Stabat Mater (Poulenc)

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Stabat Mater
Choral music by Francis Poulenc
Catalogue FP 148
Text Stabat Mater
Language Latin
Composed 1950 (1950)
Performed 1951
  • soprano solo
  • mixed choir
  • orchestra

Stabat Mater, FP 148, is a musical setting of the Stabat Mater sequence composed by Francis Poulenc in 1950. Poulenc wrote the piece in response to the death of his friend, artist Christian Bérard; he considered writing a Requiem for Bérard, but, after returning to the shrine of the Black Virgin of Rocamadour, he selected the medieval Stabat Mater text.[1] Poulenc's setting, scored for soprano solo, mixed chorus, and orchestra, premiered in 1951 at the Strasbourg Festival. The Stabat Mater was well-received throughout Europe, and in the United States it won the New York Critics’ Circle Award for Best Choral Work of the year.[2]


The Stabat Mater is divided into twelve movements,[3] which vary dramatically in character from somber to light and frivolous, even on the most serious of texts. All the movements, though, are relatively brief; Robert Shaw's Telarc recording runs just under 30 minutes, with the longest movement taking just over four minutes.

  1. Stabat mater dolorosa (Très calme)
  2. Cujus animam gementem (Allegro molto--Très violent)
  3. O quam tristis (Très lent)
  4. Quae moerebat (Andantino)
  5. Quis est homo (Allegro molto—Prestissimo)
  6. Vidit suum (Andante)
  7. Eja mater (Allegro)
  8. Fac ut ardeat (Maestoso)
  9. Sancta mater (Moderato--Allegretto)
  10. Fac ut portem (To. de Sarabande)
  11. Inflammatus et accensus (Animé et très rythmé)
  12. Quando corpus (Très calme)

The soprano soloist appears in only three movements: Vidit suum, Fac ut portem, and Quando corpus. The chorus appears largely a cappella in two others, O quam tristis and Fac ut ardeat, although the orchestra is not fully silent in either.



  1. ^ Mellers.
  2. ^ Hell.
  3. ^ Schmidt 1995.

Source texts[edit]

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