For Mezzo-Soprano Solo, Women’s Choir, Orchestra
Duration: 80:00  |  1995

2 Flutes [Flute I doubling Piccolo | Flute II doubling Alto Flute]
2 Oboes [Oboe II doubling English Horn]; 2 Clarinets in Bb
2 Bassoon [Bassoon II doubling Contrabassoon]; 2 Horns in F
2 Percussion [Timpani, 3 Tom-toms, Bass Drum, Crotales, Glass Wind Chimes, Suspended Cymbal; Tubular Bells, Vibraphone, Marimba]

November 17, 1995
Judith Forst, mezzo-soprano; Elektra Women’s Choir;
CBC Vancouver Orchestra; Mario Bernardi, Conductor
St. John’s Shaughnessy Church, Vancouver

Listen to the complete première performance on YouTube:

Stabat Mater: choir | orchestra

Stabat Mater dolorosajuxta crucem lacrimosadum pendebat Filius.

Cuus animam gementemcontristatam et dolentempertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflictafuit illa benedictaMater Unigeniti;

Quae moerebat et dolebatpia Mater dum videbatnati poenas inclyti.

There stood the Mother grievingweeping beside the crosson which hung her son.

Whose saddened soul,anguished and lamenting,a sword had pierced.

Oh, how sad and afflictedwas that blessed Motherof an only Son!

How she mourned and grieved,the loving Mother, as she beheldthe suffering of her glorious Son.

Pièta: Rainer Maria Rilke [1875–1926] — mezzo-soprano | orchestra

Jetzt wird mein Elend voll, und namenloserfüllt es mich. Ich starre, wie des SteinsInneres starrt.Hart wie ich bin, weiss ich nur Eins: 
Du wurdest gross –…und wurdest gross,um also zu grosser Schmerzganz über meines Herzens Fassunghinauszustehn.Jetzt liegst du quer durch meinen Schoss,Jetzt kann ich dich nicht mehr gebären.
Now is my misery full, and namelesslyit fills me. I am stark, as the stone’sinside is stark.Hard as I am, I know but one thing:
 You grew –…and grewin order to stand forthas too great a painbeyond my heart’s grasping.Now you lie across my lap,now I can no longer give you birth.

Quis est homo: choir | orchestra

Quis est homo, qui non fleretMatrem Christi si videretin tanto supplicio?

Quis non posset contristariChristi Matrem contemplaridolentem cum Filio?

Who is the man who would not weepseeing the mother of Christin such torment?

Who would not feel compassion,watching the loving mothersuffer with her Son?

La Tunique: Rina Lasnier [b. 1915] — mezzo-soprano | orchestra

La tunique sans couturede l’amour sans rupture,

la tunique de lumièrecomme un champ de neige,Marie, on vient de la dérober.

Tous ce fils croisés, entrecroisésoù s’emmêlait ta silencieuse tendresse,sont profanés d’un seul geste,

c’était tout ce qui restait de Nazareth!Marie, baissez les yeux,Toutes ses plaies sont nues,

tous nos crimes brusquement dévoilés,chacun à sa place sur ce corps immolévous feraient mourir de détresse…

Deux soldats se disputentla tunique sans couturede votre amour sans rupture,ô Marie!

Seamless tunicof continuous love,

The tunic of lightlike a field of snow…Mary – it has just been removed.

All these stitches and cross-stitches,intertwined with your silent tenderness,are desecrated with one single deed,

This is all that remains of Nazareth!Mary, lower your eyesAll his wounds lay bare,

All our offences are abruptly unveiled –each one, exposed on this slain body,slays you with anguish…

Two soldiers quarrelover the seamless tunicof your continuous love,O Mary!

Pro peccatis: choir | orchestra

Pro peccatis suae gentisvidit Jesum in tormentiset flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem natummoriendo desolatumdum emisit spiritum.

For the sins of his peopleshe saw Jesus in tormentsand subjected to scourging.

She saw her own dear Sondying forsaken,as he yielded up his spirit.

Tikho l’etsia, tikhii Don: Anna Akmatova [1889–1966] — choir | orchestra

Tikho l’etsia tikhii Don,zheltyi mesiats vkhodit v dom.

Vkhodit v shapke nabekren’,vidit zheltyi mesiats ten’.

Eta zhenshchina bolna,Eta zhenshchina odna,

Muzh v mogile, syn v tiur’ me,Pomolites’ obomne.

Gently flows the gentle Don,yellow moon slips into a home.

He slips in with cap askew,he sees a shadow, yellow moon,

Of a woman lying ill,of a woman stretched out, alone.

Husband in grave, son in prison.Pray for me. O pray for me.

Crucifixion I: Anna Akmatova [1889–1966] — mezzo-soprano | choir | orchestra

Khor angelov velikii chas vosslavili nebesa rasplavilis’ vogne.
Ottsu skazal: “Pochto menia ostavil!”A materi: “O, ne rydai mene.”
Angelic choirs the unequalled hour exalted,and heaven disintegrated into flame. 
Unto the Father: “Why has Thou forsaken me!”But to the Mother: “Oh, do not weep for me.”

