Hildegard von Bingen: Femina forma Maria

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Profil's album of the music of Hildegard von Bingen includes 12 songs in honor of Mary taken from the Dendermonde Codex, a manuscript prepared under Hildegard's supervision that contains 58 of her 77 liturgical compositons. The music of the codex is notated as monophonic melodies, and Ensemble Mediatrix, led by Johannes Berchmans Göschl, performs the antiphons, responsoria, hymns, and sequences just as written. The subject of historically informed performance practice as it relates to the music of Hildegard is fraught with contradictory opinions. Because of lack of detail in the manuscripts, it is based largely on speculation, but it is further complicated by the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Eddins
Profil's album of the music of Hildegard von Bingen includes 12 songs in honor of Mary taken from the Dendermonde Codex, a manuscript prepared under Hildegard's supervision that contains 58 of her 77 liturgical compositons. The music of the codex is notated as monophonic melodies, and Ensemble Mediatrix, led by Johannes Berchmans Göschl, performs the antiphons, responsoria, hymns, and sequences just as written. The subject of historically informed performance practice as it relates to the music of Hildegard is fraught with contradictory opinions. Because of lack of detail in the manuscripts, it is based largely on speculation, but it is further complicated by the scrupulously documented details of the composer's colorful personality. Hildegard's flouting of traditional thinking in practically every aspect of her life, including the disregard of modal and melodic conventions in her wildly original music, certainly leaves open the door to the possibility that her own performances did not conform to standard liturgical practices of her time. Some modern interpreters have made persuasive cases for the use of instrumental accompaniment, heightened expressiveness, and even ornamentation. For listeners who want their Hildegard straight, this recording should be satisfying. The unison women's chorus is unaccompanied and sings within a circumspect expressive and dynamic range. The only real liberty they take is assigning some sections to solo voices. The vocal sound is pure, unmannered, and chaste, and sounds not unlike performances of traditional plainsong; it may have been the performers' purpose to provide an antidote to the genuinely off-the-wall Hildegard interpretations that are all too abundant. Their restraint, though, at points where Hildegard's eccentric melodies seem to want to soar off into ecstatic flight dampens what appears to be her musical and theological intentions. So while the album is undeniably lovely, in its reserve it perhaps errs too far on the side of caution to give a full picture of just how original a thinker Hildegard was. The sound is clean and nicely ambient.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/25/2010
  • Label: Profil - G Haenssler
  • UPC: 881488100112
  • Catalog Number: 10011
  • Sales rank: 361,389

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 O tu suavissima, response - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (8:49)
  2. 2 O virga ac diadema, sequence - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (6:44)
  3. 3 Ave generosa, hymn - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (4:58)
  4. 4 O quam magnum miraculum, antiphon - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (3:26)
  5. 5 O frondens virga, antiphon - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (1:31)
  6. 6 Cum erubuerint, antiphon - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (1:48)
  7. 7 Cum processit, antiphon - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (2:31)
  8. 8 Quia ergo femina, antiphon - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (1:54)
  9. 9 Hodie aperuit nobis (Nunc aperuit nobis), antiphon - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (1:49)
  10. 10 O splendissima, antiphon - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (4:22)
  11. 11 O clarissima mater, response - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (9:11)
  12. 12 Ave Maria, O auctrix, response - Hildegard von Bingen & Ensemble Mediatrix (8:08)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ensemble Mediatrix Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Hildegard von Bingen, Marian Songs, Ensemble Mediatrix, feminea forma maria

    This latest addition to the list of CDs offering the music of Hildegard von Bingen is on the Profil label from the German Haenssler company.
    Compared with most other CDs offering music by Hildegard von Bingen, there are several negative aspects to this disk. The program notes give only the Latin titles (with no English translations) of the twelve works performed. There is no information about the composer: when she was born; when she died; in which country she lived; what her position was in society, etc. There is no information on the music. What are the Marienlieder (Marian Songs)? What is the Dendermonde Codex (Villarenser Kodex)? What is an Antiphon? What is a Responsorium? What constitutes a Sequenz? No information is given on the performing ensemble, the Ensemble Mediatrix. I had to search the web for some answers. Ensemble Mediatrix is a group of eleven professional women. Much information about the composer is available from the Hildegard Society, which has its own website (http://www.hildegard-society.org/). See also: <http://www.hildegard-society.org/faq.html>. However, buyers of this CD who have no computer will learn virtually nothing from the sleeve-notes about the composer, her music, or the performing group.
    To add to the list of complaints, the playing time of 55:19 is stingy, and the printed-material proofreader did a poor job: on the front is printed "Femina forma Maria"; on the back is printed "Feminea forma Maria."
    On the plus side, all of the tracks except "Ave generosa" appear to be new to CD. The ensemble performs suberbly, and the recording quality is outstanding, with good ambiance. It is, however, so closely miked that one can hear the singers breathe in, which I find slightly distracting. For those wishing to add to their collection of this composer's music, this is a valuable CD, but it is not a good one with which to start one's collection.
    Ted Wilks

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