McDowall's setting of the Stabat Mater has been described as 'an outstanding work of great solemnity and poignancy' (Tempo, 2013). The work comprises seven movements in a symmetrical structure-from the impassioned choral opening, through two intense yet diverse baritone solos and contemplative plainchant chorales, to the stately finale uniting all the voices. The optimistic central movement, in a major tonality, may be performed by children's choir or a semi-chorus of sopranos and altos from the main group. A plaintive meditation on the sorrows of the Virgin Mary as she stands by the Cross, McDowall's Stabat Mater is a sophisticated modern alternative to more well-known settings, ideal for performance at non-liturgical Lenten services.
The piano reduction in the score, which can be adapted for organ, may be used for concert performance if an orchestra is not available.