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“Winter” – a concert experience

This weekend, my good friend and colleague Jos Somsen and I will be performing our “Winter Experience” concert twice in the Netherlands. Candlemas – a time to celebrate the return of the light after a winter of darkness with music by Hildegard von Bingen (both “pure” and in my arrangements), Yiddish songs, beautiful images of nature, special texts, and communal rituals (lots of candles!)

Join us in one of these two magical places:

And if you’re curious, here’s a snippet from last year’s event in Huissen (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNFWQOo-JEo).

Project Hildegard #45

#45 is an antiphon to God the father. This chant will feature in Ut Sol‘s upcoming concerts in the Netherlands on February 2 and 3. See here for more details.

o magne pater

O great father, we are in great need. Therefore we now beg you, we beg you through your word, by which you made us, and that fills us with everything that we need: now may it please you, Father, for it suits you, to regard us through your help, so that we do not fail and that your name does not grow dark in us; and deign, through your own name, to help us.

This project is now on SoundCloud

Project Hildegard #27(3)

I have revised my revisiting of alleluia – o virga mediatrix. Here’s the new version:

alleluia – o sweet illumination

alleluia o branch and mediator your holy body has overcome death and your belly has illuminated every creature in the beautiful flower that rises from the sweet wholeness of your sealed chastity

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This project is now on SoundCloud

Project Hildegard #44(2)

I have finally finished my revisiting of o presul vere civitatis, a sequence in honour of Saint Disibod. Sequences are long chants (this one is made up of 12 melodically-paired sections) and they would have been sung just before the Gospel, as part of the Eucharist. I presume that this one would have been sung on Saint Disibod’s feast day.

The chant is a poetic ode to Saint Disibod. It’s like a ballad, and I have chosen to accompany most of it with a gentle (and at the end quite funky!) rhythm in the cellos, as it tells its story.

o presul – the smoke of spices

O Bishop of the true city, who, mounting heavenward on the temple of the cornerstone, were laid low on earth for the sake of God. You, an alien from the race of this world, longed to become an exile for the love of Christ.

O mountain of the mind enclosed, you continually revealed your beauty’s aspect in the mirror of the dove. In the secret place you hid, drunk with the scent of flowers, through the trellis of the saints glinting towards God.

O summit among heaven’s keystones, that for the sake of transparent life sold the world, this contest, gracious confessor, is with you forever in the Lord. For in your mind the living spring with its most radiant light brought forth the purest rivulets on the path of salvation.

You are a great tower before the altar of the highest God, and to the summit of this tower you gave shade with the smoke of spices. O Disibod, in your brightness, through images of pure sound, wondrously, you built the limbs of praise, two-part music, through the Son of Man.

You stand on high, not blushing before the living God, and with green dew you protect those praising God with this song. O gentle life and blessed perseverance, which in this blessed Disibod always built the most glorious brightness in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Now praise be to God, and in the form of that priestly beauty, as he toils manfully. Let heaven’s citizens rejoice because of those who imitate them in this way.

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This project is now on SoundCloud

Project Hildegard #44

Here is a sequence in honour of Saint Disibod, whose Saint’s day is coming up on July 8th. Disibod had a special significance for Hildegard and this is one of five chants that she dedicated to him.

The sequence is made up of 12 melodically paired sections. I’m looking forward to revisiting it.

o presul vere civitatis

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This project is on SoundCloud

O Bishop of the true city, who, mounting heavenward on the temple of the cornerstone, were laid low on earth for the sake of God.

You, an alien from the race of this world, longed to become an exile for the love of Christ.

O mountain of the mind enclosed, you continually revealed your beauty’s aspect in the mirror of the dove.

In the secret place you hid, drunk with the scent of flowers, through the trellis of the saints glinting towards God.

O summit among heaven’s keystones, that for the sake of transparent life sold the world, this contest, gracious confessor, is with you forever in the Lord.

For in your mind the living spring with its most radiant light brought forth the purest rivulets on the path of salvation.

You are a great tower before the altar of the highest God, and to the summit of this tower you gave shade with the smoke of spices.

O Disibod, in your brightness, through images of pure sound, wondrously, you built the limbs of praise, two-part music, through the Son of Man.

You stand on high, not blushing before the living God, and with green dew you protect those praising God with this song.

O gentle life and blessed perseverance, which in this blessed Disibod always built the most glorious brightness in the heavenly Jerusalem.

Now praise be to God, and in the form of that priestly beauty, as he toils manfully.

Let heaven’s citizens rejoice because of those who imitate them in this way.