The Old Testament Lamentations tell about the plight of the Kingdom of Judah in the time of the Babylonian invasion of 587 BC, when the dynasty of King David was overthrown, the temple was destroyed and Jerusalem was ruined. Lamentations are interpreted by the Catholic Church as a sign of the future Passion of Christ, which is why they appear in services celebrated before dawn in the Holy Weak, in the so called dark matins.
Graindelavoix, a Belgian vocal ensemble, presents a programme of six-voice Lamentations by two little known Renaissance composers: Carolus Luython (1557-1620) and Pedro Ruimonte (1565-1627). Lamentations by Luython, who spent most of his lifetime at the Emperor’s court in Vienna, are typical of the Franco-Flemish style and may bring to mind pieces by Josquin des Prés. By contrast, Ruimonte, who was associated with the ducal court at Brussels, was inspired by the Spanish mysticism of Theresa of Ávila and St. John of the Cross. Modelled after Lamentations by Orlande de Lassus and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Ruimonte’s Lamentations follow the tradition of great Spanish composers: Cristóbal de Morales and Tomás Luis de Victoria.