Antonín Dvořák: Stabat Mater, Op.58
Sunday 24 February 2019 10.00am
Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre
Andrew Wailes, conductor
Merlyn Quaife AM, soprano
Emily Bauer-Jones, contralto
Michael Lapiña, tenor
Markus Matheis, baritone
Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir
Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra
Duration: 1 hour 30 mins (no interval)
The 3MBS Fine Music Melbourne 2019 Dvořák Marathon brings Australia’s finest classical musicians together for an immersive all-day experience celebrating the works of Antonín Dvořák.
Across six concerts in a single day, the 3MBS Dvořák Marathon program celebrates some of the best and lesser-known chamber music including a vast collection of solo piano works.
A highlight performance will be the magnificent Stabat Mater, performed by the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra in the opening concert of the marathon, conducted by Andrew Wailes. They will be joined by and international cast of four superb soloists: the Australian soprano Merlyn Quaife AM, British contralto Emily Bauer-Jones, the Filipino-Australian tenor Michael Lapiña and German baritone Markus Matheis.
Other performances include The Australian Children’s Choir, Corpus Medicorum, Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Stefan Cassomenos, Calvin Bowman, Wilma Smith, Sutherland Trio and 2018 Yehudi Menuhin International Competition winner Christian Li. Making their Marathon debuts are the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) and Orava Quartet.
ABOUT DVOŘÁK’S STABAT MATER
Stabat Mater Op. 58, for soli, choir and orchestra by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák must surely rank as one of the finest and most most emotionally–charged choral works of the 19th century.
The work was sketched in 1876 and completed in 1877, composed as Dvořák’s reaction to the tragic death of his daughter, Josefa. The sketch was dedicated to František Hušpauer “as a souvenir to the friend of his young days.” However, Dvořák was forced to postpone the orchestration of the work due to his other personal and professional obligations. He returned to the final stylisation of the work in 1877, when, almost unbelievably, his two surviving children died within a short time of each other.
The definitive version of the score was written between the beginning of October and 13 November 1877 in Prague, and contains some of the most heart-achingly beautiful music of Dvořák’s entire musical output. It is a melodically beautiful and deeply affecting piece, which uses the superb vocal, choral and orchestral writing to convey the dramatic and humanistic verses of the Stabat Mater with a great sense of gravitas and profundity. The Stabat Mater is a famous 13th-century Christian hymn to Mary, which portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ’s mother during his crucifixion. Given the circumstances of this composition, it is little wonder that Dvořák’s setting is considered one of the finest examples of any composer’s setting of these tragic and powerful words.
The Stabat Mater was Dvořák’s very first work on a religious theme. It is divided into ten individual parts; only the first and the last part are thematically connected. The first performance took place on 23 December 1880 at the concert of the Association of Musical Artists in Prague. The performers included the operatic ensemble of the Czech Provisional Theatre, under the conductor Adolf Čech. The composer Leoš Janáček conducted the work a year and half later, on 2 April 1882, in Brno. Performances abroad (Budapest, London) soon ensued and the work quickly established itself as a true masterpiece.
Don’t miss this chance to hear this magnificent work performed by one of Melbourne’s finest choirs, and four superb Australian soloists, under the baton of Andrew Wailes.
The Australian premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s Stabat Mater, Op.58 was given by The Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra on 29 September 1885 at the Melbourne Town Hall, conducted by David Lee.
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Presented by 3MBS Fine Music Melbourne