Wednesday, 28 November 2007

14. Thomas Tallis - Lamentations Of Jeremiah (1565)


Title: The Lamentations Of Jeremiah
Performer: Hilliard Ensemble
Director: Hilliard Ensemble
Year: 1986
Length: 22 minutes


Well this is an altogether gloomier piece of polyphony, there is none of the joy of most motets, it is a thoroughly haunting affair. This is not a criticism, however, I am not here to be made happy but to appreciate music.

And this is quite an effective piece of music, it is infused with a quite beautiful sadness, at the same time ethereal and deep. Again the recording is faultless, and seeing as this list chooses the best recording of pieces which have many times been recorded time and time again, like this one, it is only natural that there isn't much to point at in the performances, even if I was an expert.

Again, I liked this, but all this polyphony is slowly kind of melting together into one big pot. I need something different to come soon. Save me St. Baroque.

Track Highlights

1. De Lamentatione
2. Incipit Lamentatio

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Thomas Tallis made two famous sets of the Lamentations. Scored for five voices (either one on a part or in a choral context), they show a sophisticated use of imitation, and are noted for their expressiveness. The settings are of the first two lessons for Maundy Thursday. As many other composers do, Tallis also sets the announcements ('Incipit Lamentatio...', and 'De Lamentatione...') the Hebrew letters that headed each verse (Aleph, Beth for the first set, Gimel, Daleth, Heth for the second), and the concluding refrain 'Ierusalem, Ierusalem... (Jerusalem, Jerusalem, turn again to the Lord thy God)—thus emphasising the sombre and melancholy effect of the pieces. Tallis's two settings happen to use successive verses, but the pieces are in fact independent even though performers generally sing both settings together. Composers have been free to use whatever verses they wish, since the liturgical role of the text is somewhat loose; this accounts for the wide variety of texts that appear in these pieces.

A version of the incipit:

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