Stabat Mater, G. Rossini
A performance of Gioachino Rossini's wonderfully evocative piece, Stabat Mater, awaits audience-goers who attend the historic Teatro Filarmonico, one of Verona's premier venues and a superb auditorium for both choral and orchestral music. Taking to the stage is the reputed Italian conductor, Roberto Abbado, whose ability with the baton numerous music critics have applauded. This piece of sacred music, which was composed after a 13th-century Christian hymn to the Virgin Mary to portray her suffering as Jesus Christ was crucified, is likely to be an emotional experience for all who attend.
Meaning in English, 'the mother was standing' Stabat Mater is one of the few well-known religious works by Rossini who is perhaps more famous for his comic operas. In fact, Rossini was not the first composer to set this mediaeval hymn to music. He elected to begin a score for his version based on some of the chord progressions that others had laid out before him. Despite, this Rossini's work is highly original and it is hardly surprising to learn that it constituted something of a labour of love for him given that it took him a decade to complete.
The Italian composer began work on Stabat Mater in 1831 which was already late in his musical career when his comic operas were already behind him. Although an initial performance took place at the Chapel of San Felipe el Real in Madrid in 1833, this version wasn't staged again. Rossini continued to work on it until 1841 when the version we know today was finalised. Stabat Mater is arranged in ten movements, each one representing one or more verses of the hymn. Arranged for an orchestra and a choir, the work requires four vocal soloists, a soprano, a mezzo-soprano, a tenor and a bass. Rossini's version ends with a mixed choir singing the hymn to its conclusion.
Born in 1954 in Milan Roberto Abbado is a former winner of the Premio Abbiati prize, awarded by the Italian Music Critics Association. He has worked as the Chief Conductor of the Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna and as the Musical Director of the Münchner Rundfunkorchester in the past.
With a great-sounding venue offering impeccable acoustics, a leading conductor and some superbly orchestrated music, these concerts are likely to enthuse any music fans who are fortunate enough to experience them live.