Stabat Mater (L) with additional text by the composer (E)
Choral level of difficulty: Level 4 (5 greatest)
This work is related to the 7th movement (Jesus and his Mother) of MacMillan’s St John Passion. He lifts the choral parts out of their original orchestral context to make a starkly moving unaccompanied lament. The piece is structured so that the altos and tenors have interlocking, rhythmically interesting lines whilst the sopranos and basses have longer lines which envelop these swirling motifs. It is not easy, but the challenge is infinitely worthwhile for a disciplined and able choir. One of the challenges for the basses at one point is attempting to produce overtones in the harmonic series from a long pedal point. The final phrase ‘your sacred head is wounded’ quotes the first phrase of Bach’s Passion chorale.
Repertoire note by Paul Spicer