Of two hymns, Stabat Mater Dolorosa (about the Sorrows of Mary) and Stabat Mater Speciosa (joyfully referring to the Nativity of Jesus), Stabat Mater usually refers to the first, a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, variously attributed to the Franciscan Jacopone da Todi and to Innocent III.
The title of the sorrowful hymn is an incipit of the first line, Stabat mater dolorosa ("The sorrowful mother stood"). The Dolorosa hymn, one of the most powerful and immediate of extant medieval poems, meditates on the suffering of Mary, Jesus Christ's mother, during his crucifixion. It is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Dolorosa has been set to music by many composers, with the most famous settings being those by Palestrina, Pergolesi, Alessandro Scarlatti and Domenico Scarlatti, Vivaldi, Haydn, Rossini, Poulenc, and Dvořák.
The Dolorosa was well known by the end of the 14th century and Georgius Stella wrote of its use in 1388, while other historians note its use later in the same century. In Provence, about 1399, it was used during the nine days processions.
As a liturgical sequence, the Dolorosa was suppressed, along with hundreds of other sequences, by the Council of Trent, but restored to the missal by Pope Benedict XIII in 1727 for the Feast of the Seven Dolours of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The joyful hymn Stabat Mater Speciosa ("The beautiful mother stood") first appeared in a 1495 edition of the Italian poems of Jacopone da Todi which contained both Stabats; but the Speciosa was almost forgotten until it was re-transcribed in 1852 in the "Poètes Franciscains en Italie au Treizième siècle" in Paris. The Speciosa has since been viewed as one of the tenderest Marian hymns and one of the seven greatest Latin hymns. It has become part of standard oratorios, and given rise to various Christmas carols.[not in citation given]
Text and translation
Stabat mater dolorosa
Cuius animam gementem,
O quam tristis et afflicta
Quae mœrebat et dolebat,
Quis est homo qui non fleret,
Quis non posset contristari
Pro peccatis suæ gentis
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
Eia, Mater, fons amoris
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
Tui Nati vulnerati,
Fac me tecum pie flere,
Juxta Crucem tecum stare,
Virgo virginum præclara,
Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
Fac me plagis vulnerari,
Flammis ne urar succensus,
Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
Quando corpus morietur,
At the Cross her station keeping,
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
O how sad and sore distressed
Christ above in torment hangs,
Is there one who would not weep,
Can the human heart refrain
For the sins of His own nation,
She beheld her tender Child,
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
Holy Mother! pierce me through,
Let me share with thee His pain,
Let me mingle tears with thee,
By the Cross with thee to stay,
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Let me, to my latest breath,
Wounded with His every wound,
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
While my body here decays,
Translation by Edward Caswall
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Composers who have written settings of the Stabat Mater include Josquin des Prez, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Antonio Vivaldi, and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi; of the latter's setting, the German poet Tieck opined: "I had to turn away to hide my tears, especially at the place, 'Vidit suum dulcem natum'". Joseph Haydn's Stabat Mater is considered "a treasury of refined and graceful melody". Others who have written settings are Agostino Steffani, Giovanni Carlo Maria Clari, Emanuele d'Astorga, Winter, Raimondi, Vito, Lanza, Neukomm. In the 19th century, Gioachino Rossini wrote his setting after retiring from the composition of opera, while Antonín Dvořák wrote his setting when he was still active in writing secular music. Most of the settings are in Latin, but Karol Szymanowski's setting and Paul Bebenek's are in Polish. The "Stabat Mater" was most recently set to music, in a Russian translation, by Metropolitan Hilarion (Grigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev).
Others: John Browne, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Antonio Vivaldi, Antonio Caldara, Charles Villiers Stanford, Charles Gounod, Krzysztof Penderecki, Francis Poulenc, Giovanni Felice Sances, Alessandro Scarlatti (1724), Domenico Scarlatti (1715), Pedro de Escobar, František Tůma, Vladimir Martynov, Arvo Pärt, Josef Rheinberger, Giuseppe Verdi, Pasquale Cafaro, Zoltán Kodály, Trond Kverno (1991), Pawel Lukaszewski (1994), Frank Ferko (1999), Bruno Coulais (2005), the black metal band Anorexia Nervosa, the symphonic metal band Epica on the live albums The Classical Conspiracy and Retrospect, Karl Jenkins and Stefano Lentini included in the film The Grandmasters by Wong Kar-Wai.
- Stabat Mater by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina
- Stabat Mater by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
- Stabat Mater by Joseph Haydn
- Stabat Mater by Domenico Scarlatti
- Stabat Mater by Gioachino Rossini
- Stabat Mater by Karol Szymanowski
- Stabat Mater by Francis Poulenc
- Stabat Mater by Arvo Pärt
- Stabat Mater by Stefano Lentini
- Stabat Mater by Antonín Dvořák
- Stabat Mater, ballet by Peter Martins
- Stabat Mater by Karl Jenkins
- Stabat Mater by Antonio Vivaldi
- Stabat Mater by Giuseppe Verdi
- Stabat Mater Ixxi by Sasha Lazard
- Stabat Mater by Charles Villiers Stanford
- Stabat Mater by Antonio Caldara
- Catholic encyclopedia
- Sabatier, Paul Life of St. Francis Assisi Charles Scribner Press, NY, 1919, page 286
- The seven great hymns of the Mediaeval Church by Charles Cooper Nott 1868 ASIN: B003KCW2LA page 96
- p. 574, Alighieri, Durling, Martinez (2003) Dante, Robert M., Ronald L. Oxford The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Purgatorio Volume 2 of The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri Oxford University Press. "The Stabat Mater by the Franciscan Jacopone da Todi."
- Stabat Mater, Volume 68 by Girolamo Abos, Joseph Vella Bondin 2003 ISBN 0-89579-531-0 page xviii 
- Heartz, Daniel (1995). Haydn, Mozart and the Viennese School: 1740-1780. W.W. Norton & Co. p. 305. ISBN 0-393-03712-6. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
- Stabatmater Speciosa
- The Standard Oratorios by George P. Upton (1893 ed.) ISBN 1-4068-5458-1 page 97
- Old Catholic Encyclopedia
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Stabat Mater". Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.
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- A catalog of Stabat Mater settings About 650 settings from the end of the 15th century to 2008
- Several English translations
- Chant performed by "Exsurge Domine" vocal ensemble.