Lamentations was composed during the fall of 2002. It is loosely based on the old testament book of the same name (called Eichah in the Torah), whose writer is Jeremiah, in anguish over the complete destruction of Jerusalem (including its temple and most of its inhabitants) in 586 B. C. (about 3176 in the Hebrew calendar). I was moved both by the poetry and by contemporary events in the Middle East to compose a setting for solo cello for my friend and former colleague, Thomas Loewenheim. The structure is sectional, and each section should connect with the next. Section titles (except those marked Remembrance) are drawn from lines of the biblical poetry, as follows:
1. “How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!”
3. “All the splendor has gone…”
4. “All her doorways are empty… and she is in bitter anguish.”
5. Brief remembrance.
6. “Amongst all her lovers there is none to comfort her.”
7. “My children are destitute because the enemy has prevailed.”
8. “He has burned in Jacob like a fire that consumes everything.”
10. “How deserted lies the city, once so full of people.”
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performed live in concert by Thomas Loewenheim,
Note to performer: It can enhance the listener’s experience to know the title of each section as it is being performed, so I would ask that section titles (as above) be included in the printed concert programme. It might also work well to give a spoken introduction to the piece in which the section titles are announced. Alternatively, a mostly-inconspicuous narrator could announce the titles in advance of each section... This is an intentionally dramatic work, so feel free to experiment with the presentation (including lighting).