Through my Ultimate Stabat Mater Website I frequently receive messages from music lovers, musicians or composers about performances, recordings and compositions of the Stabat Mater. It always make me happy but I was extra surprised when Mr. Richard Blackford from England contacted me. He informed me he had been commissioned by the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Orchestra to compose a Stabat Mater and it was only when he came across four poems by Anna Akhmatova that a completely different approach occurred to him. So he had not just used the Latin text but combined it with some poems of Anna Akhmatova from her cycle Requiem, written in 1938, the Stalin-period, when her son Lev had been arrested and in prison for a long time. Indeed, I was surprised because, years ago, I got a Stabat Mater by Georgi Dmitriev (from Russia) in my collection and he too did use the Requiem poems by Akhmatova in his Stabat Mater. I told Richard about Dmitriev’s composition. We came in contact and I decided to attend the London premiere of his Stabat Mater on October 19th in the Cadogan Hall where I had the opportunity to meet Richard in person.
I had an exciting, wonderful evening! I was deeply impressed by Blackfords Pietà. He chose this title after revisiting Michelangelo’s statue in St. Peter’s in Rome. In the program book Richard says: I had seen it many times when I had lived in Rome, it was the luminescent beauty of the marble that struck me this time. How could something so sad , so poignant in its expression of a mothers grief for her son, be at the same time so beautiful, so inspiring of hope?
Please listen to Richard Blackford discussing his Pietà.
Finally, I have to confess something. When I was back home again I was looking for my Dmitriev CD and I found out that Dmitriev did not use a single word of the Stabat Mater text except the title of his composition: Stabat Mater Dolorosa!