A few years ago, Eugénio Rodrigues from Portugal kindly contacted me about his composition PIETÀ, which premiered in November 2019 in Lisbon by the Nova Era Vocal Ensemble. PIETÀ was the first section of his ESTAVA MÃE (Stabat Mater), which premiered in October 2021. This is the amazing story of his Stabat Mater:
It all started in 2003 when I discovered the pastels created by Paula Rego for the Chapel of the Palácio de Belém, commissioned by the then President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio. In those canvases, Rego portrayed moments in the life of Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus, in a hyper-naturalistic and contemporary way. At that time, I had the idea to compose a “stabat mater” in the same spirit as the pastels, where each musical section would somehow relate to each of those canvases. I began searching for texts suitable for each image and found them, except for one, the “adoration of the shepherds,” for which I ended up writing the text myself. The first section I composed was “pietà,” shortly after my return to Lousã, where I was inspired by the local sanctuary and worship of the image. It was at the premiere of the “pietà” section in the fall of 2019 that I met the Nova Era Vocal Ensemble and its conductor, João Barros. The last section to be composed was “assumption,” which I decided to vocalize only given the theme and the musical idea I had to mirror this canvas.
Please listen the music and watch the paintings of ESTAVA MÃE, it is so special and moving: