Stabat Paisiello Pergolesi | Index



About the composer

Giovanni Paisiello was born in 1740 in Roccaforzata (Taranto), Italy. He studied in Naples and was a pupil of Francesco Durante. He stayed for some eight years in St.Petersburg, as Maestro di Cappella to Catherine II. Apart from a period in Paris, he then stayed the rest of his life in Naples, where he died in 1816. He composed some 100 opera’s, some of which became very popular, like La Serva Padrona (Pergolesi preceded him with this subject), Il Barbiere di Seviglia (later also by Rossini) and Nina. But he also composed piano concertos, chamber music and sacred works.

About the Stabat Mater

Date: 1810
Performers: Soprano’s, Alto, Tenor, Bass and Orchestra
Length: 38.50 minutes
Particulars: The Stabat Mater is in fact the Pergolesi Stabat Mater, but with an extension of the accompaniment. Instead of Pergolesi’s two violins Paisiello used a complete orchestra, with strings and woodwinds. The work is divided into 12 parts, but the final “Amen” is treated as a separate, 13th part. In this record the singing is done by four soloists, which I thought to be an interpretation of the conductor. When I asked Mr.Camerlingo about it, he gave the following interesting comment (somewhat abridged and adapted by me):
Paisiello wanted to respect very much the original version of Pergolesi (senza discostarsi dall’originale).
Pergolesi was already mythical, his music was so popular, especially the Stabat Mater. It was performed in many versions and arrangements, everywhere, in the churches, in the private houses and so on. With or without choir, with or without winds, depending on the various conditions. I suppose that Paisiello too performed several times this music in different arrangements. So when he was about 70 years old he wanted to fix on the paper one of the possible versions for performance, but he didn’t really change the fundamental structure of the music (You know that other composers did change the structure of Pergolesi’s Stabat – even Bach). This is why the Paisiello’s version is still “a due voci”. When the tenor and bass sing, they simply sing the part of the soprano and contralto one octave lower. So it was not my decision to add the tenor and bass. I simply performed the music as I found on the Paisiello’s score in the Naples Conservatory Library and I made a modern editorial revision, which is printed by “L’oca del Cairo” <>
I think that Paisiello only wanted to add colours with wind instruments and with male voices in some of the numbers. I don’t think this version is better than the original. I only wanted to let the public know it and of course I like the delicate touch of Paisiello, very fine in using the winds. I was also very interested in showing how this text was in fact not static. It is important to know that music has always been in movement and has been adapted to the taste of the times. The musicians that today try to play the music as it has been performed for the first time, are aware that in fact we can only imagine, but never be sure how the music of the past could sound.
But imagination is the most important thing. So I tried to imagine how Paisiello could enjoy Pergolesi after 75 years. A double (triple) historical perspective. We and Pergolesi (2000-1735), we and Paisiello (2000-1810), Paisiello and Pergolesi (1810-1735).</>
Textual variations: The text is the same as Pergolesi’s: the “Analecta”-version of the text is used, with one change:
– Stanza 16, line 2: not “Passionis eius sortem” but “Passionis fac consortem”

CD information

CD : Agorá Musíca AG 251: Giovanni Paisiello, Stabat Mater del Pergolese
About this CD: Recorded in February 2000 at the Palazzo Cattaneo in Cremona. I bought this CD on the Internet,, 2001. Use the link at the bottom of the page to listen to a performance with conductor Mr. Camerlingo.
Orchestra: Cosarara
Conductor: Giuseppe Camerlingo
Soloists: Ermonela Jaho, soprano
Sonia Prina, mezzo-soprano
Alessandro Codeluppi, tenor
Nikola Mijailovic, bass
Other works: Sequenza “Alleluja in Aeternum”
Tantum ergo (three versions)
Code: 2001 PAI-01

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