Debut in Peralada

29 March 2024/ Spain / Peralada


Pergolesi composed his celebrated Stabat Mater in 1736, during the final weeks of his life at the monastery in Pozzuoli. Written for soprano and alto soloists accompanied by a string ensemble, it is characterised by its unique expressivity, primarily achieved through the Italian composer’s masterful use of dissonances.

This piece was an immediate success and went on to become the 18th century’s most widely published and printed composition. Indeed, the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau praised the first movement of the Stabat Mater as “the most perfect and touching duet to come from the pen of any composer”.

This work seduced a number of musicians of the times, who made adaptations of it. It also fascinated Johann Sebastian Bach, who wrote a version of the Stabat Mater between 1744 and 1746 – the earliest interpretation of this music of Pergolesi in Germany.
Bach changed the text, paraphrasing Psalm 51 to adapt the music to the Leipzig liturgy and, with his always favoured polyphonic style, he enriched the work’s composition, adding a completely new part for viola.

Bach’s adaptation is included in his catalogue as Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden BWV 1083 (‘Cancel, Highest, my sins’) and it forms a wonderful example of Baroque musical parody.

The concert programme is supplemented by a selection of the cantatas BWV 4 Christ lag in Todes Banden and BWV 31 Der Himmel lacht! Die Erde jubilieret, which are precisely the pieces composed by Bach to celebrate the Easter liturgy.
Debut in Peralada

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