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Project Hildegard #33 (2)

This is the last in my six-voice a cappella series written specially for the medieval/contemporary female vocal ensemble La Noeva. It’s a celebration of life.

spiritus sanctus – glorious life

#hildegardvonbingen #chantrevisited #acappella #lanoeva

Holy spirit, life that gives life and moves all things and is the root of every creature and purifies all impurity wiping away sins and anointing wounds and thus is this the glorious and admirable life that awakens and revives all things.

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This project is now on SoundCloud

Project Hildegard #33

Here is spiritus sanctus, an antiphon for the holy spirit. It is destined soon to be revisited by me as the last in my six-voice a cappella series written specially for the medieval/contemporary female vocal ensemble La Noeva. I will keep you posted!

spiritus sanctus

#hildegardvonbingen #chant #facsimile

Holy spirit, life that gives life and moves all things and is the root of every creature and purifies all impurity wiping away sins and anointing wounds and thus is this the glorious and admirable life that awakens and revives all things.

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This project is now on SoundCloud

Project Hildegard – One Year Anniversary!

Today is the one year anniversary of my Project Hildegard – a project to record and revisit all 77 liturgical chants written by the late, great, Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179).

My very first home recording was made on March 18th, 2020 and yesterday I posted my 32nd setting in the series. I began the project (aka my “Covid-19 Basement Tapes”) as a way to survive lockdown. I’m so happy I did.

When I look back over the project, I realize with gratitude how much I’ve learnt:

  • about Hildegard and her music and the two twelfth century manuscripts that remain;
  • about my own interpretation of this wonderful music and how I like to sing it;
  • about composing music, and about how to combine new ideas with Hildegard’s chants in a way that enhances them and doesn’t get in the way;
  • about the complicated world of home recording and the various challenges it brings with it!

If you’re interested by this project, you will find all my recordings here. You can also listen via SoundCloud. Thank you so much for your support!

Project Hildegard #32 (2)

Here is my setting of Hildegard’s hymn for Saint Mathias (aka “the giant”). Perhaps appropriately, this is rather a giant piece, with over eight minutes of chant. Writing a supportive and interesting accompaniment was a challenge – largely because some of my ideas got in the way of the chant and made it too busy. I was forced to “kill some of my darlings”! And I would like to thank James, and, in particular, Francis, for helping me to see the wood when I was caught up in the trees.

One nice little detail: if you listen carefully, you can hear the angel falling around minute 1:40 :-).

mathias sanctus – like a giant

Mathias, holy by selection, a man, champion in victory, who was not elected before the blood of the lamb, he was tardy in his knowledge – like a man not quite awake. The gift of god excited him, so that he rose up for joy, like a giant in his strength, and god foresaw it, as he had foreseen how man, formed of clay, who denied god, fell – like the first angel. Man, who saw choice, alas, alas, he fell, he turned his face away from the oxen and rams that he had and abandoned them. And so he entered the pit of coal and kissing his desires in his ardour raised them up like olympians. Then mathias, divinely chosen, rose up like a giant, because god put him in the place that fallen man had rejected, o wonderful miracle, that shone in him. And so, god foresaw him in his miracles, although he had not yet the merit of works, but the mystery of god had joy in him, joy, that at its conception, it did not have. O joy of joys that god works in this way, when unknowing man spends his grace, and the child does not know where the adult flies, the child is carried by the wings of god. And so, god loves he who knows him not, because his voice calls out for god, just as mathias did, saying: o god, o my god, you who created me, all my works are yours. And so all the church has joy in mathias, who was chosen by god in the dove’s nest. Amen.

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This project is now on SoundCloud

Project Hildegard #32

Between the drilling and the banging of next door’s renovation project and the clicks and buzzes of my imperfect recording set-up, I post a hymn for Saint Matthias. Until 1969, the feast day of Saint Matthias was today – February 24th (it was then moved to May 14th so as not to fall within Lent).

Saint Matthias, like many of the saints honoured by Hildegard, has a connection to Trier: some of his remains reside there, at the Abbey of Saint Matthias.

mathias sanctus per electionem

#hildegardvonbingen #chant #facsimile

Mathias, holy by selection, a man, champion in victory, who was not elected before the blood of the lamb, he was tardy in his knowledge – like a man not quite awake. The gift of god excited him, so that he rose up for joy, like a giant in his strength, and god foresaw it, as he had foreseen how man, formed of clay, who denied god, fell – like the first angel. Man, who saw choice, alas, alas, he fell, he turned his face away from the oxen and rams that he had and abandoned them. And so he entered the pit of coal and kissing his desires in his ardour raised them up like olympians. Then mathias, divinely chosen, rose up like a giant, because god put him in the place that fallen man had rejected, o wonderful miracle, that shone in him. And so, god foresaw him in his miracles, although he had not yet the merit of works, but the mystery of god had joy in him, joy, that at its conception, it did not have. O joy of joys that god works in this way, when unknowing man spends his grace, and the child does not know where the adult flies, the child is carried by the wings of god. And so, god loves he who knows him not, because his voice calls out for god, just as mathias did, saying: o god, o my god, you who created me, all my works are yours. And so all the church has joy in mathias, who was chosen by god in the dove’s nest. Amen.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is soundcloud-logo.png
This project is now on SoundCloud