Interlude: orchestra

Crucifixion II: Anna Akmatova [1889–1966] — mezzo-soprano | choir | orchestra

Magdalina bilas’ I rydala,Uchenik liubimyi kamenel,A tuda, gde molcha mat’ stoiala,Tak nikto vzglianut i ne posmel.
Magdalina beat her breast and wept, whilethe loved disciple seemed hammered out of stone.But, for the Mother, where she stood in silence,no one as much as dared to look that way.

Eja Mater: choir | orchestra

Eja Mater, fons amoris,me sentire vim dolorisfac, ut tecum lugeam.

Fac ut ardeat cor meumin amando Christum Deum,ut sibi complaceam.

Eja Mater, fons amoris,me sentire vim doloirsfac, ut tecum lugeam.

O Mother, fount of love,make me feel the force of thy griefso that I may mourn with thee.

Grant that my heart may burnwith love for Christ, my God,so that I may please him.

O Mother, fount of love,make me feel the force of thy griefso that I may mourn with thee.

Sancta Maria: choir | orchestra

Sancta Mater, istud agas,crucifixi fige plagascordi meo valide.

Tui nati vulnerati,tam dignati pro me pati,poenas mecum divide.

Holy mother, do this for me:Fix the wounds of thy crucified Sondeeply in my heart.

Share with me the painsof thy wounded Son,who deigned to suffer for me.

Litanei: Gertrud von le Fort [1876–1971] — choir | orchestra

Lasset uns beten für den Frieden unsrer Erde,denn der Friede der Erde ist todkrank.Hilf ihm, süsse Jungfrau Maria, hilf uns sprechen: 
Friede sei dem Frieden unsrer armen Welt.

Die du vom Geist des Friedens gegrüsst wurdest,Erbitte uns den Frieden –Die du das Wort des Friedens in dich aufnahmst,Erbitte uns den Frieden –Die du das heil’ge Kind des Friedens zur Welt geboren hast,Erbitte uns den Frieden –Du Helferin des Allversöhners,Du Willige des Allverzeihers,Du Hingegebne an sein ewiges Erbarmen,Erbitte uns den Frieden.

Du milder Mond in den wilden Nächten der Völker,Wir begehren den Frieden –Du sanfte Taube unter den Geiern der Völker,Wir ersehnen den Frieden –Du spriessender Ölzweig in den dürren Wäldern ihrer Herzen,Wir verzehren uns nach Frieden –Dass die Gefangenen endlich erlöst werden,Dass die Vertriebenen endlich ihre Heimat finden,Dass sich alle Wunden endlich, endlich wieder schliessen:Erbitte uns den Frieden.

Um der Angst der Kreaturen willen,Wir bitten dich um den Frieden –Um der kleinen Kinder willen, die in ihren Wiegen schlafen,Wir bitten dich um den Frieden –Um der Greise willen, die so gern in ihren Betten stürben,Wir bitten dich um den Frieden –Du Mutter der Schutzlosen,Du Feindin der Herzlosen,Du klarer Stern in allen Wolken der Verwirrung,Wir bitten dich um den Frieden.

Die du bei den Sterbenden warst,als ihr Blut das Schlachtfeld tränkte,Erbarme dich des Friedens –Die du zu uns in die Keller stiegest,als die grausen Bomben fielen,Erbarme dich des Friedens –Die du dich der armen Frauen annahmst,die geschändet wurden,Erbarme, o erbarme dich des Friedens –Du Mutter, die mit uns geweint hat,Du Mutter, die mit uns gebebt hat,Du Mutter, die mit ihren Kindern trostlos war,Erbarme dich des Friedens.

Die du bei uns bleibst, auch wenn sie dich verstossen,Die du liebreich bleibst, auch wenn sich dich verachten,Die du mächtig bleibst,auch wenn dein zarter Thron auf Erden bricht:Nimm in deine Arme die verlorne Welt!

Let us pray for the peace of our earth,for the peace of the world is deathly ill.Help it, sweet Virgin Mary, and help us speak: 
Let peace come upon our destitute earth.

You who were greeted by the spirit of peace,Humbly ask for peace, on our behalf –You who accepted the word of peace,Humbly ask for peace, on our behalf –You who bore the world the holy child of peace,Humbly ask for peace, on our behalf –You helper of the Reconciler,You exponent of the All-Forgiving,You who surrendered to his eternal compassion,Humbly ask for peace, on our behalf.

You placid moon in the turbulent nights of humanity,We yearn for peace –You gentle dove amidst the vultures of humanity,We long for peace –You sprouting olive branch among the barren forests of their hearts,We hunger for peace –So that prisoners will finally be freed,So that the banished will finally find their homeland,So that all wounds will finally, finally heal:Humbly ask for peace, on our behalf.

