This 2004 survey of modern settings of the medieval sequence Stabat Mater Dolorosa is part of conductor Marcello Viotti's project to record the little-known but worthy sacred works of the twentieth century, in conjunction with the Munich Radio Orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Chorus for their concert series Paradisi gloria. The four works by Francis Poulenc, Karol Szymanowski, Krzysztof Penderecki, and Wolfgang Rihm are dramatically different in conception and musical content, and may be regarded more as reflections of personal faith than as practical works for ecclesiastical purposes. Poulenc's somber work is a symphonic cantata, similar in its severe style to his tragic opera Dialogues of the Carmelites. In contrast, Szymanowski's setting of the text in Polish -- Stala Matka -- is quite lush and impassioned in a post-Romantic vein. Penderecki's much shorter selection is a movement from his St. Luke Passion, and shares in that landmark work's avant-garde techniques and austere a cappella textures. Wolfgang Rihm's Stabat Mater, taken from Deus Passus, is shortest of all, and in its concentrated form and tight chromatic lines may seem the least-traditional interpretation, though it plainly hearkens back to Bach's Passions. Profil's reproduction is fine, though these live recordings are somewhat lacking in clarity and presence.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Stabat Mater, for soprano, chorus & orchestra, FP 148|
|Stabat Mater, for soprano, alto, baritone, chorus & orchestra, Op. 53, M60|
|St. Luke Passion (Passio et Mors Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Secundum Lucam), for 3 voices, narrator, choruses & orchestra|
|DEUS PASSUS (St. Luke Passion), oratorio for soloists, chorus & orchestra|