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Project Hildegard continues…

Today is St. Rupert’s feast day, but sadly, despite my best efforts, my revisiting of o jerusalem is not yet ready. I shall be working on it this weekend, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I re-post another chant for St. Rupert that I revisited for voice with cello accompaniment about a year ago: o felix apparitio – with harmonics. Please forgive the rather basic recording quality. Listening back to it now, I realize that I have learnt quite a lot about the technological side of things during this project 🙂

#hildegardvonbingen #chantrevisited #ilovemycello

Project Hildegard #34

Here is a lengthy, but rather wonderful, sequence in honour of one of Hildegard’s favourite saints: St. Rupert. I post it today, in the hopes that by the time his feast day comes along (May 15) I may have managed to revisit it…

This chant is incomplete in the Dendermonde facsimile – there seems to be another page missing, this time between D164v and D165. (See my post about ave generosa and about o virga ac diadema, which are also incomplete in the Dendermonde facsimile because of a missing page.)

Just as an amusing little “by the way,” it tickled me to work on this chant, as it reminded me of a job I did for the artist Tino Sehgal back in the autumn of 2011. I was one of the singers detailed to pop out and sing “This is propaganda, you know” as part of an exhibition at the Argos Centre in Brussels. And the melody we used began like this chant! It took me a while to realize why it was so familiar 🙂

o jerusalem

#hildegardvonbingen #chant #facsimile

O jerusalem, city of gold, adorned with royal purple, building of utmost bounty, whose light is never darkened, you are adorned by the dawn, and in the sun’s heat. O blessed childhood, glowing red in the dawn, and o admirable youth, burning in sunlight. For you, noble Rupert, glitter like a gem, so you cannot be hidden by stupid men, like the valley cannot hide the mountain. Your windows, jerusalem, are specially decorated with topaz and sapphire. For your brightness, o Rupert, cannot be hidden by the tepid ways of man, like the valley cannot hide the mountain – crowned with roses, lilies and purple, in a true vision. Tender flower of the field, and sweet green of the apple, and without a bitter core, not bending your breast to crime! Noble vessel, neither polluted or devoured by the dance in the ancient cave, nor destroyed by the wounds of the ancient enemy: The Holy Spirit makes music in you, who belong to the chorus of angels, since in the son of God you are made beautiful, having no flaw. What a glorious vessel you are, o Rupert, you who in your childhood and youth gasped for God, in fear of God, in the embrace of love, and in the sweetest fragrance of good works. O jerusalem, your foundations are set with burning stones, that is, publicans and sinners: they are lost sheep, unless found through the Son of God, they run towards you and are placed in you. Thus your walls flash with living stones which, through an utmost study of good will, flew like clouds in the heavens. And so your towers, o jerusalem, glow red and shine through the glow and brilliance of the saints and all that God made beautiful, you lack nothing, o jerusalem. As you, adorned and beautiful, who live in Jerusalem, and you, o Rupert, who are their companion in this place, help us, the family that labours in exile.

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This project is now on SoundCloud

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!