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O Tu Suavissima Virga from Sequentia's "Canticles of Ecstacy" CD. Music by Hildegard von Bingen [1098 - 1179], performed by Sequentia.
Sequentia - Hildegard Von Bingen: The Complete Edition (2017)
Title: Hildegard Von Bingen: The Complete Edition
Year Of Release: 2017
Label: Sony Classical / Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
Quality: FLAC (image + .cue, log, artwork)
Total Time: 9:09:23
Total Size: 2.16 GB
WebSite: Album Preview
1-1 O Magne Pater (Antiphon To God The Father, Fol. 466) 3:05
1-2 O Bonifaci (Antiphon To St. Boniface, Fol. 475r) 2:46
1-3 O Mirum Admirandum (Antiphon To St. Disibod, Fol. 470) / Domine Est Terra (Psalm 24) 7:52
1-4 Instrumental Piece 7:27
1-5 O Viriditas Digiti Dei (Responsory To St. Disibod, Fol. 470v) 5:51
1-6 O Beata Infantia (Antiphon To St. Disibod, Fol. 470v) / Domine, Dominus Noster (Psalm 8) 5:55
1-7 O Felix Anima (Responsory To St. Disibod, Fol. 470v) 6:33
1-8 Instrumental Piece 6:40
1-9 O Presul Vere Civitatis (Sequence To St. Disibod, Fol. 475v) 8:45
2-1 Columba Aspexit (Sequence To St. Maximinus, Fol. 476r) 6:28
2-2 Instrumental Piece 5:24
2-3 O Ecclesia (Sequence To St. Ursula, Fol. 477) 7:43
2-4 Spiritui Sancto (Responsory To St. Ursula, Fol. 471v) 5:52
2-5 Mathias, Sanctus Per Electionem (Sequence To St. Mathias, Fol. 474v) 6:33
2-6 O Pater Omnium ("Symphonia Viduarum" To The Holy Widows, Fol. 478v) 4:37
2-7 O Euchari, Columba Virtutem Illius (Responsory To St. Eucharius, Fol. 475v) 6:08
2-8 O Euchari, In Leta Via Ambulasti (Sequence To St. Eucharius, Fol. 476r) 6:58
Ordo Virtutum 1
3-1 Prologue "Qui Sunt Hi, Qui Ut Nubes?" 2:26
3-2 Processional Of Embodied Souls (Instrumental) 2:28
3-3 Scene 1 "O Nos Peregrine Sumus" 2:23
3-4 Anima Processional (Instrumental) 2:59
3-5 Scene 1 (Cont.) "O Dulcis Divinitas" 2:11
3-6 Anima Processional (Instrumental) 0:46
3-7 Scene 1 (Cont.) "O Gravis Labor" 9:39
3-8 Dance (Instrumental) 1:59
3-9 Scene 2 "Ego Humilitas" 24:25
3-10 Dance (Instrumental) 1:48
Ordo Virtutum 2
4-1 O Quam Magnum Miraculum (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary) 4:35
4-2 O Felix Anima (Responsory To St. Disibod) 4:28
4-3 O Quam Mirabilis (Antiphon To The Creator) 3:12
Ordo Virtutum (Cont.)
