When Hans was still alive, we sometimes discussed the possibility of going to Sardinia or Sicily in the Holy Week, watching processions and listening to Stabat Maters sung by the villagers. It never happened. Hans’ collection included CD’s with traditionally sung Stabat Maters. Sometimes they are very bare like the ones from Sardinia, sometimes more civilised like the ones from Ceriana (North Italy). But now I do not have to go to Italy anymore for this experience. To my big surprise last Saturday traditional singers from Sardinia performed in Muziekgebouw aan het IJ in Amsterdam. I discovered it by chance, just in time and I was there. Theme of the evening: Stabat Mater. The ensemble Cuncordu de Orosei consists of four men from Sardinia and they sang, among other things, Stabat Mater. Just like the Gregorian tradition one single singer begins and the other men join later. The four men were very close to each other in a small circle. Their singing has almost a hypnotic effect. Maybe this is the Stabat Mater in its most pure and original form, lamenting and sincere.
Not only the singers from Sardinia were a surprise. So did the ensemble Il Suonar Parlante conducted by Vittorio Ghielmi. This group, four men too, consists of three violas da gamba players and a Lute player.
The programme included the Stabat Mater by Josquin Despresz and the Stabat Mater by Arvo Pärt. Despresz’s Stabat, originally composed for five voices, was sung by a soprano and a tenor and companied by the violas da gamba and the Lute player. The Stabat Mater by Pärt, for me the highlight of the evening, was sung by three solists, soprano, countertenor and tenor and only companied by the three violas da gamba. A great evening. I am sure Hans would have loved every minute!