The "Stabat Mater", based on the hymn "The Sorrows of Mary", was composed for solo alto voice and strings. It is a masterpiece of simplicity. The strings and basso continuo, played here by the violincello and bass viol, are subordinate in both volume and complexity to the voice, and yet pull the ear of the listener along between vocal expressions to create an unbroken musical narrative. The alto voice part, written in the richest and most expressive part of the range, pulls at the listener's soul as the words narrate the miraculous event. The basso continuo in the first movement, in an unrelenting example of fortspinnung, is the musical realization of the mournful beat of the weeping mother's heart as she stands next to the cross of her crucified Son.