Sunday's Lament

Quite a few people have asked me where the lament came from that I sang on Sunday. The answer is the it really comes from the New World being a William Billings composition.

Well, that’s where it is from. I was singing my own internal recollection of hearing it on the Waterson’s album Sound, Sound Your Instruments of Joy, which I’ve not heard for a very long time. I also remember it being sung by English folkies in English folky pubs. Looking online offers this written score and there is a choral version here. There is a recording of it jazzed up a bit by The Good Players, several “authentic” hand rolled shape note versions, such as this one and also a rather good version by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. An arrangement sung by Napa Chamber Choir also struck me as being particularly memorable.

Notwithstanding all those, I think I prefer it for solo voice.

I think I’ve done it before, but can’t remember where. It might have been at morning prayer a couple of years ago or it might have been in Bridge of Allan. Guaranteed liturgical show-stopper and a reminder that we have almost lost the power to lament. Modern funerals are so often bereft of controlled lamentation.

To our great loss.