The acclaimed ensemble Le concert de l’Hostel de Dieu performs a new version of Pergolesi’ masterpiece. Their approach integrates a newly found manuscript version with improvised folk music of the Neapolitan region. The result is a captivating mixture of cultivated music and folk tradition, sacred and profane art.
From “Stabat Mater, Pergolesi: an alternative approach”
Since the middle of the 18th century, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater has been an absolute triumph all over Europe. Its initial success in Lyon can be accredited to the booming musical societies, in particular, the “Académie du Concert”. This academy was one of the most formidable of its kind, performing a wide range of sacred and profane Italian and French music. In the library of this outstanding institution, now kept in Lyon’s library, one finds a very unusual manuscript of the Stabat Mater. This particular manuscript is presented in an unexpected arrangement.
In order to accompany this dramatisation of the Stabat Mater as well as nourish its intention, we have integrated various traditional Neapolitan polyphonies (Stabat Mater, Miserere…), songs (Donna Isabella, La Carpinese) and two tarantellas. This juxtaposition of scholarly music and popular art, of the sacred and the profane, conveys the Neapolitan soul.Today this authentic spirit continues to flourish, especially during the Holy Week, through incredible and bewitching ceremonies. Musically, these are characterised by an astonishing convergence of religious songs sung by the celebrants, polyphonies improvised by the confreres in procession carrying the cross, “flonflons” of the local band interpreting extracts from the Stabat Mater or from a Verdi opera, and simultaneously outdoors, tarantellas are sung, danced and hammered. This musical amalgamation resonates continuously on the forecourts of the churches whose doors have remained ajar … From all this, a collective emotion emerges, one that is mystical and festive, painful and joyous, surprising and troublesome.