4-4 Lament (Instrumental) 2:18
4-5 Scene 3 "Heu, Heu, Nos Virtutes" 13:02
4-6 Scene 4 "Que Es, Aut Unde Venis?" 9:06
4-7 Finale "In Principio Omnes Creature Viruerunt" 4:08
5-1 O Splendidissima Gemma (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary, V Fol 154, With Canticum: Magnificat Anima Mea Dominum) 10:21
5-2 O Dulcis Electe (Responsory To St. John The Evangelist, V Fol. 161v) 4:34
5-3 O Speculum Columbe (Responsory To St. John The Evangelist, V 161v) 7:34
5-4 O Spectabiles Viri (Antiphon To The Patriarchs And Prophets, V Fol. 159v) 5:34
5-5 O Cohors Milicie Floris (Antiphon To The Apostles, V Fol. 160v, With Canticum: Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel) 13:45
5-6 O Victoriosissimi Triumphatores (Antiphon To The Martyrs, V Fol. 163) 8:29
5-7 Kyrie Eleison (R Fol. 472v) 3:13
5-8 O Vos Imitatores Excelse Persone (Responsory To The Confessors, V Fol. 163v) 4:23
5-9 O Gloriosissimi Lux (Antiphon To The Angels, V Fol. 159) 5:12
5-10 O Vos Angeli (Responsory To The Angels, V Fol. 159) 8:40
6-1 O Quam Mirabilis (Antiphon To The Creator) 2:37
6-2 O Pulchrae Facies (Antiphon To The Virgins) 3:52
6-3 O Virga Ac Diadema (Sequence To The Virgin Mary) 4:46
6-4 Instrumental Piece 1:48
6-5 O Clarissima Mater (Responsory To The Virgin Mary) 8:01
6-6 Instrumental Piece 4:58
6-7 Spiritui Sancto (Responsory To St. Ursula And The Eleven Thousand Virgins) 4:52
6-8 O Virtus Sapientie (Antiphon To Divine Wisdom) 2:47
6-9 O Lucidissima Apostolorum Turba (Responsory To The Apostles) 6:37
6-10 Instrumental Piece 2:55
6-11 O Successores Fortissimi Leonis (Antiphon To The Confessors) 2:07
6-12 O Vos Felices Radices (Responsory To The Patriarchs And The Prophets) 5:04
6-13 Instrumental Piece 5:18
6-14 Vos Flores Rosarum (Responsory To The Martyrs) 5:44
Canticles Of Ecstasy
7-1 O Vis Eternitatis (Responsory To The Creator) 7:56
7-2 Nunc Aperuit Nobis Clausa Porta (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary) 1:53
7-3 Quia Ergo Femina Mortem Instruxit (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary) 1:49
7-4 Cum Processit Factura Digiti Dei (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary) 6:32
7-5 Alma Redemptoris Mater (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary, 10th Century) 2:10
7-6 Ave Maria (Responsory To The Virgin Mary) 8:57
7-7 Spiritus Sanctus Vivificans Vita (Antiphon To The Holy Spirit) 2:15
7-8 O Ignis Spiritus Paracliti (Sequence To The Holy Spirit) 6:17
7-9 Caritas Habundat In Omnia (Antiphon To Divine Love) 2:10
7-10 Alleluia! O Virga Mediatrix (Alleluia Antiphon) 2:25
7-11 O Viridissima Virga, Ave (To The Virgin Mary) 3:51
7-12 Instrumental Piece 3:30
7-13 O Pastor Animarum (Antiphon To The Redeemer) 1:18
7-14 O Tu Suavissima Virga (Responsory To The Virgin Mary) 11:12
7-15 O Choruscans Lux Stellarum (Antiphon For The Dedication Of A Church) 2:37
7-16 O Nobilissima Viriditas (Responsory To The Virgins) 6:42
Voice Of The Blood
8-1 O Rubor Sanguinis (Antiphon To St. Ursula) 2:01
8-2 Favus Distillans (Responsory To St. Ursula And Eleven Thousand Virgins) 8:29
8-3 Laus Trinitati (Antiphon In Praise Of The Trinity) 1:36
8-4 In Matutinis Laudibus (Office For The Feast Of St. Ursula [Antiphons]) - 1. Studium Divinitatis - 2. Unde Quocumque Venientes - 3. De Patria Etiam Earum - 4. Deus Enim - 5. Aer Enim Volat - 6. Et Ideo Puelle Iste - 7. Deus Enim Rorem - 8. Sed Diabolus 9:53
8-5 O Ecclesia (Free Sequence To St. Ursula) 7:56
8-6 Instrumental Piece (By Elizabeth Gaver, Based On Hildegard's "O Viridissima Virga") 6:33
8-7 O Eterne Deus (Antiphon To God The Father) 2:12
8-8 O Dulcissime Amator (Symphonia Of The Virgins) 6:46
8-9 Rex Noster (Responsory To The Innocent) 6:25
8-10 O Cruor Sanguinis (Antiphon To The Redeemer) 1:35
8-11 Cum Vox Sanguinis (Hymn To St. Ursula) 6:31
8-12 Instrumental Piece (By Elizabeth Gaver, Based On The D-Modes Of Hildegard) 2:59
8-13 O Virgo Ecclesia (Antiphon To Ecclesia) / Instrumental Piece (By Elizabeth Gaver) 7:48
8-14 Nunc Gaudeant Materna (Antiphon To Ecclesia) 2:26
