Boccherini wrote very little vocal music; however he left two settings of the Stabat mater. He set it rst in 1781 for solo soprano and strings and then in 1800 for two sopranos and tenor, and was clearly inuenced by the hugely popular Pergolesi Stabat mater of 1736. There are many similarities in the notation and harmonyeven the same key of F minor is used. The writing is of extraordinary individuality, seeming to come straight from the heart.
Emanuele d'Astorga was one of the more colourful gures of early eighteenth-century music, his life the stuff of subject of legend as much as of fact. Over 150 chamber cantatas survive, but by far his most enduring work has proved to be this setting of the Stabat mater, his only known sacred composition. Throughout it we hear Astorga's gift for writing warm melodies, typical of the Neapolitan style of the time, which movingly capture the melancholy of this most desolate of sacred texts.