“Dvorak: Stabat Mater Op. 58”
|Antonin Dvorak||Stabat Mater, Op. 58.|
Ling Li (Bass), Mihoko Fujimura (Mezzo-Soprano), Erin Wall (Soprano), Christian Elsner (Tenor).
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks.
Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks – Mariss Jansons.
The medieval poem “Stabat Mater” about the mourning of Mary under the Cross was repeatedly set to music, but Dvorak’s Choir Concerto conveys deep pain and budding hope in a very special way.
Among the numerous settings that the Latin poem has experienced since its creation in the 13th century, Antonin Dvořáks’s work stands out in many respects. On the one hand, with about eighty minutes of playing time, it is one of the most comprehensive versions of the ten-strophic poem, but above all the opulent orchestration – a choir and four soloists complement the orchestra – the deeply felt piety, the sustained overall conduct, which is repeatedly broken by dynamic and dramatic moments, make Dvořáks STABAT MATER a special musical experience. It impressively combines hope and sorrow, borne, grieving moments in minor that dominate the first half of the work, with the blossoming confidence in major that shines through in the second half.
The creation of the work, from the first sketch in February 1876 to the completion of the score in November 1877, was accompanied by great strokes of fate in Dvořáks Leben. In December 1875 daughter Josefa died shortly after her birth, in late summer 1877 the couple Dvořák lost their eleven-month-old daughter Ružena and shortly afterwards son Otakar. In the deep mourning for his children, Dvořák resumed work on his STABAT MATER after a break of several months. The premiere of the work in Prague in December 1880 also marked the international breakthrough of Dvořáks.
The Neue Zürcher Zeitung NZZ described Janson’s interpretation of Dvořáks STABAT MATER as a “highlight of this year’s Lucerne Easter Festival”. “The descending semitones of the beginning produced touching urgency […] and the final call for paradise suggested radiant certainty,” she says enthusiastically. “Recently the festival belonged to the guests from Munich”, the Landbote also says, “How clear-cut drawing and painterly softness could be combined was an extraordinary listening experience”. The identically cast performance in Munich was also celebrated. “The soloists surprised the audience with their duets and quartets, in which the timbres of the four singers perfectly combined,” bachtrack judges, concluding that “Jansons […] made this performance a great concert experience thanks to careful preparation, differentiated phrasing and moving dynamics.