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Open Access Publications from the University of California

L.O.S.T. for 16-part mixed choir a cappella

  • Author(s): Rosenberg, Jason Carl
  • Advisor(s): Reynolds, Roger
  • et al.

L.O.S.T. is a 25-minute composition scored for a 16-part unaccompanied mixed choir. Related to the Renaissance practice of the paraphrase mass, the work is a compositional response, and potential companion piece, to Lamentations of Jeremiah by Thomas Tallis. L.O.S.T. is designed such that Tallis' work can be interleaved with it in performance. Both pieces are shaped by the Hebrew Bible's penitential "Book of Lamentations," which chronicles an attempt to understand and cope with a devastating loss -- in particular, the sacking of Jerusalem. The book is divided into 5 chapters. Each chapter consists of 22 lines of text or a multiple thereof, whereby each line begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Likewise, the English language lyrics created for L.O.S.T. by the composer contain 22 lines, each beginning with a different letter of the English alphabet. The four letters omitted from the list are, in order: L, O, S, and T.

Relating to the five distinct poems that comprise the "Book of Lamentations", as well as the five florid, melismatic passages that punctuate Tallis' musical setting, L.O.S.T. is divided into five movements. Each movement of the piece outlines one of the five stages of grief as hypothesized by Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Within or against this emotional context for each movement of L.O.S.T., Tallis' melodic material is transformed and re-imagined, overtly and covertly, thereby creating a set of evocations, which in turn can interact with the text syntactically or abstractly.

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