Hildegard von Bingen: Celestial Harmonies

Hildegard von Bingen: Celestial Harmonies

4.0 1
by Oxford Camerata
     
 

Since the rediscovery of the remarkable twelfth century polymath Hildegard of Bingen -- poet, composer, artist, theologian, visionary, confidante of rulers and Popes -- her music has appeared on disc in a remarkably broad variety of interpretations, from those most sensitive to period performance practice to reconstructions that probably would have been unrecognizable… See more details below

Overview

Since the rediscovery of the remarkable twelfth century polymath Hildegard of Bingen -- poet, composer, artist, theologian, visionary, confidante of rulers and Popes -- her music has appeared on disc in a remarkably broad variety of interpretations, from those most sensitive to period performance practice to reconstructions that probably would have been unrecognizable to the composer. Her music has such strength, communicativeness, and universality that it retains its power even in some of the most unusual contemporary realizations. These performances by the Oxford Camerata, conducted by Jeremy Summerly, however, fall at the most austere end of the spectrum and apply the performance practices of cloistered plainsong to Hildegard's music. It's a valid approach that provides a bracingly plain version of the music, which in the absence of more detail in Hildegard's notation may or may not be "authentic," a quality that will forever be the subject of speculation. The philosophy of "when in doubt, do no harm," results in performances that follow the traditional liturgical convention of a solo voice being followed by a unison choir. Even in this plainest of presentations, with no drones, harmonies, or instrumental accompaniment, the eccentricity and originality of Hildegard's compositional voice is irrepressibly evident in most of these antiphons and responsories. Unconventional linear motion, such as melodies that rise from the root to the fifth to the octave, marks Hildegard as a true original; she is one of the earliest composers to have an easily recognizable "style." (Several selections, though, such as "O successores," seem uncharacteristically conventional for the composer.) The singing is very straight and pure, and may seem bloodless to listeners accustomed to more expressive interpretations that allow the music to more directly evoke the ecstatic imagery of her poetry. For anyone interested in the most conservative interpretation of Hildegard's music, this CD should be of interest.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Vivien Schweitzer
The excerpts are excellently sung here, with elegantly shaped phrasing and subtly nuanced inflections.... The singers reflect both the music’s sensuality and its spirituality. The women in particular are notable for their well-blended sound and pure voices, which soar rapturously but with appropriate decorum.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/27/2008
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313298327
catalogNumber:
8557983
Rank:
225372

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. O cohors milite floris, antiphon for the apostles  - Hildegard von Bingen  -  Oxford Camerata  - Jeremy Summerly  - Jeremy Summerly
  2. O successores fortissimi, antiphon to the confessors  - Hildegard von Bingen  -  Oxford Camerata  - Jeremy Summerly  - Jeremy Summerly
  3. O vos imitatores excelse, response for the confessors  - Hildegard von Bingen  -  Oxford Camerata  - Jeremy Summerly  - Jeremy Summerly
  4. O dulcis electe, response for St John the Evangelist  - Hildegard von Bingen  -  Oxford Camerata  - Jeremy Summerly  - Jeremy Summerly
  5. O victoriosissimi, antiphon for the martyrs  - Hildegard von Bingen  -  Oxford Camerata  - Jeremy Summerly  - Jeremy Summerly
  6. O cruor sanguinis, antiphon  - Hildegard von Bingen  -  Oxford Camerata  - Jeremy Summerly  - Jeremy Summerly
  7. O vis eternitatis, response  - Hildegard von Bingen  -  Oxford Camerata  - Jeremy Summerly  - Jeremy Summerly
  8. O splendissima, antiphon  - Hildegard von Bingen  -  Oxford Camerata  - Jeremy Summerly  - Jeremy Summerly

Read More

Album Credits

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >