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Project Hildegard #37(2)

Here is o orzchis ecclesia – the shining jewel, my latest revisited chant.

#hildegardvonbingen #linguaignota #chantrevisited

For more about this project visit www.penelopeturner.com/project-hildegard/ or listen on my Soundcloud account to all the chants so far revisited.

The text of this interesting antiphon includes five of Hildegard’s own made-up words from her Lingua Ignota. For my setting I have included a further nine of her words: curizan [jewelry settings], gragischon [bracelet], naczuon [necklace], naurizin [ring], oiralbruin [earrings], crizia [church], loiffol [people], scurinz [flame] and orschibuz [oak tree].

o orzchis [vast] Church, shielded with divine might and adorned with jacinth [curizan, naczuon, naurizin, gragischon, oiralbruin]: you are caldemia [the scent] of the stigmata of the loifolum [peoples] and a city of knowledge [crizia, orschibuz, loiffol, scurinz]. O, o, you are indeed crizanta [anointed] in the lofty sound; you are a chorzta [shining] jewel.

Project Hildegard #37

This is a very interesting little antiphon – not so such much for its subject matter or musical line (though this is as beautiful as usual!), but because the text includes five of Hildegard’s own made-up words from her Lingua Ignota (bolded in the translation below).

o orzchis ecclesia

#hildegardvonbingen #chant #facsimile

For more about this project visit www.penelopeturner.com/project-hildegard/ or listen on my Soundcloud account to all the chants so far revisited.

o orzchis [vast] Church, shielded with divine might and adorned with jacinth: you are caldemia [the scent] of the stigmata of the loifolum [peoples] and a city of knowledge. O, o, you are indeed crizanta [anointed] in the lofty sound; you are a chorzta [shining] jewel.

A first review of Hildegard Revisited!

On Saturday December 18, 2021, La Noeva sang in concert as part of the Printemps musicale de Silly in Belgium. The first part of the programme featured six pieces from my project Hildegard Revisited – works that were written specially for the voices of La Noeva. It was the first time that these six pieces have been performed all together, and it was a very intense and moving moment for me 🙂

At the concert was Stéphane Dado, directeur artistique adjoint at Les Nuits de Septembre, Festival de Wallonie, Belgium. I am so proud to share his generous review of my musical babies (English translation below):

“Une soirée hors du temps ce samedi dans la belle église de Silly en compagnie des six chanteuses de La Noeva. Créé par Marie-Caroline Lefin, l’ensemble proposait un programme en deux parties : des Noëls, essentiellement anglais du XIIIe au XVIe siècle, d’un côté, période de l’Avent oblige, et surtout l’« Hildegard Project » de Penelope Turner, une des chanteuses du groupe, qui s’est emparée des monodies envoûtantes d’Hildegard von Bingen afin de leur offrir un écrin polyphonique des plus somptueux. Né durant le premier confinement comme un moyen de survie psychologique face au vide culturel qui a suivi le début de la pandémie, ce projet revisitera sur le long terme les 77 chants liturgiques écrits par la grande Hildegard au XIIe siècle.

Les six pièces proposées à Silly permettent déjà d’avancer que cette réalisation est une totale réussite. Avec un talent consommé, Penelope, qui maîtrise de l’intérieur toutes les inflexions de cette musique, superpose sur chaque mélodie originelle un tissu raffiné d’harmonies délicates qui respectent scrupuleusement le matériau médiéval, qui en renforcent la puissance émotionnelle et le caractère capiteux, au point peut-être de rendre cette esthétique mystique de plus de 750 ans plus accessible pour le grand public !

Si la compositrice d’aujourd’hui a l’humilité de s’effacer et de se fondre dans la musique de son illustre prédécesseur, elle n’en offre pas moins une création originale aux sonorités inscrites dans la modernité du XXIe siècle. Rien ne heurte jamais l’oreille, rien n’est stylistiquement contre-nature, chaque pièce jouit aussi d’un « habillage » personnalisé, il n’y a pas de systématisation procédurière dans ce travail d’écriture de sorte que l’eau du fleuve hildegardien est toujours la même mais n’est jamais la même, un véritable trait de génie au regard d’un répertoire aussi iconique et intouchable.”

A timeless evening this Saturday in the beautiful church of Silly, in the company of the six singers of La Noeva. Created by Marie-Caroline Lefin, the ensemble performed a programme in two parts: suitably Christmassy pieces for Advent on the one hand (notably English works from the 13th to 16th centuries), and, above all, the “Hildegard Project” by one of the group’s singers, Penelope Turner, who has taken the bewitching monodies of Hildegard von Bingen and offered them a most sumptuous polyphonic setting. Born of the first Covid confinement, as a means of psychological survival in the face of the cultural void that followed the start of the pandemic, the long-term objective of this project is to revisit all 77 liturgical chants written by the great Hildegard in the 12th century.

The six pieces performed in Silly already show that this achievement is a total success. With consummate talent, Penelope, who thoroughly masters all the inflections of this music, superimposes onto each original melody a refined fabric of delicate harmonies, which scrupulously respect the medieval material and reinforce its emotional power and exuberant character, to the point perhaps of making this mystical aesthetic that is more than 750 years old more accessible to the general public!

While today’s composer has the humility to step aside and blend in with the music of her illustrious predecessor, she nonetheless offers an original creation with sounds embedded in the modernity of the 21st century. Nothing ever jars the ear, nothing is stylistically unnatural, the polyphonic flow runs naturally in a shimmer of seemingly simple yet elaborate harmonies. Each piece also benefits from a personalized “dressing” – there is no procedural systematization in these compositions such that the water of the Hildegardian river is always the same but is never the same – a real stroke of genius for such an iconic and untouchable repertoire.”

For more about this project visit www.penelopeturner.com/project-hildegard/ or listen on my Soundcloud account to all the chants so far revisited.

Merry Christmas…

and a Happy New Year!

Project Hildegard #1 (7)

O pastor was the very first chant that I recorded, back in March 2020 when this project kicked off at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. Listening back to my first revisitings, I realize how far I have come and how much I have learnt. There is still room for me to grow and improve, though – which is lucky, as I am only just under halfway through the 77 chants!

My specific aim in recording a new version of o pastor was to create a piece for two voices, cello and drum, to be performed live with my talented colleague Jos Somsen as part or our first programme in a new series of concerts inspired by the seasons, spirituality and ritual. The première is planned for February 2022 – more info anon.

In the meantime, here is my home-recorded version:

o pastor – the herder of souls

#hildegardvonbingen #chantrevisited #ilovemycello

o herder of souls, o first voice by which we were all created: may you now be willing to release us from our miseries and our frailties.

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This project is now on SoundCloud