A Mother to Her Dead Child
Duration: 12:00  |  1995
Solo mezzo-soprano movement from Stabat Mater
English Text: Edith Sitwell “A Mother to Her Dead Child”
Manuscript – Please contact composer directly

Version for voice and orchestra

Version for voice and piano

A Mother to her Dead Child – fifth interpolation: Stabat Mater by Ramona Luengen
Ramona Luengen’s remarkable expanded treatment of the 13th century Latin poem Stabat Mater may well be the largest extant of the countless musical settings of these verses, It requires nearly 80 minutes to perform. Luengen has used the original Latin poem as a kind of matrix or source from whose grieving, ritualist continuity sprout forth several analogous poems. The Stabat Mater itself grieves with Mary, the Holy Mother, as she stands at the foot of the cross on which Jesus, her crucified son, is dying. The German, French, Russian and English poems which Luengen has chosen to place among the Latin sections of the Stabat Mater all enlarge on some aspect of the original. Luengen’s first interpolation is a ‘Pieta’ by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke. Her second — ‘La Tunique’ — is a meditation by the French Canadian poet Rina Lasnier on the tunic that the Roman soldiers stripped from Jesus’ body before they nailed him to the cross. Luengen’s third interpolation is a cluster of three poems by the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, each expressing a mother’s grief at the loss of a son or a wife’s at the loss of a husband. The fourth is a ‘Litany to the Queen of Peace’ by the German poet Gertrud von Le fort. Luengen’s fifth and final interpolation — the excerpt recorded here — is the only one in English: Edith Sitwell’s long poem A Mother to her Dead Child. Luengen has set Sitwell’s verse as a kind of Stabat Mater within a Stabat Mater, and she makes it the emotional crux of her work. In its direct and poignant expressionism her setting for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, as recorded here, argues eloquently for a recording of the complete work, which created an enormous stir at its premiere in 1996 by Judith Forst, the Elektra Women’s Choir and the CBC Vancouver Orchestra under Mario Bernardi. The work was proclaimed ‘Choral Event of the Year’ by the Association of Canadian Choral Conductors.

Cinq Chansons
Duration: 8:30  |  1984
Five songs for soprano and piano

1. Demain, dès l’aube: Victor Hugo

2. Le Vin des amants: Charles Baudelaire

3. Simple désir de femme: Simone Routier

4. Paris at Night: Jacques Prévert

5. Air Vif: Paul Éluard