8-15 O Orzchis Ecclesia (Antiphon To Ecclesia) 3:38
9-1 O Ierusalem (Sequence To St. Rupert) 10:25
9-2 Quia Felix Puericia (Antiphon To St. Rupert) 5:28
9-3 O Felix Apparicio (Antiphon To St. Rupert) 2:35
9-4 O Beatissime Ruperte 2:24
9-5 Instrumental Piece 5:47
9-6 O Tu Illustrata (Antiphon & Versicle To The Virgin Mary) 7:47
9-7 Cum Erubuerint (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary) 2:50
9-8 O Frondens Virga (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary) / Ave, Generosa (Hymn To The Virgin Mary) 5:56
9-9 O Quam Preciosa (Responsory To The Virgin Mary) 7:05
9-10 O Ignee Spiritus (Hymn To The Holy Spirit) 6:49
9-11 Instrumental Piece 5:41
9-12 O Quam Magnam Miraculum (Antiphon To The Virgin Mary) 4:44
Sequentia was among the first vocal ensembles to revive Hildegard’s music in our time, working closely from the medieval manuscript sources and employing performance practices which would have been known to the abbess and her Benedictine sisters in the 12th century. Under the general artistic direction of the late Barbara Thornton (1950-1998) and with Sequentia's co-founder Benjamin Bagby, more than sixty of the world’s foremost vocalists and instrumentalists active in historical music performance joined the ensemble to perform and record Hildegard’s works on a regular basis between 1982 and 1999, and again under Bagby’s direction in 2012-2014. Thornton and Bagby worked closely with musicologists and philologists, including Leo Treitler, Peter Dronke and Barbara Stühlmeyer. In addition to recording, the ensemble toured extensively, performing Hildegard's works to critical acclaim all over Europe, in North America, Australia and Japan.
The Sequentia recordings of Hildegard’s complete musical works are now contained on 9 CDs and include all of Hildegard’s 77 symphoniae as well as her music drama Ordo Virtutum – more than 9 hours of music. One of these releases, Canticles of Ecstasy, received numerous international awards (including an Edison Prize, a Disque d’Or, and a Grammy® nomination for best choral recording) and sold more than a million copies worldwide.
Canticles of Ecstasy
Canticles of Ecstasy is an album of sacred vocal music written in the 12th century by the German abbess Hildegard of Bingen and recorded by the early music ensemble Sequentia that was released by the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi recording label in 1993. 
The album is one of a series of recordings of the complete musical works of Hildegard by the early medieval music specialists and founders of Sequentia, Barbara Thornton and her husband Benjamin Bagby.
It was recorded between 16 and 21 June 1993 in the church of St. Pantaleon, Cologne, Germany, "at the sarcophagus of the Empress Theophanu (d. 990)". 
The music is from a medieval manuscript written at Hildegard's abbey (Rupertsberger "Riesencodex" (1180–90) Wiesbaden: Hessische Landesbibliothek, MS 2) and the Latin texts are from Hildegard von Bingen, Lieder (Salzburg, 1969). 
O tu suavissima, response
Early Catholic theologians tended to be male (the "church Fathers"). They crafted early Christian theology in the midst of a patriarchal Western society their Christian Trinity was seen as Father, Son, and (perhaps non-gendered) Holy Spirit. At the same time, from at least the time of Augustine, the special role of the Virgin Mary as human bearer of the Godhead made flesh in Jesus was reverenced her role as a human model for human spiritual formation was recognized, and the grounds were laid for revering her as an immaculate human being. Some individuals even at this time took Marianism a bit further. Hildegard of Bingen, the prolific and outspoken female abbess in twelfth century Catholicism, almost worked with a second Trinity: Father, Son/Virgin together, Holy Spirit. Her Latin poetry, and the Gregorian chant melodies she composed for singing them, tend to mesh the persons of Jesus and His mother together. Her liturgical Responsory for Marian feasts, O tu suavissima virga, offers a good example.
