2013-10-06 Notes from the Bench

“Lamentations of Jeremiah” by Z. Randall Stroope

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate

O vos omnes,
qui transities per viam
attendite et videte
si est dolor,
sicut dolor meus.

Recordare Domine
intuere et respice
opprobrium nostrum.

English Translation:

O you people,
who pass this way,
look and see
if there exists any sorry,
like unto my sorry.

Remember, Lord
consider and notice
our humiliation and disgrace!

The “Lamentations of Jeremiah” are five poems unified by the common theme of lament over the fall of Jerusalem and the temple in 587 B.C. The music captures the wide range of human emotions felt by Jeremiah which are common to us all during difficult times: “grief-stricken, alone, ready to cry out, sobbing uncontrollably, and torn between belief and his circumstance. The piece ends in a sudden overwhelming feeling of confidence and unleashed power in [the] Lord and the strength of that relationship in difficult times.”*

Z. Randall Stroope (b. 1953) is among today’s most active American choral conductors and composers, conducting numerous prestigious choirs from around the world, and ensembles under direction have toured internationally. He is also the Artistic Director for two summer music festivals held in Europe.

Stroope was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He completed a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance at the University of Colorado Boulder, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting at Arizona State University. His post graduate work includes studying with Margaret Hillis, Chorus Master of the Chicago Symphony and he was a recipient of the Australian-American Fulbright that gave him the opportunity to study and work in western Australia. Dr. Stoope is currently the Director of Choral and Vocal Studies at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

As a composer, Stroope has published 125 musical works; music written for choirs, instrumental ensemble, or solo voice. “Lamentations of Jeremiah” is among his best-known choral works. His choral music is frequently performed and recorded by choral ensembles from around the world.

* composer’s note included in the score

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