Stabat Mater Stabat Pater is the third passion work I’ve written over a ten year period. It completes a triptych of modern religious pieces in which suffering is central. In contrast to other passion works this theme doesn’t necessarily revolve around Jesus’ death on the cross. As a non-believer I prefer to stress the human aspect in ancient religious writings. Friendship, love of one’s neighbour and treason remain the major topics, but their perception is taken out of religious context. For the St. Matthew’s Passion, my instrumental reworking of Bach’s masterpiece from 2002 my starting point as a composer was: What will remain of the spiritual content if you leave out the lyrics? ‘Thank god’ the attempt was successful; bare to the bone Bach’s music still manages to touch the listener’s soul directly. In his libretto for my Judas Passion Jeroen van Merwijk drew upon the Gospel of Judas Iscariot, rediscovered in 2005. In this Judas doesn’t appear as the bad guy, but as Jesus’ best friend. Jesus asks Judas to betray him as the ultimate act of friendship. It puts Judas in a mental torture, making it Judas’ passion. The staged version of the Judas Passion premiered in 2010.