Sacred Lassus III: Holy Week and the Lamentations of Jeremiah

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Program: #09-15, Air Date: 04/06/09

As we enter the 30th anniversary season of Millennium of Music, we share the great Holy Week writings of Lassus.

Lassus made this setting of the Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah for the monastery of Benediktbeuren in 1585. In its composition, he adhered to the directive of the Council of Trent that polyphony be simplified so that the meaning of the text would not be lost in a sea of contrapuntal complexity. Lassus also retreated from the more adventurous harmonic language of his youth, and the result is a work of clarity and directness in which the words are clearly comprehensible. The nine motets that make up the piece were written to be sung on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday of Holy Week. They are consistently subdued and solemn in tone, intended for quiet meditation. Within these restraints, Lassus created a set of works of purity, serenity, and gentle loveliness.

~ Stephen Eddins, All Music Guide

We begin a six-part series in collaboration with the Belgian Tourist Office and the Embassy of Belgium in Washington, D.C., including Belgian performers and composers. For information, you may go to:

www.visitbelgium.com

Sacred Lassus III: Lamentations of Jeremiah (1585)

ROLAND DE LASSUS (1532-1594)

NOTE: All of the music on this program is by the Pro Cantione Antiqua directed by Bruno Turner. The CD is on Hyperion, and is CDA 66321/2.

Hieremiae Prophetae Lamentationes

Three Lamentations for Maundy Thursday
Lamentatio prima, primi diei. Feria V ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio I:
ALEPH: "How does the city sit alone?"
BETH: "She weeps, she weeps in the night"
GIMEL: "Judah has departed because of torment"

Lamentatio secunda, primi diei. Feria V ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio II:
ZAIN: "In the days of her torment and her distraction"
HETH: "Jerusalem has sinned greatly"
TETH: "Her squalor is in her feet:"

Lamentatio tertia, primi diei. Feria V ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio III:
LAMED: "O all ye who pass by"
MEM: "From on high He has set fire into my bones"
NUN: "He has guarded me the yoke of my iniquities"

Three Lamentations for Good Friday

Lamentatio prima, secundi diei. Feria VI ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio I:
HETH: "The Lord has thought to destroy the wall"
TETH: "Her gates are sunk into the earth"
JOD: "They sat upon the ground, the elders of the daughter of Zion"

Lamentatio secunda, secundi diei. Feria VI ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio II:
MEM: "With whom shall I compare thee?"
NUN: "Your prophets have seen for you false and vain things"
SAMECH: "They clap their hands at thee all that pass by"

Lamentatio tertia, secundi diei. Feria VI ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio III:
ALEPH: "I, the man, see my poverty"
BETH: "He has made my skin and my flesh to be old"
GIMEL: He has built against me so that none may enter"

Three Lamentations for Holy Saturday

Lamentatio prima, tertii diei. Sabbato sancto ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio I
HETH: "Because of the mercies of the Lord, we are not consumed"
TETH: "The Lord is good to them that hope in Him"
JOD: "He sits alone and keeps silent"

Lamentatio secunda, tertii diei. Sabbato sancto ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio II
ALEPH: "How has the gold become tarnished?
BETH: "The glorious sons of Zion are clothed in finest gold"
GIMEL: "But the witches have uncovered their breasts"

Lamentatio tertia, tertii diei. Sabbato sancto ad matutinum in nocturno I: Lectio III
Here begins the prayer of Jeremiah the Prophet: "Remember, O Lord, what has come upon us: consider and behold our reproach."

Composer Info

ROLAND DE LASSUS (1532-1594)

CD Info

CDA 66321/2,