Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805)
Stabat Mater for Soprano, Strings and Cello G.532; first version, 1781
Boccherini has always been seen as a composer primarily dedicated to instrumental music, but alternating with the mitteleuropean instrumental style, aware of the cultural ambient of the time period but more engaged in an activity taken in a neighboring court (Spanish court). Immersed in the opera culture as all Italian musicians of his time, Boccherini was but completely outside of that privileged Germanic world which had the monopoly of the development of the instrumental music between the 1700’s and 1800’s. A personality poles apart from that of the archetype composer from the Germanic area who lives and works autonomously in Vienna between two centuries and who corresponds to the model of the pre-romantic musician celebrated in all music history books. Yet it is perplexing how a composer who worked in the late 1700’s still remains in obscurity and for whom very important musical productions must still be identified and validated. Also due to this misunderstanding, certain pieces of the “lucchese” musician cannot easily be placed within the widespread rediscovery of old music which is now fashionable. Such is the case of this Stabat for soprano and strings, number 532 of the Catalogue Gerard, perhaps Boccherini’s most important vocal opera. The musician composes it in Arenas in 1781 on a text attributed to Jacopone da Todi to personally contribute to the customs strongly deep-rooted even in Spain, for its performance during the Holy Week. From a structural point of view, the Stabat could be classified according to the Neapolitan tradition of Scarlatti and Pergolesi even though in respect to the compositions of the 2 musicians, there is only the Soprano present.