The ‘Stabat Mater’ was one of those works which served to promote Haydn’s reputation in the rest of Europe, for a successful performance in Paris in April 1781 was followed by a lengthy and highly complimentary article in ‘Le Mercure de France’, publication of the full score in London (1783) and Paris (1785) and a number of further performances.
The work underwent considerable ‘revision’ by pupils and publishers alike (some only recently discarded editions contain entirely fictitious extra wind parts) and a fully authentic score has been produced only in recent years. Haydn’s ‘Stabat Mater’ has often invited comparison with the setting by Pergolesi (not surprisingly, perhaps, as Haydn himself knew the earlier work) and its dramatic power and eloquent mode of expression made this one of the most successful compositions of the earlier part of his career.
It remains a rarity, however and this despite the fact that it contains some of the composer’s most rich and deeply felt writing. This glowing Decca performance, featuring the wonderful voice of Arleen Auger, returns to the catalogue … and at bargain price!
FRANZ JOSEPH HAYDN
for soprano, contralto, tenor, bass, chorus & orchestra
Arleen Augér, soprano
Alfreda Hodgson, contralto
Anthony Rolfe Johnson, tenor
Gwynne Howell, bass
London Chamber Choir
Argo Chamber Orchestra
John Birch, continuo
Recording producer: Chris Hazell
Recording engineers: John Dunkerley, Martin Atkinson
Recording location: Church of St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London, February 1979