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Hildegard von Bingen: Celestial Hierarchy
     

Hildegard von Bingen: Celestial Hierarchy

by Sequentia
 
It is largely due to the work of the German ensemble Sequentia that the name and music of Hildegard of Bingen are popular today even among listeners with little background in medieval music. Sequentia moved on to experimental recordings of lesser-known chant repertories and such things as Icelandic sagas, but it has continued to record

Overview

It is largely due to the work of the German ensemble Sequentia that the name and music of Hildegard of Bingen are popular today even among listeners with little background in medieval music. Sequentia moved on to experimental recordings of lesser-known chant repertories and such things as Icelandic sagas, but it has continued to record Hildegard's music, and the present release marks the conclusion of the group's recordings of her complete works. This is a remarkable accomplishment by any standard, and the entire thing has been done both logically and convincingly. Sequentia's great gift has been its ability to put the great German nun's chants in context, to show that text and music united in her music as much as in that of any other great composer. The chants here begin with Mary, who for Hildegard was at the top of the celestial hierarchy of the title, but the program soon moves into a variety of other figures, including St. John the Evangelist, the Apostles, martyrs, and angels. Soon you are listening to each chant and where the soaring melismas come in relation to the text in order to divine its author's attitudes toward the figures involved, and as usual with Sequentia this is a much more effective device than a program that attempts to replicate liturgies of the time. It may be that the group of choristers on this album is a bit less smooth than on the very best Sequentia releases, but the group's virtues are fully intact after 35 years, and the Hildegard set as a whole is something to treasure.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/02/2013
Label:
Masterworks
UPC:
0887654686428
catalogNumber:
546864
Rank:
13741

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