|The Virgin of Sorrows; the central panel of the Van Belle triptych by Pieter Poubus (1523 ca. – 1580); in the church of St James in Bruges, Belgium. There were different traditions as to which events in Our Lady’s life counted as Her Seven Sorrows; here they are (clockwise from lower left) the Circumcision, the Flight into Egypt, losing the Child Jesus, meeting Christ on the road to Calvary, the Crucifixion, the deposition from the Cross, and the entombment. The Roman version of the Passiontide feast contains no specific list. (Public domain image from Wikimedia Commons.)|
One of the greatest treasures of Latin hymnody, the Stabat Mater, is sung in two different forms on the feast. (Text and translation here.) Divided into three sections, it was sung as the hymn of Vespers, Matins, Lauds; in Italy, this version, in the 6th mode, is still very often sung when the Via Crucis is done. The same text is also sung with a different melody in the 2nd mode, as a Sequence in the Mass.
It was also commonly used as a motet for the ceremonies and devotions of Holy Week; Josquin des Prez’s version is one of the finest among pre-Tridentine composers.
Palestrina’s version was composed a few years before his death in 1594, and traditionally sung on Palm Sunday in Rome.
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