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Lamentationes

composer
author of text
No 1: Lamentations 1: 1-2, 11; No 2: Lamentations 2: 1, 9, 13; No 3: Lamentations 3: 22, 40, 41, 42; 4: 12; 5: 1, 21

 
This is a substantial and taxing work for interdivided SATB choir, unaccompanied. Commissioned by the Wratislavia Cantans Festival, Poland, it was published in 2011 and sets text from the Book of Lamentations in the Bible, including a musical inscription ‘Here begin the Lamentations …’ and the Hebrew equivalents of page numbers in song, in the tradition established by composers such as Thomas Tallis (c1505-1585). In the Hebrew Bible, the Lamentations form part of the books of the Ketuvim, and are a poetic lament for the destruction of Jerusalem by Babylon. In the Christian Bible it is ascribed to Jeremiah, but only by tradition, and its role is as a metaphor for the death of Christ which is celebrated in the Liturgy of Holy Week.

There is something of the grand-architectural about the form of this piece: a substantial essay in big brush-strokes, starkly-contrasted changes of technique and texture from headings to verses and so on. There is a mixture of metrical complexity and rhythmical dissonance, sustained strands of sounds and dense patterns of intricacy, thick clusters of harmony and the occasional relief of unison lines. But there is a continuous feature made of the role of octaves, between parts and within vocal strands themselves, and dialogue and relationships at one and two octaves apart. There is a suggestion in the sound that there is great throng of people involved—maybe the whole of humanity as part of the narrative. Many of the earlier devices of Paweł Łukaszewski’s are brought together and developed, with wordless vocalisations, extended ostinati, and instrumental-type figurations. In the third Lamentation, extended use is made of an out-of-phase musical timing within each vocal division, resulting in a Mexican wave effect of out-of-time singing, as if in a long column of people in procession.

from notes by Greg Murray © 2018

Recordings

Łukaszewski: Daylight declines & other choral works
Studio Master: SIGCD521Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available

Details

No 1: Lamentatio I  Quomodo sedet sola civitas plena populo
Track 10 on SIGCD521 [6'23] Download only
No 2: Lamentatio II  Quomodo obtexit caligine in furore
Track 11 on SIGCD521 [3'53] Download only
No 3: Lamentatio III  Misericordiae Domini
Track 12 on SIGCD521 [8'35] Download only

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