Holy Week 2019

Notre Dame

In a week where many Christians are focused liturgically on the suffering and death of Jesus Christ, the singing or reading of the Lamentations of Jeremiah is heard during the daytime prayers of Holy Thursday or Good Friday, or during the service of Tenebrae, as the candles are symbolically extinguished. During Lent, the Compline Choir at St. Mark’s, Seattle has a tradition of singing settings of the Lamentations, which are usually by Renaissance composers.

Early in the week came the disastrous fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, inspiring numerous lamentations and prayers. My friend Jim Friedrich posted photographs he had taken of the cathedral with quotes from the Lamentations, in his “Lamentation for Notre Dame.”

Last Sunday the Compline Choir sang the second part of the Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis. It was an ambitious undertaking, which lasted almost 13 minutes. The Compline Service broadcast probably set a record, lasting almost 45 minutes, and can be found here. There was some wonderful music, including the Vexilla Regis setting by Franz Liszt (with organ), but I’ve extracted the performance of the Lamentations, with the Latin text and translation. The choir provided what I think was (in my memory) one of the most inspired performances of the Lamentations.

Wishing you a good week and a happy Easter to come!

De lamentatione Ieremiae prophetae: The lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah:
GHIMEL. Migravit Judas propter afflictionem, et multitudinem servitutis; habitavit inter gentes, nec invenit requiem: GHIMEL. Judah has gone into exile because of affliction and hard servitude; she dwells now among the nations, but finds no resting place;
DALETH. omnes persecutores ejus apprehenderunt eam inter angustias. Viæ Sion lugent, eo quod non sint qui veniant ad solemnitatem: omnes portæ ejus destructæ, sacerdotes ejus gementes; virgines ejus squalidæ, et ipsa oppressa amaritudine. DALETH. her pursuers have all overtaken her in the midst of her distress. The roads to Zion mourn, for none come to the appointed feasts; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her maidens have been dragged away, and she herself suffers bitterly.
HE. Facti sunt hostes ejus in capite; inimici ejus locupletati sunt: quia Dominus locutus est super eam propter multitudinem iniquitatum ejus. Parvuli ejus ducti sunt in captivitatem ante faciem tribulantis. HE. Her foes have become the head, her enemies prosper, because the Lord has made her suffer for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.
Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum. Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God.


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