On the one hand, many elements of her O tu suavissima virga are quite standard. The musical form closely follows the expected repetition of the Responsory form: incipit-respond-verse-respond-gloria patri-respond. Some of her poetic images in the piece are simiarly stereotypical: seeing Mary as a "fountain" of the Shoot of Jesse (binding her to her son the Christ, Isaiah 11:1), and as a bright flower. Some of the music Hildegard wrote is also completely within the usual bounds of her (ecstatic) style: fluctutation between B flat and B natural at cadences (or for particular effect such as on the "mysteries of God"), tendencies to strong cadences on the fifth or the tonic. At the same time, she shapes the music in very subtle ways: the piece is about the Virgin, but the composer gives a modally obscure beginning, saving the powerful melodic exposition by leaps of the modal fifth and octave for the theologically significant mention of the "most beautiful" Son. Furthermore, she writes an incredibly extensive melisma on the "will of God" it has its own melodic crest well above the modal octave, and internal cadences on the modal fifth, followed by a gentle descent to the tonic. In the combination of tone and text, the loveliness of the Virgin is foregrounded, and at the same time subjugated to the will of God the Father, in an even more beautiful relationship.
Hildegard von Bingen – 900 Years (8 CD box set, APE)
01. O magne pater
02. O Bonifaci
03. O mirum admirandum
04. Instrumental piece
05. O viriditas digiti dei
06. O beata infantia
07. O felix anima
08. Instrumental piece.wav
09. O presul vere civitatis
01. To Saint Maximus – Columba aspexit (sequence fol. 476r)
02. Instrumental piece
03. To Saint Ursula – O Ecclesia (sequence fol. 477)
04. Spiritui sancto (responsory fol. 471v)
05. To Saint Matthew – Mathias, sanctus per electionem(sequence fol. 474v)
06. To the Holy Widows – O pater omnium (‘Symphonia viduarum’ fol. 478v)
07. To Saint Eucharius – O Euchari, columba virtutem illius (responsory fol. 475v)
08. O Euchari, in leta via ambulasti (sequence fol. 476r)
01. Prolog- Qui sunt hi, qui ut nubes
02. Prozessionsmusik fuer die leibhaften Seelen
03. Szene 1- O nos peregrine sumus
04. Prozessionsmusik der Anima
05. Szene 1 (Forts.)- O dulcis divinitas
06. Prozessionsmusik der Anima
07. Szene 1 (Forts.)- O gravis labor
08. Tanz (instrumental)
09. Szene 2- Ego Humilitas
10. Tanz (instrumental)
01. Symphonia- O quam magnum miraculum
02. Symphonia- O felix anima
03. Symphonia- O quam mirabilis
04. Instrumental Lament,Klageweise (instrumental)
05. Szene 3- Heu! Heu! nos virtutes plangamus
06. Szene 4- Que es, aut unde venis
07. Finale- In principio
01. O vis aeternitatis (Responsorium)
02. Nunc aperuit nobis (Antiphon)
03. Quia ergo femina mortem instruxit (Antiphon)
04. Cum processit factura digiti Dei (Antiphon)
05. Alma Redemptoris Mater (Marian Antiphon, 10,Jh.,Cent. Anon.)
06. Ave Maria, O auctrix vite (Responsorium)
07. Spiritus Sanctus vivificans vite (Antiphon)
08. O ignis spiritus Paracliti (Sequenz,Sequence)
09. Caritas habundat in omnia (Antiphon)
10. O virgia mediatrix (Alleluia-Antiphon)
11. O viridissima virga, Ave (Lied,Song)
12. Instrumentalstьck,Instrumental Piece
13. O Pastor Animarum (Gebet,Prayer)
14. O tu suavissima virga (Responsorium)
15. O choruscans stellarum (Antiphon)
16. O nobilissima viriditas (Responsorium)
01. O rubor sanguinis- Antiphon to St. Ursula
02. Favus Distillans- Responsory to St. Ursula and the 11,000 virgins
03. Laus Trinitati- Antiphon in Praise of the Trinity
04. In Matutinis Laudibus- Office for the Feast of St. Ursula
