Brumel wrote over 30 motets, 15 masses and 4 credos. He worked in churches all over central Europe – Chartes, Geneva, Laon, Chambery and Ferrara – during the Renaissance period.
For the Lamenations of Jeremiah, Brumel set the bibical text from Lamentations chapter 2 verses 8 and 11 to music. The work is in 4 parts – TTBB – and is sung acapella. Each of the two verses begins with the Hebrew letter that corresponds to the number of the verse within Lamentations, i.e. HETH is the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and CAPH is the 11th letter.
HETH. Cogitavit Dominus dissipare murum filiæ Sion;
tetendit funiculum suum, et non avertit manum suam a perditione:
luxitque antemurale, et murus pariter dissipatus est.
The Lord was minded to bring down in ruins the walls of the daughter of Zion;
he took their measure with his line and did not scruple to demolish her;
he made rampart and wall lament, and both together lay dejected.
CAPH. Defecerunt præ lacrimis oculi mei, conturbata sunt viscera mea;
effusum est in terra jecur meum super contritione filiæ populi mei,
cum deficeret parvulus et lactens in plateis oppidi.
My eyes are blinded with tears, my bowels writhe in anguish.
In my bitterness my bile is spilt on the earth.
The daughters of my people and the sucking child faint away in the streets of the town.
Jerusalem, turn again to the Lord your God.
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