Hildegard von Bingen has the magical ability to reach out and speak to us across the centuries. An avant-garde visionary of her day, the depth and range of her music lends itself to modern re-imaginings. Sequentiae Hildegardenses was written over a period of 12 years in a special collaboration between the composer Hugh Collins Rice and the medieval ensemble Mediva. Collins Rice, who has often been drawn to the ideas and techniques of early music, was inspired by Mediva s medieval instruments and developed a musical language for Sequentiae Hildegardenses which remains authentic and expressive in a 21st-century context, whilst also illuminating the 12th-century music of Hildegard. His music references the serene world of Hildegard's own compositions, but also reflects the darker strands in her writings.
The music of the 12th century poet and composer Hildegard von Bingen continues to exert a spell on the modern imagination, and not just among those who are (rightly) eager to seize on her as an early feminist icon. The chant melodies, rendered here with heartfelt elegance by the women’s chorus Vajra Voices under the direction of Karen R. Clark, are striking in both their shapeliness and the spiritual fervor that runs through them. To a modern listener, accustomed to hearing melodic lines combined in contrapuntal mesh or harmonic byplay, the spareness of these textures - even with the deft accompaniment of Shira Kammen on the vielle (a bowed string instrument) and medieval harp - can make them seem attenuated. But listen more closely, and Hildegard’s careful attentiveness to the liturgical texts, with all their implications, becomes ever more affecting.
I have a lot of Hildegard in my collection this cd would have to be the most satisfying offering on the market. It combines a mixture of female and male voices and instrumentals, all executed with artistic ingenuity and subtlety. Forget Sequentia, Synfonie, Oxford Camerata….the Ensemble fur fruhe musick augsburg knows how to interpret Hildegard the best. Their earlier foray "Hildegard und Ihre Zeit" was only a taste of what was to come. You can't go wrong in buying this cd.' Highly recommended.
The Rhine turned crimson when the royal princess Ursula and her eleven thousand companions were slaughtered by the Huns. Many centuries later, Hildegard of Bingen composed a plainchant office in Ursula’s honour and sent a copy to the Abbey of Villers. The singers of Psallentes♀ sing from this famous manuscript (now housed in Dendermonde).
In my copy’s booklet, there’s a translation botch by which the German “alle Stücke, die aus handschriftlichen Ausgaben musiziert werden, basieren auf direkten Konsultationen mit Wiesbaden MS, eingerichtet von Barbara Thornton” becomes “All pieces performed from diplomatic editions based on direct consultation with Wiesbaden Ms, prepared by Barbara Thornton”. How did “diplomacy” get involved with that, I don’t know. No, I take that back, I do know: it's probably "diplomatic" in the now rare sense of "related to diplomatics" (not diplomacy), which are "the science of deciphering old official documents, as charters, and of determining their authenticity, age, or the like".
Meeting between heaven and earth, between a singular woman, mystic, scientist, musician, living in the Rhineland at the beginning of the first crusade, and a contemporary Lebanese composer. Where the music and poems of the abbess of the twelfth century, famous for its ecstatic visions, rises to melt in that of Moultaka to a gradual descent into hell. Between archaism and modernity, Gregorian and old modes, the sound universe, by the games of echoes and resonances, takes on a strange modernity and questions our contemporary world, its blackness, its violence, its fragility. All of Caelis, directed by Laurence Brisset, has specialized in the ancient repertoire and has been opening its programs for today's composers for several years.
Sequentia’s Hildegard von Bingen Project: Initially in collaboration with the West German Radio Cologne (WDR Köln) Sequentia made a series of recordings of the complete works of Germany’s most important medieval composer, the abbess and visionary Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179). After recording the music drama, Ordo Virtutum, Sequentia went on to make a first recording of the abbess’s symphoniae, spiritual songs which were probably sung in the liturgy of her convent on the Rupertsberg in the late 12th century. A group of nine female vocalists under Barbara Thornton’s direction is complemented by five instrumentalists in this recording made over a period of a year, in two different medieval German churches.
This first of four volumes of The Complete Hildegard von Bingen collection introduces listeners to a remarkable woman ahead of her time. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) was born the tenth child to a noble family and was dedicated at birth to the church. At age three she began to have visions of luminous objects, but soon realized she was unique in this ability and kept these visions secret for many years. Hildegard's religious education, which began at the age of eight, consisted of an ascetic life of prayer and contemplation. At a time when few women were accorded respect, she lived to become a highly respected writer, poet, composer and visionary sought after for her counsel by bishops, popes and kings.