Stabat Mater - Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)


Haydn’s Stabat Mater was written in 1767, six years after Haydn  entered the service of the Esterhazy family. It  therefore pre-dates most of his mass settings and all his oratorios

The Stabat Mater is taken from an anonymous poem of the thirteenth century and, in keeping with the solemn nature of the text, half of its fourteen movements are in minor keys and the majority are in slow tempos. In this it is a forerunner of the "Seven Last Words," another depiction of Christ on the Cross.

·         1.Stabat mater

·         2.O quam tristis

·         3.Quis est homo

·         4.Quis non posset

·         5.Pro peccatis

·         6.Vidit suum

·         7.Eia mater

·         8.Sancta mater

·         9.Fac me vere tecum

·         10.Virgo virginum

·         11.Flammis orci

·         12.Fac me cruce custodiri

·         13.Quando corpus morietur

·         14.Paradisi gloria/Amen


“Libera Me”, a 15th movement, thought to have been written between 1782 and 1790, was discovered in the 1960’s – it is only occasionally included in performance.

The work properly belongs to Haydn's "Sturm und Drang" (literally "storm and stress") style, along with some of the great middle-period symphonies and his more dramatic settings of the mass.
Historians have not discovered the occasion for which Haydn wrote this lengthy setting of the famous poem depicting the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross. It was later dedicated to the Electress of Saxony, Maria Antonio Walpurgis, widow of Friedrich August II and herself a composer.