Stabat Mater
arrangement of Pergolesi: for soprano, alto, harp, flute and viola (2016)
by Ron Hannah


Duration: about 38 minutes

     Since coming to Austria I have met many musicians, prominent among whom are the arTrium trio, consisting of Harp, Flute and Viola. Before I arrived I had already written my Introduction and Dance of Qualified Joy" for them, and later I added "Suite of Antique Dances" and "Three Inevitable Songs". The last work was created also for my wife, Andrea Mellis to sing, which she did at my 70th birthday concert in Vienna last year. These are all wonderful musicians and it is a pleasure to compose for them!

     I should be used to it by now, but Andrea surprises me sometimes with her suggestions for things I might write or arrange (folksongs for the children at an Armenian music school, for instance), but I was caught off-guard when she asked for an arrangement of Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" for the trio above. I have loved this work for many years, believing it to be one of the finest pieces of music ever written (and by a composer who died at the age of 26!). Really? Arrange such a masterpiece? How could I do anything but diminish this perfect score? And yet, I set about doing it, and it was performed indeed at the Maria Lourdes Church in Vienna by Andrea and the trio, with Annette Fischer singing the soprano line... and it was gorgeous... and resonant... and inspiring! You can hear a portion of it, as well as some other vocal works of mine, at this link.

     I attribute its success more to Pergolesi than to myself, and to the wonderful acoustics (maybe a little too resonant, actually) inside that church with its modern stained glass walls and windows, though I shouldn't be too modest I suppose - I do write well for those voices and instruments.

     The score and parts may be obtains from the Canadian Music Centre, or directly from me by clicking below and sending me an email. I ask one thing of performers however: If you do perform this piece, please send me details so I can keep the Performances page up-to-date - never mind that no one ever does :(