Christi Mutter (Stabat Mater)

SSATB unacc. (This work is often staged as well.  See YouTube for examples)

The text authorship of CHRISTI MUTTER (Stabat Mater) is unresolved. But what is clear is the unmatched tenderness and profound sadness of a mother watching her son die on a cross. This movement features three “characters,” beginning with the mother (“Christi Mutter!”)  The work starts with an outburst of raw emotion as the mother stands by the cross and the sound of a hammer and nail shatter the texture. Then the second “character” is the antagonist crowd – fanatically zealous and sharply split in opinion, represented by frenetic, almost chaotic rhythmic figures. This dissolves into the third scene, or “character,” where two people – a woman from the nay-saying crowd, and soldier – who is driving the nails, see the mother’s face as she looks at her dying son. They identify with her as a parent and a fellow human being, and their “heart” changes, and they say, “O Virgin of virgins, look at me in love, so that I might feel your pain.”

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