Thursday, May 24, 2012

Stabat Mater Karl Jenkins

Karl Jenkins has never disappointed me. This is an invigorating composition I have come across this morning. One of the best Stabat Maters I have come across. Probably the forerunner after Dvorak. Here is a review written by Moira after a concert in Johannesburg, South Africa: The Stabat Mater is a medieval poem about the suffering of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus during his trial and crucifixion. It focuses on motherly love, worship, suffering of good people and the triumph of hope over pain. Jenkins' version is a modern one, utilising the world concept, making much of the musical, literary and language traditions of the Holy Land or the Middle East. From the opening phrases, we are aware of subtle textures in the wind passages which open the work. There is a duduk, a traditional Armenian reed instrument as well as several Middle Eastern percussion instruments which also find place in the score. Jenkins makes use not only of the Latin in which the original poem is written, but also Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and English. The work progresses over twelve movements lasting more than an hour. At the end of the concert the audience rose to its feet in tribute to the music and musicians. South African audiences so often do this that it is almost meaningless on many occasions, however, tonight it was heartfelt by most of the audience. What happened in the City Hall was musical magic. The University of Johannesburg Arts Academy and all others connected with this event can be truly proud of what was accomplished.