classical music, opera, theatre

Les deux Stabats

one interval
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall

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Giovanni Battista Pergolesi completed his Stabat Mater, one of the most important works of church music of the 18th century, in 1736, just a few weeks before his untimely death at the age of 26. An indication of its popularity lies in the countless revisions made of the composition by a number of other composers (including one by Bach dating from around 1745). In 1790s Vienna, Mozart's former student Joseph von Eybler rewrote the score, which was originally written only for soprano and alto soloists and strings, into one for four parts - meaning for four vocal soloists and a four-part choir - and at the same time significantly increased the size of the orchestra. Further changes to the arrangement were made by Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried and, a few decades later, by Otto Nicolai. Thus was born this extraordinary version, which will receive its second-ever Hungarian airing at our performance tonight.

It was sometime in the 1750s, presumably in Vienna, that Joseph Haydn first encountered Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, an experience whose great impact remained with him his entire life: inspiration from the score can be detected in almost every passage - not only vocal ones, but in his symphonic oeuvre as well - that Haydn wrote in the key of F minor. When he wrote his own Stabat Mater in 1767, it was primarily Pergolesi's work that served as his model. Haydn's opus even elicited a letter of praise from Johann Adolph Hasse, a source of pride for Haydn for the rest of his life. At the same time, the Stabat Mater was one of the compositions of Haydn's that established their composer's reputation across Europe, primarily after being performed in Paris.

Our programme is entitled ‘Les deux Stabats': this was how the Parisian church concerts where Pergolesi's and Haydn's Stabat Maters were performed on successive evenings were advertised in the 1780s. The popularity of these concerts at the time was quite extraordinary, and although the presenters did their best to find more ‘contemporary' Stabat Maters that could be included in this programme, only Haydn's work has proved able to maintain its popularity for such a long time, alongside the brilliant Pergolesi, born 41 years before it. Our objective for this programme is to evoke in the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall the memory and atmosphere of these Parisian concerts of the last decade before the French Revolution.

Presented by: Hungarian National Philharmonic


  • György Vashegyi
  • soprano
    Emőke Baráth
  • alto
    Bernadett Nagy
  • tenor
    Márton Komáromi
  • baritone
    Nikolay Borchev
  • Hungarian National Choir (choirmaster: Csaba Somos)
  • Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra

Parking information

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Refreshments – Without the Queue

Thanks to our new catering service at the Átrium Snack Bar, you can forget about waiting in line during intermissions for some refreshments and get your order prepped especially for you by the time the intermission actually starts. Find out more about pre-ordering here.

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