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The Catholic liturgy for the Holy Week is quite strict. They allow for very little music during the days in which they remember Jesus’ suffering and death.

Jeremiah’s Lamentations are part of the few texts that are permitted. Throughout the centuries, composers have often set these sombre penitentials to music. Within all these rules, or sometimes in between the lines, they still tried to add lustre to Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

During this broadcast we will be listening to two concerts from 2010. At the Early Music Festival there was a lot of focus on French passion music. The French called Jeremiah’s lamentations Leçons ténèbres. Several big composers, especially in the baroque, have set these pieces to music. We will be listening to the arrangements of Marc-Antoine Charpentier and François Couperin. In between we will be listening to shorter works – not only works by contemporaries, but also contemporary music. several Dutch composers got the assignment to compose a new piece for these concerts. They had to compose for the same ensembles that were performing the rest of the concert. So, we will be listening to contemporary music on baroque instruments! How does that sound? Let us surprise you.


1. Marc-Antoine Charpentier – Leçon ténèbre pour mercredi

2. Louis Couperin – Tombeau de M. Blancrocher

3. Marc-Antoine Charpentier – Leçon ténèbre pour jeudi

4. Marin Marais – Les voix humaines

5. Marc-Antoine Charpentier – Leçon ténèbre pour vendredi

6. Bart Visman – Lamento

7. gorgonian – Zelus domus tuae (1)

8. François Couperin – Première leçon

9. gorgonian – Zelus domus tuae (2)

10. François Couperin – Deuxième leçon

11. Anthony Fiumara – The house that I built

12. François Couperin – Troisième leçon

13. Sébastien de Brossard – Miserere


track 1-6: Ensemble Pierre Robert conducted by Frédéric Desenclos. (Sylvia Abramowicz – viola da gamba; Thomas Dunford – theorbo; Frédéric Desenclos – harpsichord and chest organ). Marcel Beekman – haute-contre.

track 7-13: Le Parlement de Musique conducted by Martin Gester. (Emmanuelle Guigues – viola da gamba; Marc Wolf – theorbo; Martin Gester – chest organ). Eugénie Warnier – soprano; Élodie Fonnard – soprano. With the help of Tanja Obalski, Marieke Steenhoek and Gemma Jansen.

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