Lamentations

for 5-part choir

by Vaughan McAlley (2012)

Score

Lamentations is a setting of the second set of readings for Good Friday. The scoring is SATTB, but transposed down a fourth, it can also be sung by men only (ATTBarB). The words are from Lamentations 2:13-15.

What can I say for you, to what compare you,
    O daughter Jerusalem?
To what can I liken you, that I may comfort you,
    O virgin daughter Zion?
For vast as the sea is your ruin;
    who can heal you?

Your prophets have seen for you
    false and deceptive visions;
they have not exposed your iniquity
    to restore your fortunes,
but have seen oracles for you
    that are false and misleading.

All who pass along the way
    clap their hands at you;
they hiss and wag their heads
    at daughter Jerusalem;
‘Is this the city that was called
    the perfection of beauty,
    the joy of all the earth?’

Images with relevance to contemporary society include a depiction of a sea-breach inspired by the disastrous and unstoppable tsunami in Japan, and today’s myriad of false prophets. Jerusalem being likened to a beautiful daughter who has lost her innocence is particularly poignant.