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Welcome to Hyperion Records, an independent British classical label devoted to presenting high-quality recordings of music of all styles and from all periods from the twelfth century to the twenty-first.
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This monophonic conductus laments the departure of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, for France in November 1164 following his dispute with King Henry II. The poem, full of biblical resonance, associates Thomas’s departure from England with the Holy Family’s flight into Egypt, followed by the Massacre of the Innocents ordered by Herod (Matthew 2: 18: ‘In Rama there was a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children …’). The poem then associates Thomas’s exile with that of Joseph who was sold into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37).
In Rama sonat gemitus Plorante Rachel Anglie, Herodis namque genitus Dat ipsam ignominie. En! eius primogenitus, Et Joseph Cantuarie, Exul, ac si sit venditus, Egiptum colit Gallie.
In Rama, the weeping Rachel of England Sounds her lamentation, For one born of Herod Gives her great shame. Behold! Her first-born And the Joseph of Canterbury, An exile as if he were sold, Dwells in the Egypt of France.