Copperleaf Sings Heavenly Music For The Lenten Season
“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.”