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Pergolesi's Stabat Mater with soprano and countertenor duo

Friday March 30, 2018 at 14:00
St Mary Magdalene Church, Woodstock
Free admission – no ticket required

  1. Stabat Mater - Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

Come along and experience this unusual opportunity to hear a duet performance of Pergolesi's celebrated Passiontide Cantata Stabat mater in the famous and historic setting of St Mary Magdalene Church, Woodstock. The church provides a fitting backdrop for this famous composition of the 26year old master of the Italian Baroque and the most frequently reprinted work of the 18th century.

Set in the heart of the Oxfordshire market town of Woodstock, just a stone’s throw from the world heritage site Blenheim Palace, St Mary Magdalene Church was built during the reign of Henry I for the convenience of the court during royal visits to the royal hunting lodge of Woodstock Manor, for which it was a chapel at ease. Alteration and restoration over the centuries have culminated in the recent completion of a major Reordering and Refurbishment Project. The church’s many noteworthy features include a fine Norman doorway on the south side, two 13th century windows and an extraordinary 1792 musical turret clock, or carillon, chiming four times a day with a different tune for each day of the week!

With its 13th century text, a strongly emotional retelling of the Passion story from the viewpoint of the grieving mother, the Virgin Mary, and extraordinary harmonic language it is little wonder that the popularity of the Stabat mater has endured to this day. The work's feeling of restrained 'sacred opera' is retained this afternoon, presented in the context of a short act of worship, attempting to recreate what the composer may have originally intended and featuring the etherial combination of solo soprano and countertenor voices singing in the same octave.

This is a very special event and one not to be missed, irrespective of your religious conviction, featuring Oxford based soloists, soprano Megan Daffern and countertenor Adrian Boorman, accompanied on the organ by St Mary's Rector, The Reverend Canon Adrian Daffern.

A retiring collection will be taken in aid of Church funds.

"The opening movement of Pergolesi's Stabat mater is the most perfect and touching duet to come from the pen of any composer" Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)

St Mary Magdalene Church
Park Street
OX20 1SJ
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