Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) lived a very short life, yet he left a very important mark on the history of music heritage. At the age of 25, being already a widely known composer, he caught tuberculosis. From Napoli he moved to Franciscan monastery located in a small place called Pozzuoli where he worked on Stabat Mater until his last day. There is a legend that the source for inspiration was Pergolesi’s personal drama: his beloved one went to a convent, as her notable parents did not give a permission for their marriage. She later died. While creating the music for Stabat Mater, composer was looking at the image of Madonna, who had an amazing resemblance with his sweetheart.

Being an innovative masterpiece, cantata was not acknowledged at the beginning. It is quite difficult for a contemporary listener to assess Pergolesi’s novation, who one of the first people decided to give such a delicate and sophisticated concert form to an ecclesiastical work. However, at the time Padre Martini reproached young composer that his play ‘contains too many passages that could be of a better use in some comic opera rather than in the song of grief’. It is true, concert component is strong in Pergolesi music and the question about combination of ‘clerical’ and ‘theatrical’ styles remains open until now. It is no wonder that such a bright and figurative world of cantata appeals to artistic directors.

Stabat Mater dolorosa — “the sorrowful mother stood” — one of the medieval sequences (a hymn spoken or sung before the Gospel).The author of Latin terza which narrates about suffers of Mother of God at the Foothill of Cross of Golgotha is considered to be written by Jacopone da Todi (born between 1228 and 1236, died around 1306). From XV up until XX text Stabat Mater appealed to the greatest composers: G. Palestrina, J. Haydn, F. Schubert, G. Rossini, F. Liszt, G. Verdi, A. Dvorjak, F. Poulenc, K. Penderecki, A. Pärt and many others.

Cantata written by Pergolesi still remains one of the best interpretations of this text. Originally, it was meant for two soloists, string and organ. However, later it became a tradition that some numbers are performed by female and children’s chorus.