Gioacchino Rossini is best known for his bubbling comic operas, frothy and fun works such as The Barber of Seville and Cenerentola. His setting of the anonymous 13th-century poem Stabat Mater is an uncharacteristic work for him, serious in a more than dramatic sense, and soaringly religious. After turning out more than two dozen operas, Rossini retired in 1829 at the age of 37, the victim of ill health and politics. But in 1831, he was persuaded to take on a commission to compose a setting of the Stabat Mater. He originally pushed the writing of some of the more boring stanzas to a colleague, but a decade later he decided to revamp the score and make it entirely his own, with happy results. You can see how this master composer successfully combined religious and theatrical elements with the Dover edition of the complete instrumental score. As usual, the Dover version is a reprint of an out-of-copyright edition originally issued by another publisher, and lacks certain amenities (such as translations) that some may find necessary. In addition, it should be borne in mind that the orchestral score will not be useful for those who seek to perform it with keyboard accompaniment. But for those with an interest in the score itself and how Rossini achieved his effects, Stabat Mater in Full Score is a valuable resource indeed.
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