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 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
The Tallis Lamentations were first performed by the Virginia Glee Club in the Glee Club 1976-1977 season. The work returned to the Glee Club's repertoire in the 1991-1992 season, when the group performed the first part throughout the season and on the Tour of the South (1992).
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