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Incipit lamentatio Jeremiae prophetae

author of text

A large number of Lamentations and responsories for the triduum sacrum by Fernando de Almeida, scored for both four and eight voices, survive in the Vila Viçosa choirbooks. Almeida, formerly a pupil of Duarte Lobo, was mestre da capella at the Convento de Cristo in Tomar, north of Lisbon, during the first half of the seventeenth century. On hearing Almeida’s Holy Week music performed in Tomar in the early eighteenth century, João V commissioned a book of his Lamentations, responsories and Misereres to be copied for use in the royal chapel in Lisbon. Almeida’s music is still unknown today but, from the large number of settings of Lamentations, responsories and other music for Holy Week attributed to him at Vila Viçosa, it is evident that he was a highly skilled and imaginative composer whose works deserve to receive far greater recognition. (None of his music is as yet published.) As in the case of Victoria’s Maundy Thursday Lamentations included in the Vila Viçosa sources, an inscription indicates that this particular set of Lamentations by Almeida includes a few ‘verses’ added by Soares, though it is not certain which sections these might be. The music of the Lamentations is to a large extent based on the traditional ‘Spanish’ chant used in the Iberian peninsula at this time. Like Cardoso’s Lamentations, much of the fabric of this set consists of the close juxtaposition of contrasting musical ideas reflecting the sharply-defined and varied emotions expressed in these texts: sustained chordal phrases, with unusual and unexpected chord changes and contrapuntal sections incorporating dissonances and suspensions, may be swiftly followed by excited declamatory passages (sometimes employing a rapid ‘parlando’ style) in which ideas are tossed between the two choirs in the traditional polychoral style of the period. In accordance with documented practice at both the royal chapel in Lisbon and Vila Viçosa, the choir in Almeida’s work is here accompanied by the harp. (The harp was also traditionally used to accompany settings of the Miserere (Psalm 50 sung at Lauds during the last three days of Holy Week.)

from notes by Bernadette Nelson © 1996


Holy Week at the Chapel of the Dukes of Braganza
CDA66867Archive Service


Track 11 on CDA66867 [13'17] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA66867 track 11

Recording date
4 February 1996
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Holy Week at the Chapel of the Dukes of Braganza (CDA66867)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: September 1996
    Deletion date: October 2007
    Archive Service
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