in the 17th century sets just the first two stanzas of the poem, in music that is heartfelt and melodic. The third setting that we shall be singing is by the youthful Schubert. He set the first four stanzas in music that is both lyrical and dramatic.
The other half of our programme is taken up by Dvorak’s Mass in D. He too did write a Stabat Mater, but perhaps a whole evening of such settings would have been a bit indigestible, and in any case his is a very long one! The Mass that we shall be performing has the lovely melodies we associate with that composer and plenty of drama in his setting of the well-known words.
The concert will be conducted by Marc Murray, with Shaun Turnbull on the organ.
Saturday, 6 April 2019 at 7.30pm.
Holy Trinity Church, Hoghton St, Southport PR9 0PT.
Tickets: £12 at the door. In advance: 01704 540097 or 01704 535208.