22. April 2011

Klangraum Krems Minoritenkirche


Claire Lefilliâtre, Claire Debono (Soprano); Sylvia Abramovicz (Viola da Gambe); Frédéric Rivoal (Orgel & Cembalo); Vincent Dumestre (Theorbe & director)

Aleph-Beth-Gheml-Daleth-He-Vav-Zain-Heth-Teth-Jod-Caph-Lamed-Mem-Nun: The respective letter of the Hebrew alphabet can be found in each verse of the Old Testament Lamentations. As an archaic stigma, the alphabet also goes over into the following texts. In his “Leçons de Ténèbres”, composed in 1714 on behalf of the nuns of the Parisian Abbey of Longchamp, François Couperin intonated the Hebrew letters with widely contoured melismas for the voice which concentrate the complete line of singing of the following Latin verses. In this way, Couperin merged a sacral musical tradition going back to the Renaissance period with his quite unique style of composing sophisticated and tender melodies and harmonies. Even the expressive laments contain some of the grace this sensitive musical spirit put into his music despite following a strict compositional set. Thus, Couperin’s verse intonations at the darkest hour on Good Friday always also carry a sparkle of hope. With each verse sung one of the candles in church is extinguished until the room ended up in complete darkness: Tenebrae factae sund dum crucifixissent Jesum Judaei – the day went dark when Jesus was crucified by the Jews. Thanks to Couperin’s music a shimmer of resurrection finds its way into the Tenebrae lamentations. In its interpretations of archaic music, the French soloist ensemble Le Poème Harmonique always knows how to bring performance rituals of the respective time period back to life, and with the lamentations of the court musician of the Sun King in Versailles Couperin it also demonstrates the knowledge gained from the co-operation with researchers of the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles. In the profound darkness of the lamentations at “Imago Dei”, past and present times and eras will be abrogated in favor of the sound of a music heading for eternity. Whenever the singing voices fall silent, intermediate instrumental plays will carry the sound of lamentations without words, just like the major-key melancholy of Couperin’s viola da gamba music “Pompe funébre”.

© Osterfestival Tirol

© Osterfestival Tirol