Lamentations - renaissance supertrio

8:15 pm, Friday, 8 April 2011
Teresia van Avilakerk, Westeinde 12a, 2512 HD The Hague (map)

4 pm, Sunday, 10 April 2011
Eendrachtskerk, Eendrachtsstraat 95, Rotterdam (map).

Entrance: €10

What better material for music than grief. The church has set aside a special period for sorrow: Holy Week, the last week before Easter. (So we are in good time.) Naturally enough, this has its own special music. It is an old tradition to sing lamentations at six o'clock in the morning (matins) during Holy Week.

The Lamentations of Jeremiah deal with the sadness at the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. The Babylonians plundered the city, profaned the temple and carried a large proportion of the population away as prisoners. The mourning-songs are also regarded as a metaphor for grief over the death of Jesus on the cross.

Jeremiah’s sorrowful poetry has been set to music thousands of times; very often during the renaissance. Cappella Gabrieli, directed by Maarten Michielsen, will sing two examples of Lamentations settings - polyphony from the same period, but from different parts of Europe.

We start with a collection of Lamentations for Sabbato Sancto (Holy Saturday) by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594). The last items on the program are the Lamentations I and II by Thomas Tallis (1505-1585). The other major work is the Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Requiem, a composition from 1605.

The three composers were considered the greatest of their time and operated in the centres of power. Palestrina was court composer to the Vatican, Victoria to the Spanish and Tallis to the British court. To hear something of what was going on elsewhere, we will also sing a motet by an outsider: Carlo Gesualdo, who murdered his wife after having retreated to a desolate castle, after which he surrendered to the composition of strange, dark music. Music that was not well-received at the time.


Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594):

Don Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa (1560-1613):
Tristis anima mea

Francis Poulenc (1899–1963):
Tristis anima mea

Tomás Luis de Victoria (1549-1611):
Missa pro Defunctis à 6

Thomas Tallis (1505-1585):
Lamentations of Jeremiah