Tallis’ “Lamentations of Jeremiah”: Holy Week in Renaissance England

The English Renaissance composer Thomas Tallis wrote the Lamentations of Jeremiah in the 1560s for the liturgy of Maundy Thursday. At the time, musical settings from the Book of Jeremiah were common in England during the Christian Holy Week. The texts, which lament the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple by the Babylonians, held significance for Roman Catholics amid the turmoil surrounding the rise of Protestantism. The Lamentations were written during the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I who, although a Protestant, allowed Latin to be sung in religious services. Although Thomas Tallis remained an “unreformed Roman Catholic,” his style adapted as England alternated between Catholicism and Protestantism.

The Lamentations of Jeremiah unfolds in two sections. The five voices engage in an imitative polyphonic conversation which is filled with quiet weeping, anguish, and moments of shimmering, transcendent light.

This 2011 recording features Mark Brown and the London-based choral ensemble, Pro Cantione Antiqua:

Lamentations of Jeremiah I:

Lamentations of Jeremiah II:

Recordings

  • Tallis: Lamentations of Jeremiah, Mark Brown, Pro Cantione Antiqua Amazon

Featured Image: the rose window at Waltham Abbey, Essex, England where Thomas Tallis was organist around 1538

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend