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The Lamentations of Jeremiah is a Renaissance polyphonic composition for men's voices by Thomas Tallis. 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 Virginia Glee Club has performed the Lamentations several times during its history, beginning in the Glee Club 1976-1977 season and especially during the 1991-1992 season.

Thomas Tallis set the first lesson, and second lesson, of Tenebrae on Maundy Thursday between 1560, and 1569: "when the practice of making musical settings of the Holy Week readings from the Book of Jeremiah enjoyed a brief and distinguished flowering in England (the practice had developed on the continent during the early 15th century)".[1]

The settings are of the first two lessons for Maundy Thursday. As many other composers do, Tallis also sets the following:

  • The announcements: Incipit Lamentatio Ieremiae Prophetae ("The Lamentation of Jeremiah the Prophet begins") and De Lamentatione Ieremiae Prophetae ("From the Lamentation of Jeremiah the Prophet")
  • The Hebrew letters that headed each verse: Aleph, Beth for the first set; Gimel, Daleth, Heth for the second. These letters were considered part of the text in the LatinVulgate Bible of Tallis's day, although most English translations omit them. Tallis's use of 'Heth' rather than the correct 'He' appears to have been an error
  • The concluding refrain: Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum ("Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord thy God") – thus emphasising the sombre and melancholy effect of the pieces

PerformancesEdit

RecordingsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Paul Doe and David Allinson. "Tallis, Thomas." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 18 Jul. 2014.
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