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Project Hildegard #15

ave generosa

This lovely hymn is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, and therefore rather appropriate for assumption (August 15th). It is incomplete in the Dendermonde manuscript (which seems to be missing a page (or more?) between D155v and D156 – the manuscript jumps from the middle of ave generosa to part way through o virga ac diadema.)

So, although I usually follow the Dendermonde manuscript where possible, I have worked from the Riesencodex for this one. (The two manuscripts are very similar, but there are some differences.)

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Project Hildegard 14 (3)

o beata infantia – disibod’s canon

As a little extra, I have recorded the opening section of my previous piece as a canon for six voices.

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Project Hildegard #14 (2)

o beata infantia – for six voices

I decided to mix rhythmic and free passages for this one. I started by writing the second voice that accompanies the chant, picking out important words from the text to form a calm, sustained line and adding a third voice that sings the same words as the second voice, but as a kind of drone.

I then created the opening section by introducing some rhythm into the chant’s accompanying melody, and turning it into what is essentially a five-voice canon, with the sixth voice a rhythmic drone. However, the canon is sung only once before the chant comes in, which means that only the first voice gets to sing all six phrases; each subsequent voice has one phrase fewer. Also, only the melody is in canon – the voices all sing the same words at the same time.

This revisiting has been great fun to do, though I must admit it turned out not at all as expected (my original plan was to write a sort of lullaby).

I’ve begun to transcribe it. Here’s the first page:

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Project Hildegard #14

o beata infantia

Still on the Disibod theme, this antiphon celebrates his childhood – that brought forth the man so inspired by God.

I’ve chosen to sing it in a low register for a change. A soft approach – a lullaby for the little Disibod…

It’s in the Riesencodex, but not the Dendermonde, manuscript. I’ve dared to use an F# at the end, to avoid an augmented fourth. No idea (yet) whether this can be justified by the rest of the manuscript. I believe that it could well fit with the use of cadential ficta in other polyphonic music of around this time, though.

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Project Hildegard #13 (2)

o viriditas digiti dei – growth surrounds him

Disibod, the green finger of God. He stands alone, surrounded by the growth that he nurtures.

The rhythm in this one bubbled up like young shoots in the spring. Interspersed with three blocks that are like a prayer and surrounding a phrase that symbolises Disibod himself, who “stands far off like an exile.”

you greenness of god’s finger in which god established a plantation that shimmers on high like a pillar erected.

you are glorious in preparation for god.

you height of the mountain that will never be eroded in the judgement of god and yet you stand far off like an exile but it is not in the power of the armoured one to seize you.

you are glorious in preparation for god.

glory be to the father and to the son and to the holy spirit.

you are glorious in preparation for god.

This project is now on SoundCloud