Saturday, 21 February 2009

Stabat mater dolorosa

As I struggled to write my recent piece for The View From Here (Searching for the Story), I got to thinking about some of the timeless themes surrounding women, mothers, motherhood and grief. It led me to remembering a performance I saw years and years ago at The Contemporary London Dance Theatre in Angel Islington called Stabat Mater Dolorosa.

While I travelled across London as often as I could afford back then in order to catch a performance by this stunning modern ballet group, this was one piece that stood out. Months later, I remember trying to get hold of a copy of the choral piece that the choreographer had drawn on, but ran into the problem of discovering that almost every composer worth their salt had used the Stabat Mater poem as the basis for their own composition: Scarlatti, Palestrina, Pergolesi, Verdi, Boccherini, Dvorak, Symanowski, Rossini...

Perhaps that served as an indication of the power of this image - of the mother standing full of grief - and of its abiding, universal quality. However, YouTube didn't exist back then, but does now! While I couldn't find a video of The London Contemporary Dance Theatre performing Stabat Mater, the Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre obliged. Vivaldi takes the credit for the music, I think.

1 comment:

Swubird said...


Outstanding. I would love to see that performance in person. Absolutely beautiful.

Happy trails.