John’s set of Lamentations is receiving its UK premiere as part of the Passiontide at Merton festival on Saturday 31 March, 2012.
The piece was commissioned by Sospiri for a new CD, Desolata est, recorded in Roujan, France in August 2011.
John says, ‘I was thrilled to be asked to write a set of Lamentations not only because they are such a central text in the Christian liturgical calendar, but also because they speak to people of all religious and secular persuasions. The themes of loss, exile and yearning are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago. As 2011 was the 400th aniversary of the publication of the King James Bible, I decided to use the English translation and picked the verses: 1:1, 12, and 16. I followed the Renaissance tradition of prefacing each verse with Hebrew letters (Aleph, Beth and Gimell) and concluded the work with the Latin verse from Hosea 14:1 – Jerusalem, Jerusalem, convertere ad Dominum Deum tuum.
‘We were very fortunate to be accompanied on our trip to France by the brilliant trumpet player, Robert Vanryne, and one of our founder members, Susanna Fairbairn, who is now enjoying great success as a professional soprano. I was able to write solo parts especially for them and we are delighted that both of them are available to perform in the UK premiere of my piece.’