Stabat Mater - 1. Stabat Mater dolorosa

Year of composition
Moderate (Grades 4-6)
3 minutes
Modern classical music
Instrumental parts
Not available

Movement 1 of "Stabat Mater", based on a Latin poem dedicated to the Virgin Mary, depicting her grief and torment for the loss of her son, Jesus Christ.

Translation by Fr. Edward Caswall (1814-1878):

At the cross her station keeping, stood the mournful Mother weeping, close to Jesus to the last. Through her heart, His sorrow sharing, all His bitter anguish bearing, now at length the sword had pass'd. Oh, how sad and sore distress'd was that Mother highly bless'd, of the sole-begotten One! Christ above in torment hangs; she beneath beholds the pangs of her dying glorious Son.

Reviews from

  • "This is quite a dynamic piece for having been written by a 19 yr. old Australian young man… It is modern yet classical in sound and structure, i.e. chaos to resolution, cluster chords, modal, yet sensible in usage. It definitely carries a great weight with regard to the dramatic involvement of the singers and the stylistic interpretation it so richly deserves. The dynamics alone are impressive: ppp-fff. This "Stabat Mater" will be full of tension-filled dramatic moments followed by equally as many relaxed and gentle moments of pathos and serenity. This is an absolutely wonderful composition. It possesses all of the great ingredients of an a'cappella composition: drama, tonality versus atonality, extreme dynamics, serious subject matter, superb moments of musical nuance, challenging rhythms, tricky metric notation and flowing melodic lines of romanticism. This piece has it all, and yet it is only 20-25 minutes in length."

    Dr. J.D. Goddard, Founder and Artistic Director of Master Singers, Inc. of Northeast Ohio and Chamber Singers, Inc.
  • "This setting of the Stabat Mater is truly remarkable. This is the music of a very talented composer. To set the lengthy, sometimes repetitive, text of the Stabat is no mean feat, but here he has done so with originality and a great deal of sensitivity for the text and performers (something we could do with a lot more on this site). This is a composer to watch. Remarkable."

    J J Hutchings
  • Resmiranda!
    "This is wonderful stuff. Very passionately and sensitively-written music which exhudes a great beauty. You've certainly got great talent, mate. While I'm not particularly fond of the text of Stabat Mater myself, I've got to say that your setting is one of the best I've ever heard, Pergolesi and Poulenc notwithstanding. You're clearly very influenced by the mid-renaissance period (do I hear a hint of Lassus!?), but it's certainly not plagiaristic. The movement progresses quite logically, and naturally, towards the AMEN at the end. […]"

    Tom O'Drisceoil

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