Stabat Mater (Poulenc)

Stabat Mater, FP 148, is a musical setting of the Stabat Mater sequence composed by Francis Poulenc in 1950.

Stabat Mater
Choral music by Francis Poulenc
CatalogueFP 148
TextStabat Mater
Composed1950 (1950)
  • soprano solo
  • mixed choir
  • orchestra


Poulenc wrote the piece in response to the death of his friend, artist Christian Bérard; he considered writing a Requiem for Bérard, but, after returning to the shrine of the Black Virgin of Rocamadour, he selected the medieval Stabat Mater text.[1] Poulenc's setting, scored for soprano solo, mixed chorus, and orchestra, premiered on the 13th of June 1951 at the Strasbourg Festival.[2][3] It was well received throughout Europe and in the United States where it won the New York Critic's Circle Award for Best Choral Work of the year.[4]


The Stabat Mater is divided into twelve movements,[5] which vary dramatically in character from somber to light and frivolous, even on the most serious of texts. All the movements, though, are relatively brief; Robert Shaw's Telarc recording runs just under 30 minutes, with the longest movement taking just over four minutes.

  1. Stabat mater dolorosa (Très calme)
  2. Cujus animam gementem (Allegro molto—Très violent)
  3. O quam tristis (Très lent)
  4. Quae moerebat (Andantino)
  5. Quis est homo (Allegro molto—Prestissimo)
  6. Vidit suum (Andante)
  7. Eja mater (Allegro)
  8. Fac ut ardeat (Maestoso)
  9. Sancta mater (Moderato—Allegretto)
  10. Fac ut portem (To. de Sarabande)
  11. Inflammatus et accensus (Animé et très rythmé)
  12. Quando corpus (Très calme)

The soprano soloist appears in only three movements: Vidit suum, Fac ut portem, and Quando corpus. The chorus appears largely a cappella in two others, O quam tristis and Fac ut ardeat, although the orchestra is not fully silent in either.


Selected RecordingsEdit

Release Year Soloist Conductor Orchestra Label Catalog Number
1989 Kathleen Battle Seiji Ozawa Boston Symphony Orchestra Chandos 9341
1996 Danielle Borst Michel Piquemal Orchestre de la Cité Naxos 8553176
2002 Judith Howarth Christopher Robinson BBC Philharmonic Orchestra Opus Arte 817
2002 Christine Goerke Robert Shaw Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Telarc 80362
2006 Catherine Dubosc Richard Hickox City of London Sinfonia Erato 63294
2013 Marlis Petersen Stéphane Denève Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra Hänssler Classic 93297
2013 Patricia Petibon Paavo Järvi Paris Orchestra Deutsche Grammophon 001931002
2018 Kate Royal Yannick Nézet-Séguin London Philharmonic Orchestra Lpo 108
2019 Marian Tassou Hervé Niquet Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra Epr Classic EPRC 0032


  1. ^ Mellers.
  2. ^ Schmidt 1995, p. 409.
  3. ^ Francis Poulenc: A Bio-bibliography by George R. Keck, Greenwood Press, 1990
  4. ^ Hell.
  5. ^ Schmidt 1995.

Source textsEdit

  • Hell, Henri 1959, Francis Poulenc, London: John Calder
  • Ivry, Benjamin 1996, Francis Poulenc (20th-Century Composers series), Phaidon Press, ISBN 0-7148-3503-X.
  • Mellers, Wilfrid 1993, Francis Poulenc, New York: Oxford University Press
  • Schmidt, Carl B. (1995). The Music of Francis Poulenc (1899–1963): A Catalogue. Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 978-0-19-816336-7.

External linksEdit