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Dvo?ák Stabat Mater - Philadelphia PA

Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Choir type: Community Choirs
Voicing: Mixed
The Choristers will present Antonín Dvo?ák’s Stabat Mater on April 16, 2011, in a performance featuring soloists Maureen Francis, soprano; Suzanne DuPlantis, alto; Richard Slade, tenor; and John Miles, bass.  The choir will be accompanied by a 41 piece orchestra.
 
The Stabat Mater is a monumental work setting to music a 13th century poem which meditates on the suffering of Mary during Jesus' crucifixion and ends with the promise of life everlasting.  With the performance scheduled for Passion Sunday Eve, it will be a profound beginning to Holy Week for Christians who attend.
 
But when one considers the other works programmed, it is clear that this concert is more than a reflection on Mary’s pain and the crucifixion.  Vaughan Williams’ Toward the Unknown Region sets to music a poem from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass: Book XXX -- Whispers of Heavenly Death imagining the path taken by the 618,000 who died in the civil war.  Eric Whitacre’s Sleep is a screamingly beautiful and lush work envisioning the approach to sleep from which one does not wake.  Composer-in-Residence David Hobbs penned an orchestral work based on Psalm 22 which presents the suffering of the speaker but ends in praise.
 
Viewed as a whole, this concert is about paths of discernment and the final journey we will all experience.  The message of the concert is not sadness or hopelessness.  Choosing the message of life over death, all of these works offer either a comforting or triumphant ending. 
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