Today’s piece is, I think, one of the most beautiful and grief-stricken pieces of music ever written. The text is from 2 Samuel 18, and it is about King David mourning the death of his son, Absalom. The ‘O, my son’ in the upper lines sounds like keening, and the ‘Would God I had died for thee’ is absolutely wrenching. I don’t know much about Tomkins’ life, other than that he was a friend and contemporary of my good mate Orlando Gibbons, but I do wonder if he was mourning a personal loss when he was writing this.
May all who are grieving at this time be comforted.
P.S. – If you are in the mood for more grief-stricken music after this, YouTube then recommended ‘Hear My Prayer, O Lord‘, by Purcell, which is also pretty amazing.