Typically 27 minutes in duration, the first movement equals the combined length of the second and third movements, and is based on a late-15th century lament of Mary from the Lysagora Songs collection of the Holy Cross Monastery in the Swietokrzyskie Mountains. Comprising three thematic sections, the movement opens with a canon in ten parts using a 24-bar melody in the Aeolian mode on E. It begins with double basses, and each succeeding entry occurs one measure later (i.e., a new entry begins every 25 measures), starting a fifth above the last. After the canon reaches a full 10 parts, it works its way back to a single pitch. The soprano enters in the second section and builds to a climax on the final word, at which point the strings enter forcefully with the climax of the opening canon. The third section of the movement (Lento—Cantabile semplice) is a long dénouement that also winds down to a single pitch.