Stabat Mater is a thirteenth-century text attributed to Jacopone da Todi. Its title is an abbreviation of the first line, Stabat mater dolorosa: "The sorrowful mother was standing beneath the Cross." The hymn, one of the most powerful and moving of the medieval sequences, meditates on the suffering of Mary, the mother of Christ, during his crucifixion and death. Dvořák's setting of this text is his first composition based on a religious theme, and came in reaction to the death of his daughter Josefa. Dvořák completed the work in its final version in 1877, following the tragic loss of two more children.Dvořák would go on to have other children, but the tragic loss of his first three children reveals the source of the emotional depth and intensity of this composition.
Founded in 1909, the Choir of the Cathedral of the Madeleine, consisting of adult members and choristers of The Madeleine Choir School, exists principally to serve the liturgical prayer of the Cathedral church of the Diocese of Salt Lake City. The choir sings weekly at the 11 a.m. Sunday Mass from Labor Day through the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Sunday Vespers are sung by the Choir during the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Easter.