Karl Jenkins, Liverpool Philharmonic Chorus And Orchestra - Stabat Mater

Published Sunday 6th April 2008
Karl Jenkins, Liverpool Philharmonic Chorus And Orchestra - Stabat Mater
Karl Jenkins, Liverpool Philharmonic Chorus And Orchestra - Stabat Mater

STYLE: Choral
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
LABEL: EMI Classics

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Stabat Mater is a 13th century poem meditating on the suffering of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she stands at the foot of the cross. In this version Welsh composer Karl Jenkins has added six texts to the original cycle: a choral arrangement of "Ave Verum"; "And The Mother Did Weep" which is this single phrase sung in English, Hebrew, Latin, Aramaic (the language Jesus and Mary spoke) and Greek; "Lament" by Carol Barratt; "Incantation" which is a semi-improvisation sung partly in Arabic; and two settings of ancient texts revised into the rhyme pattern of the Latin Stabat Mater and sung in both English and Aramaic. These are "Are You Lost Out In The Darkness?" from the Epic Of Gilgamesh, and "Now My Life Is Only Weeping" by the Persian mystic poet Jalal al-Din Rumi. This eclectic approach reminds us of John Tavener and makes for a thought-provoking listen. The music of Karl Jenkins needs no introduction as he is one of our most popular contemporary composers. Critical critics will sniff and accuse him of being too obvious but those of us who prefer a good tune will relish this release. Some of the choral music has echoes of Taizé in being instantly memorable, the mezzo soprano Jurgita Adamonyte is excellent and the ethnic vocals by Belinda Sykes are appropriately atmospheric. The Stabat Mater has been set to music by composers as illustrious as Pergolesi, Haydn and Verdi. It takes a brave man to follow in these footsteps. It takes a brilliant man to succeed. Karl Jenkins has succeeded.

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