The expressive melancholy of the Lamentations of Jeremiah provided a rich source of inspiration for such major sixteenth-century European composers as Lassus, Morales, Palestrina and Victoria - and, after 1600, Viadana, Allegri and Alessandro Scarlatti. The texts of these settings were drawn from lessons for the Office of Matins (or 'Tenebrae') from Maundy Thursday to Holy Saturday. Each verse was prefaced by a Hebrew letter and each work ended with the 'refrain' 'Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum', adapted from Hoseah XIV, verse 1.
Settings of the Lamentations were less common in England. Alongside more familiar ones by Thomas Tallis and Robert White, Alfonso Ferrabosco (with four sets), Osbert Parsley and Byrd himself also contributed to the genre. All were apparently written in the early years of Elizabeth's reign and were probably intended for private performance, either chorally or by soloists, in Catholic households. A later setting by John Mundy (c. 1555-1630) also survives.
The text of Byrd's Lamentations is from the Good Friday lesson. Probable musical stimuli were provided both by Tallis, with whom he worked closely, and Ferrabosco who arrived in England c. 1562 and to whose music he is known to have been attracted. Byrd's setting, which dates from the middle 1560s when he was in his early twenties, is characterised by highly charged emotion, modal contrasts and continuous counterpoint - sometimes spaced out, as in the Incipit, and sometimes in close imitation, as in the section 'Cogitavit Dominus'. Although attributed to Byrd in one source, the work is anonymous in its two others (see page 18). However, detailed consideration by Joseph Kerman and others leaves little room for doubt concerning Byrd's authorship.
English Translation From the Lamentations of the prophet Jeremiah.
HETH: The Lord has purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion; he has stretched out his line, he has not withdrawn his hand from destruction.
TETH: Her gates are sunk into the ground; he has destroyed and worn away her bars: her king and her prince among the gentiles.
lOTH: The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silence; they have cast ash upon their heads. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, return to the Lord thy God.
In Byrd's day the pitch of sacred a cappella music, particularly with Latin texts, was often treated with some flexibility. In this edition, and with considerations of range and tessitura in mind, the work has been transposed up a fourth from its primary source text (rather than a minor third as with other such works in this Series) without detriment, in the editor's view, to the music's rich textures. Transposition down a tone from this edition (for SAATB), or even as much as a fourth (for ATTBarB), may be considered.
Barnard: Deep river
Composition Review Service Fee
How: O praise the Lord
Madden: Three anthems
Loosemore: O Lord, increase our faith
Gowers: Memento nostri (Advent IV)
Macpherson: Te Deum in E
Stanford: Purest and highest (High key F)
Complete Church Organist Level Two
Child: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis
William Godfree: Requiem, Double Bass
Wilberforce: Remember Bethlehem
Stanford: A Song of Wisdom (U)
Stanford: Canzona, Op.116 No.2
Le Fleming: Three Hadlow Anthems
VICTORIA: Requiem Mass for 6 voices (1605) ed. David Wulstan
McDowall: St Alban's Service Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis
Lawson: How far is it to Bethlehem?
Wise: Prepare ye the way
Darke: O gladsome light
Forbes L'Estrange, J: The St Helen's Service Vocal Score
Stanford: Te Deum in Bb Full Score
Wilby: Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis for Unison Voices Virtual Choir Kit
Tomkins: Death is swallowed up
Rawsthorne: Festive Eucharist - Common Worship Order One (full)
English Gradual II: Propers
Milford: Three Christmas Pieces for Organ
William Godfree: Requiem, Percussion II
Stanford: By the sea shore (Three Idylls, No.1)
Tye: Blessed are all they that fear the Lord
Bullard: The friendly beasts (SA)
Rizza: O Speculum Columbe
LLoyd: Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis (Salisbury Service)
Tallis & Boyce: Three Chirk Castle Miniatures Ã”Ã‡Ã´ Out from the deep, Not everyone that sayeth unto me, If ye love me
Cooper: Angela's Pieces
Aston: O my dear heart
Other products in this Category
Blake: Sing to the Lord of harvest
A Little Organ Book in Memory of Hubert Parry
Stanford: Jubilate deo in A
Ogden: Faith, hope & love - Two-part choir
Stanford: Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in B flat (ed. Dibble)
Herbert Sumsion Complete Organ Works
Bach, J.S.: O Jesu Christ meins lebens licht
Ives: Missa Brevis for Upper Voices
Walford Davies: Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis (from the Service in C)
Stanford: Fantasia (In Festo Omnium Sanctorum)
Wood: Prelude and Fugue in G minor
Stanford: Communion Service in B flat (edited by Jeremy Dibble)