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Project Hildegard #43

As we approach a cluster of Marian feasts, my next chant in this series is a particularly beautiful responsory dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Stay tuned to see what polyphonic setting it inspires me to create 🙂

o quam preciosa

For anyone following the manuscript while listening, there are a few interesting features that require a short explanation (NB this chant is only in the Riesencodex, not in the Dendermonde manuscript, so comparison is not possible). Firstly, there is a flat sign during the word “habet”. I have chosen to interpret this as a B flat, written (admittedly unusually) under the note, rather than an E flat written to the side of the note. My reason is that I have yet to find an E being flattened in any other chant. Let me know if you have any thoughts on this!

Secondly, the two words “filius ipsius” have a “b” and “a” above them respectively. I have taken this to be an indication by the scribe that they were mistakenly written down in the wrong order, and I have therefore followed the lead of the Beuroner Kunstverlag modern edition and switched the words around.

And lastly, you will see that I have substituted “ventris” for “mentis” – again following the Beuroner Kunstverlag – as this seems much more likely given the meaning.

R: O how precious is the virginity of the virgin, whose door is closed and whose insides the holy divinity infused with its heat so that the flower grew within her. And the son of god came forth from her secret parts like the dawn.

V: And thus the sweet germ that is her son through her closed belly opened paradise.

And the son of god came forth from her secret parts like the dawn.

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