For the fear of all creatures,We pray to you for peace –For the small children, sleeping in their cradles.We pray to you for peace –For the aged, who would so like to die in their sleep,We pray to you for peace –O Mother of the unprotected,You enemy of the heartless,You bright star amidst the clouds of confusion,We pray to you for peace.

You who were with the dyingas their blood drenched the battlefield,Mercifully grant us peace –You who climbed down to us in the shelters,as the horrific bombs fell,Mercifully grant us peace –You who took in your arms the suffering womenwho were shamed,Mercifully, o mercifully grant us peace –O Mother who wept with us,O Mother who trembled with us,O Mother who shared the hopelessness of her children,Mercifully grant us peace.

You who stays with us, even when cast out,You who remains kind, even when disdained,You who remains mighty,even when your gentle throne on earth shatters:Take into your arms the despairing world!

A Mother to Her Dead Child: Edith Sitwell [1887-1964] — mezzo-soprano | orchestra
The winter, the animal sleep of the earth, is over,
And in the warmth of the affirming sun
All beings, beasts, men, planets, waters, move
Freed from the imprisoning frost, acclaim their love
That is the light of the sun.

So the first spring began
Within the heart before the Fall of Man.

The earth puts forth its sprays, the heart its warmth,
And your hands push back the dark that is your nurse,
Feel for my heart as in the days before your birth.
O Sun of my life, return to the waiting earth
Of your mother’s breast, the heart, the empty arms.
Come soon, for the time is passing, and when I am old
The night of my body will be too thick and cold
For the sun of your growing heart.
Return from your new mother
The earth: she is too old for your little body,
Too old for the small tendernesses, the kissings
In the soft tendrils of your hair. The earth is so old
She can only think of darkness and sleep, forgetting
That children are restless like the small spring shadows.
But the huge pangs of winter and the pain
Of the spring’s birth, the endless centuries of rain
Will not lay bare your trusting smile, your tress,
Or lay your heart bare to my heart again
In your small earthly dress.

And when I wait for you upon the summer roads
They bear all things and men, business and pleasure, sorrow,
And lovers’ meetings, mourning shades, the poor man’s leisure,
And the foolish rose that cares not ever for the far tomorrow.

But the roads are too busy for the sound of your feet,
And the lost men, the rejected of life, who tend the wounds
That life has made as if they were a new sunrise, whose
Human speech is dying
From want, to the rusted voice of the tiger, turn not their
Heads lest I hear your child-voice crying
In the hoarse tiger-voice: “I am hungry! am cold!”
Lest I see your smile upon lips that were made for the kiss that exists not,
The food that deserts them, – those lips never warm with love, but from the world’s fever,
Whose smile is a gap into darkness, the breaking apart
Of the long-impending earthquake that waits in the heart.
That smile rends the souls with the sign of its destitution,
It drips from the last long pangs of the heart, self-devouring,
And tearing the seer.

Yet one will return to the lost men,
Whose heart is the Sun of Reason, dispelling the shadow
That was born with no eyes to shed tears, – bringing peace
To the lust
And pruriency of the Ape, from the human heart’s sublimity
And tenderness teaching the dust that it is holy,
And to those who are hungry, are naked and cold as the worm, who are bare as the spirit
In that last night when the rich and the poor are alone,
Bringing love like the daily bread, like the light at morning.
And knowing this, I would give you again, my day’s darling,
My little child who preferred the bright apple to gold,
And who lies with the shining world on his innocent eyes,
Though night-long I feel your tears, bright as the rose
In its sorrowful leaves, on my lips, and feel your hands
Touching my cheek, and wondering “are those your tears?”
O grief, that your heart should know the tears that seem empty years
And the worlds that are falling!

Fac me tecum: choir | orchestra

Fac me tecum pie flere,crucifixo condolere,donec ego vixero.

Juxta crucem tecum starete libenter sociarein planctu desidero.

Virgo virginum praeclaramihi jam non sis amarafac me tecum plangere.

Fac, ut portem Christi morten,passionis fac consortem,et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulneraricrucem hac inebriari,et cruore Filii.

Make me lovingly weep with thee,and share the agony of the Crucified,as long as I live.

I long to stand with thee beside the cross,and join thee willinglyin thy weeping.

O Virgin, peerless among virgins,do not be harsh towards me,let me mourn with thee.

Grant that I may bear Christ’s death,and recall to my mind his fated passionand his wounds.

Grant that I may be wounded by his wounds,intoxicated by the crossand the blood of thy Son.


Flammis ne urar succensusper te, Virgo, sim defensusin die judicii.
Lest I burn in flames enkindledmay I be defended by thee, O Virgin,on the Day of Judgement.


Fac me cruce custodiri,morte Christi praemuniri,confoveri gratia.
Grant that I may be protected by the cross,saved by the death of Christ,and supported by His grace.

Quando corpus: mezzo-soprano | choir | orchestra

Quando corpus morietur,fac, ut anima doneturparadisi gloria. Amen.
When my body dies,let my soul be grantedthe glory of heaven. Amen.

Audio excerpts are from the première performance