Stabat mater

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Stabat mater dolorosa, from the Latin: “His mother stood” was a 13th century poem of uncertain origin (possibly by the Italian Franciscan, Jacapone da Todi), concerning the Crucifixion of Christ from the viewpoint of His Mother at the foot of the cross. It is associated with the Friday after Passion Sunday, and for 15th September. It entered the catholic liturgy as a plainsong “sequence” (a form of chant) in the 15th century, was removed during the Council of Trent in the middle of the 16th, then revived in 1727.

Musical settings have abounded from the late medieval period to today, with polyphonic compositions by Josquin Desprez and Palestrina among others before becoming grander during the 18th century with versions for soloists, choir and orchestra by Pergolesi and Joseph Haydn becoming particularly popular. Gioacchino Rossini, Antonin Dvorak, Giuseppe Verdi, Francis Poulenc and the Pole, Karel Szymanowsky have well known settings. There is a modern stabat mater by the contemporary Latvian composer, Arvo Part.

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