• Tim Braithwaite

Richard Wagner’s Description of his Musical Choices in his Edition of Palestrina’s ‘Stabat Mater’

‘I offer you namely my arrangement of the famous Stabat mater by Palestrina, in the original manuscript of which there were no expression marks. These I have tried to replace to the best of my knowledge in the old way which we know used to arouse such an emotional effect during Holy Week at Rome when this wonderful piece was performed, but which as a consequence of an ever increasing decline in the tradition have today disappeared from the singers’ arsenal.’ ‘Ich offriere Ihnen nämlich meine Bearbeitung des berühmten Stabat mater von Palestrina, in welcher ich, da das Original gänzlich ohne alle Bezeichnung des Vortrags ist, mich bemüht habe, die alte Vortragsweise, durch welche bekanntlich auch dies wundervolle Werk in der Karwoche zu Rom dereinst so wunderbar ergreifende Wirkung hervorgebracht haven soll, die nun aber mit der verloschenen Tradition unter der Sängern gänzlich verschwunden ist, nach meinem besten Ermessen nachzuholen.’ ————————————— ————————————————————————— *Notes*

Otto von Hase, Breitkopf & Härtel. Gedenkschrift und Arbeitsbericht, Band 2: 1828 bis 1918, Teil 1, (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel 1968). p.269. Translation from Zsuzsanna Domokos, “Wagner’s Edition of Palestrina’s Stabat Mater,” Studia Musicologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 47, no. 2 (June 1, 2006): 221–32. Below is a particularly dramatic moment from Richard Wagner’s edition of Palestrina’s Stabat Mater. The edition was prepared for a performance in 1848 in Dresden and published in 1878.


I don’t know of any recordings of this edition which do justice to Wagner’s wonderfully dramatic realisation of the piece (if anyone can think of any, then please let me know!)


The entire edition can be found on IMSLP here:

https://imslp.org/wiki/Stabat_Mater_(Palestrina%2C_Giovanni_Pierluigi_da)


https://www.facebook.com/groups/433341233928374/permalink/921959721733187/



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