Pergolesi’s with Roberta Invernizzi and Romina Basso.

Leona Mitchell, Frederica von Stade, David Rendall and Paul Plishka convene for Rossini’s.

And the Szymanowski features Teresa Zylis-Gara, Unni Rugtvedt, and Robert Kerns.

A fixture of the Easter season, Stabat Mater is a 13th century Latin hymn consisting of 20 three-line verses portraying the Virgin Mary as she grieves for her son Jesus’s suffering on the Cross. It has been set by composers many times and today’s include the most celebrated of the 18th and 19th century versions along with one from a hundred years ago that should be better known.

One of the most often performed of all Italian baroque works, Pergolesi’s, for soprano and alto, was composed in 1736, the final year of the composer’s very brief life: he died at 26. While it has now mostly been reclaimed by Early Music specialists, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater was once often programmed by Claudio Abbado and recently recorded by Anna Netrebko (with Marianna Pizzolato) under Antonio Pappano. My first LP encounter was the version with Mirella Freni and Teresa Berganza, who both later returned to the studio for Alessandro Scarlatti’s similarly two-voice Stabat Mater.

Rossini began his in 1831, two years after his final opera Guillaume Tell premiered. But Stabat Mater did not have its first full performance until 1842 when the composer was 50. The ecstatically received work, lasting more than an hour and featuring four soloists, chorus and orchestra, would prove his last large-scale composition; the more intimate Petite Messe Solenelle followed in 1864 after more than twenty years of relative silence from the beloved composer.

Szymanowski worked on his Stabat Mater during the time he was also writing his best-known opera Król Roger. The sacred work, the shortest of today’s three, for soprano, alto, baritone, chorus and orchestra, was first performed in 1929.

Poulenc’s Stabat Mater which followed Szymanowski’s by more than twenty years remains available from an earlier Trove Thursday episode:

Tomorrow, Good Friday, Myung-Whun Chung returns to the Rossini work he led in Los Angeles 40 years earlier for a live stream from Rome’s Accademia Santa Cecilia with soloists Mariangela Sicilia, Chiara Amarù, Jack Swanson and Gianluca Buratto.

Pergolesi: Stabat Mater

Louvre, Paris
12 January 2011

Roberta Invernizzi
Romina Basso

Il Complesso Barocco

Conductor — Alan Curtis

Rossini: Stabat Mater

Los Angeles
9 March 1981

Leona Mitchell
Frederica von Stade
David Rendall
Paul Plishka

Los Angeles Master Chorale

Los Angeles Philharmonic

Conductor — Myung-Whun Chung

Szymanowski: Stabat Mater

Musikverein, Vienna

26 April 1975

Teresa Zylis-Gara
Unni Rugtvedt
Robert Kerns

Singverein des Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien

Conductor – Jerzy Semkow

These three versions of Stabat Mater can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 files will appear in your download directory.

The New York Times has just devoted three articles to the 50th anniversary of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies.

For those curious to hear the original cast performing the entire show (not just the excerpts included on the unfortunate OCR), Trove Thursday offers an in-house recording from the Winter Garden Theater.

In addition, more than 400 other podcast tracks are always available from Apple Podcasts for free, or via any RSS reader.

The archive which lists all Trove Thursday offerings in alphabetical order by composer was up-to-dated in late December.