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Copperleaf Sings Heavenly Music For The Lenten Season

Photo by Corene

“Our desire for beauty is our desire for the eternal,” says Ruth Moreland, founder of Copperleaf, a San Antonio vocal ensemble. The group performed a Lenten concert in the Chapel of the Incarnate Word on February 22. “To be in that moment, and in that place of beauty, and [singing] that music, I always think of it as being a glimpse of what’s to come.”

Copperleaf’s program included music by Cristóbal de Morales, and early Gregorian chant, but was largely made up of Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria’s “Lamentations of Jeremiah,” based on scriptures that chronicle the destruction of Jerusalem. “The Lenten season is a time of reflection, a time of turning back to God, and so these scriptures are used for that,” Moreland says.

Looking at the music, Moreland notes that Victoria matches the voices to the texts themselves. Higher treble voices are used when the texts refer to the sorrow of the city’s women, for example. For this performance, Copperleaf was joined by members of 8vo (Octavo), for a full eleven-voice vocal ensemble.

Hear an excerpt from the concert below (sung in Latin):

Lectio IX: Incipit Lamentato Ieremiae

“Remember, O Lord, what has befallen us; behold, and see our disgrace! Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers, our homes to aliens. We have become orphans, fatherless; our mothers are like widows.”

“We must pay for the water we drink, the wood we get must be bought. With a yoke on our necks we are hard driven; we are weary, we are given no rest.”  

Nathan has been with TPR since 1995, when he began working on classical music station KPAC 88.3 FM, as host of “Tuesday Night at the Opera.” He soon learned the ropes on KSTX 89.1 FM, and volunteered to work practically any shift that came his way, on either station. He worked in nearly every capacity on the radio before moving into Community Engagement, Marketing, and Digital Media. His reporting and criticism has been honored by the Houston Press Club and Texas Associated Press.