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Friday, February 26, 2010 7:30 PM
St. Mary’s Chapel
Come to the Cathedral and join us for the first in the series of Lenten Concerts given by the National Cathedral’s concert ensemble, Cathedra.
In this evening’s program we celebrate the baroque using two wonderful yet contrasting settings of the Stabat Mater. Pergolesi’s famous setting for two solo voices and baroque ensemble is preceded by J.S. Bach’s motet Komm Jesu Komm. The second half will include another Bach motet, Jesu Meine Freude, followed by the sumptuous 12-part setting of the Stabat Mater text by Alessandro Scarlatti.
The Stabat Mater of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, whose three-hundredth birthday we celebrate this year, is scored for two solo voices, allowing the heart-wrenching suspensions to linger in the listeners’ ears long after the music ends.
The setting by Domenico Scarlatti will also be performed by soloists, one singer on each of the ten parts. Performing the piece in this manner brings out the stunning dissonances that characterize Italian works of this period and furthermore emphasizes the virtuosic style of Scarlatti’s writing for voice.
The motet Komm, Jesu Komm, which opens the performance, sets a short passage of hymnal poetry by Paul Thymich, a librettist and teacher who preceded Bach at the Thomaschule. Jesu, Meine Freude, which opens the second half of the evening, is the longest and most formally structured of Bach’s motets. Its 11 movements are taken alternatively from chorales and biblical passages, and are structured as a musical palindrome, with an intricate and glorious fugue on a text from Romans 8.