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Tarik O'Regan

Publisher: Novello & Co

Lamentation (2005)
Commissioned by YL Ylioppilaskunnan Laulajat
Text Writer
Peter Abelard (1079-1142)
Novello & Co Ltd
Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
6 Minutes
Unavailable Explain this...
Programme Note
Tarik O'Regan Lamentation (2005)
Commissioned by Matti Hyökki and the YL Helsinki Male Voice Choir, Lamentation uses extracts from one of six laments by Peter Abelard (1079 – 1142) which were found in a manuscript that was only discovered in 1830 in the Vatican.

Helen Waddell, in the accompanying notes to her translation of the text, suggests that in this searing meditation on one of the most controversial and multi-faceted Biblical passages (II Samuel 1:17-27), ‘Abelard’s passion, that never escaped in his strange, remote letters to Heloise, for once awakes and cries’.

Although written with particular reference to David, slayer of Goliath, and Jonathan, son of King Saul, it is the ecumenical sentiment of loss felt by persons of any faith or none that pervades Abelard’s beautiful Latin text and, indeed, my rendering of his words.

Tarik O’Regan
New York, August 2005



Vel confossus pariter
morirer feliciter
cum, quid amor faciat,
maius hoc non habeat,
et me post te vivere
mori sit assidue,
nec ad vitam anima
satis sit dimidia.

Vicem amicitiae
vel unam me reddere,
oportebat tempore
summae tunc angustiae,
triumphi participem
vel ruinae comitem,
ut te vel eriperem
vel tecum occumberem,
vitam pro te finiens
quam salvasti totiens,
ut et mors nos iungeret
magis quam disiungeret.

Do quietem fidibus:
vellem, ut et planctibus
sic possem et fletibus:
laesis pulsu manibus,
raucis planctu vocibus
deficit et spiritus.

David’s Lament for Jonathan

Low in thy grave with thee
Happy to lie,
Since there's no greater thing left Love to do;
And to live after thee
Is but to die,
For with but half a soul what can Life do?

So share thy victory,
Or else thy grave,
Either to rescue thee,
or with thee lie:
Ending that life for thee,
That thou didst save,
So Death that sundereth might bring more nigh.

Peace, O my stricken lute!
Thy strings are sleeping.
Would that my heart could still
Its bitter weeping!

Peter Abelard (1079 – 1142); extracted from Planctus David super Saul et Jonathan
Translation by Helen Waddell (1889 - 1965); from Medieval Latin Lyrics (Constable & Co.: London, 1948), pp. 169 – 169.

  • Ensemble
    YL Helsinki Male Voice Choir
    Wolfgang Czeipak
  • 18 NOV 2006
    Lamentation World Premiere
    St Pancras Church, London
    YL Helsinki Male Voice Choir
    Matti Hyökki, conductor

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