|About this recording
The Book of Lamentations consists
of five songs. The first three texts were included in the
Christian Liturgy for Easter Week and thus, since the Middle
Ages have been repeatedly set to music. In terms of textual
content the songs don’t seem to form a single unit, although
the musical form contradicts this impression.
The texts are so called "alphabet
poems" meaning that the first word of each line or verse
begins with the next successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph,
Bet, Gimmel, etc.). The first letter’s special role has proved
an unusual challenge for composers throughout centuries and has
produced some particularly interesting formal solutions -
comparable to the elaborate ornamentation scribes in medieval
times chose for the first letter of each chapter of the Bible.
While the traditional Jewish
belief that Jeremiah wrote these Lamentations is today
considered doubtful, it is almost certain that they were written
at the time of the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem by the
Babylonians in 587 B.C. However it remains unclear whether the
Lamentations have more than one single author.
For this first recording of John
Tuder’s works, Maria Jonas and Norbert Rodenkirchen have
chosen to use voice with flute and symphonia. Although it is not
possible to clearly determine whether Tuder composed the
Lamentations as monophonic works or if the single surviving
vocal part actually is the upper voice of a polyphonic setting,
DIPHONA assumes that the pieces were conceived as single-voice
In this recording the vocal line
over a continuous bourdon follows the vocal line as it has
survived. The flute takes over in those phrases which Tuder left
without text, producing a natural alteration between the human
voice and the flute. In addition, the flute has been allowed to
ornament the vocal line, occasionally extending the music in an
improvised polyphonic "super librum". Several sections
are further extended through the addition of musical interludes
in fifteenth century style.
Instrumental improvisation on
vocal models was widely practiced in the second half of the
fifteenth century, a tradition which survived in the many early
organ books such as that of Adam Ileborg von Stendal dated 1448.
The flute interludes on this compact disc follow in this
Between the first and second
section a flute solo has been inserted. It is the single voice
composition "O lux beata trinitas", which like the
Lamentations is heard here for the first time on compact disc.
pronunciation of the Latin text chosen for this performance,
primarily follows the Erasmus of Rotterdam’s linguistic