This will be a performance of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater for Organ, Chorus and Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass soloists. Stabat Mater Dolorosa – is a hymn traditionally sung on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The literal translation is ‘the sorrowful Mother standing’ and the words meditate on the agony of the Virgin Mary as she stands at the foot of the cross on which her Son, Jesus Christ, hangs.
Dvorak was a man of simple, but deep faith. Upon completion, he inscribed most of his manuscripts with the words “Thanks be to God” in Czech. That faith was put to the test when all three of his children died within the span of a year. The eldest was three; the youngest a new-born daughter who lived less than a day. It was that death which inspired him to sketch a setting of the 13th-century poem describing Mary at the foot of the cross. After the lacerating loss of his other two children, he expanded his original concept to include a full orchestra while distributing the contents of the poem’s 20 stanzas in ten movements instead of seven. Via the poem, Dvořák gave full voice to his profound sorrow and ultimately found solace, acceptance, and affirmation in identifying with the grieving mother, Mary, and her suffering son. Although the words are hauntingly sad, Dvorak’s inspired melodies and harmonies are memorable and uplifting.
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