Lassus Lamentations & folk laments
Musicall Compass & Moira Smiley
St John’s, Smith Sq. 1 February 2017
The Musicall Compass have undertaken some fascinating projects in the past, combining vocal music with, for example, dance in a memorable performance of Buxtehude’s Memba Jesu Nostri in Christ Church Spitalfields. On this occasion they interspersed the nine five-voice Lamentations of Orlando di Lasso with folk laments from Eastern Europe, sung by Moira Smiley. Written to be performed during the three days leading up to Easter, the Lamentations set verses from Jeremiah’s rather morbid reflections on the decline of Jerusalem: ‘How doth the city sit solitary .. she has become a widow’. Three settings are sung on each day, each finishing with the lament Ierusalem, Ierusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum (Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return unto the Lord thy God). Continue reading
The Cardinall’s Musick, Andrew Carwood
Hyperion CDA68121. 75’09
Lamentations of Jeremiah I/II; In pace, in idipsum; Lord have mercy upon us: Short Service ‘Dorian’ (Responses, Credo, Sanctus, Gloria); Not every one that saith unto me; Solemnis urgebat dies; Sancte Deus; Dum transisset Sabbatum; Why brag’st in malice high; Salvator mundi I; Te deum ‘for meanes’; Come, Holy Ghost.
This is the penultimate recording in The Cardinal’s Musick’s Tallis Edition, and it opens with a masterpiece, the two settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah. As Andrew Carwood explains in his programme notes, it seems that they were written during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, rather than the earlier Catholic Queen Mary. It is not clear why these, and other similar Lamentations, were composed or when they would have been performed, if not in the Holy Week Tenebrae service in the Catholic rite – hence the usual assumption of composition during Queen Mary’s reign. They are remarkable pieces, using the simple textural style of one note per syllable encouraged by Archbishop Cranmer. The Hebrew incipits are particularly well set, as are the concluding, and rather sombre Continue reading