Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks - BRSO

Mariss Jansons – Antonín Dvořák: Stabat Mater

CD: Mariss Jansons – Antonin Dvorak: Stabat mater © BR-KLASSIK Label

Antonin Dvořák’s “Stabat Mater” was written out of deep pain. The composer had to endure several strokes of fate before and during the composition process. The result is perhaps his most haunting sacred work, which also deeply moved the audience in Munich’s Herkulessaal in March 2015. The concert with Mariss Jansons conducting Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks is recorded here on CD.

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Dvořák’s haunting “Stabat mater” for solo voices, choir and orchestra is not only the most famous church music work by the Bohemian composer – it is also one of the most impressive settings ever of the medieval poem in which Mary, the mother of Jesus, vividly expresses the pain for her crucified son.

One reason for this may have been the heavy blows of fate that accompanied the work’s creation: in 1876, a few months after his newborn daughter Josefa had suddenly died, Dvořák had begun the drafts. Then, when within a few days in August 1877 his infant daughter Ružena died of poisoning and his three-year-old son Otakar died of smallpox, leaving their parents childless, he resumed the composition; he orchestrated the score and completed it on November 13, 1877. When the “Stabat mater” was first performed in Prague on December 23, 1880, it met with overwhelming success, which contributed significantly to the lasting consolidation of the popularity of Dvořák’s music.

Even the sheer dimensions of the extensive composition are impressive; the thoughtful conception, a symphonic elaboration and the continuous expression of deeply felt inwardness give this music a special dignity. – However, even the most impressive piece of music needs a congenial interpretation in order to come to life and become a real “experience”. On March 26, 2015, this is exactly what happened: at the concert in the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz, which is now presented in a live recording on BR Klassik, not only were the four renowned soloists perfectly disposed. The BR-Chor once again demonstrated that “crystal-clear sound” and “tremendous plasticity” for which it is repeatedly praised in the highest terms. And the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, under the overall direction of Mariss Jansons, performed Dvořák’s moving music authentically and entirely in the composer’s spirit: sensitively felt and yet with all the resonant sonic splendor.

Antonín Dvořák
Stabat mater for soloists, choir and orchestra, op. 58

Erin Wall soprano
Mihoko Fujimura mezzo-soprano
Christian Elsner tenor
Liang Li bass

Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Mariss Jansons conductor

1 CD – Total time: 77:55
Booklet Deutsch / in English