Presented for the first time in 2017 in a mesmerizing double bill with a spiritual focus, Stabat MATER by Edward Clug features the company’s dancers on the notes of another great musical work. The choreographer engages a resolutely modern dialogue with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, a masterpiece of the Italian Baroque. For Clug, the tremendously expressive score conveys life and hope.
The Origin of Pergolesi' Stabat Mater
Capturing the sorrow and anguish of the Virgin Mary at the crucifixion of her son, the medieval religious poem Stabat MATER, Latin for “the mother was standing,” was composed by Franciscan monk Jacopone da Todi. Put to music many times, it has become something of a genre unto itself, one where many composers have made their mark (including Scarlatti a few years earlier, at the start of the 18th century). Pergolesi’s version is considered to be one of the most poignant.
It has enjoyed lasting success and become a fixture of Baroque music. Simply written for two voices, basso continuo and strings, Stabat MATER’s 12 movements alternate between solos and duos, each plumbing the depths of human passion. It is a tremendously expressive work that invites reflection and contemplation. It is also a metaphysical masterpiece that, for choreographer Edward Clug, is first and foremost a work of hope.
Stabat mater dolorosa / Juxta crucem lacrimosa / Dum pendebat Filius
La mère douloureuse se tenait debout / Au pied de la croix en larmes / Tandis qu’on y suspendait son Fils.
-Excerpt from Stabat Mater, a medieval poem from monk Jacopone da Todi