05. O Ecclesia- Free Sequence to St. Ursula
06. Instrumental Piece based on Hildegard’s ‘O viridissima virga’ (Elizabeth Gaver)
07. O aeterne Deus- Antiphon to God the Father
08. O dulcissime amator- Symphonia of the virgins
09. Rex noster promptus est- Responsory to the Innocent
10. O cruor sanguinis- Antiphon
11. Cum vox sanguinis- To St. Ursula
12. Instrumental Piece based on the D-modes of Hildegard (Elizabeth Gaver)
13. O virgo Ecclesia- Antiphon for Ecclesia (Instrumental Piece by Elizabeth Gaver)
14. Nunc gaudeant materna- Antiphon to Ecclesia
15. O orzchis Ecclesia- Antiphon to Ecclesia
01. O Jerusalem
02. Quia felix pueritia_Magnificat_Quia felix pueritia
03. O felix apparitio
04. O beatissime Ruperte
05. Instrumental piece
06. O tu illustrata
07. Cum erubuerint
08. O frondens virga_Gloria patri_Ave generosa
09. O quam preciosa
10. O ignee spiritus
11. Instrumental piece
12. O quam magnum miraculum est
01. O quam mirabilis est
02. O pulchare facies (de Virginibus)
03. Ovirga ac diadema purpurae regis (de sancta Maria)
05. O clarissima mater (de sancta Maria)
07. Spiritul Sancto honor sit (de Undecim Milibus Virginibus)
08. O virtus sapientiae
09. O lucidissima Apostolorum turba (de Apostolis)
11. O successores fortissimi leonis (de Confessoribus)
12. O vos, felices radices (de Patriarchis et Prophetis)
14. Vos flores rosarum (de Martyribus)
Founded in 1977 in Cologne by Barbara Thornton and Benjamin Bagby, Sequentia set out in the early 1990s to document the entire catalog of Hildegard Von Bingen’s music. They’ve completed the Hildegard cycle, and this eight-CD box collects the results in a solid, handsome cube–perfect for the bookshelf. The beauty of the music is undeniable and has wowed listeners since Canticles of Ecstasy set an international community of listeners on a path of discovery in 1994. The big bonus now is that you can skip over the periods of wowed seduction that will follow the inaugural listen, and take in the entire collection of single- and double-CD issues Sequentia has devoted to Hildegard’s music. The recordings (and obviously the repertoire) are not particularly new, of course, but Sequentia has taken Hildegard to places no previous interpreter reached. Firstly, the group has been absolutely methodical with Hildegard, reaching always for the goal of a large collection of CDs by the 900-year anniversary of the composer’s birth. Second, they’ve refined and perfected their take on Hildegard since first presenting this music almost 20 years ago. They’ve found smoother lines of execution–not to make the music in any way easier for listeners but rather in better proportion to Hildegard’s philosophically well-proportioned vantage on music, spirituality, and life. Thus we have the collection of spiritual songs, Symphoniae, which relay earthly and celestial being to the polyphony of multiple voices and musical threads woven into the songs. We also have the breathlessly beautiful two CDs of Ordo Virtutum, a not-uncommon near-operatic corollary to medieval morality plays. This collection allows both newbies and committed fans the opportunity to work their way through hours and hours of musical bliss. –Andrew Bartlett
A Collection to Treasure
When my daughter was born about a year ago I initiated the project of collecting some of the “better music” for her, fearing that if she was only exposed to my preferred music she’d end up being a bass player in a biker band someday. I started with the Mozart piano concertos, then went to lots of Bach and other Baroque masterpieces, even ventured into some Wendy Carlos, with her “Turned On Bach.” I cringe to think how much I’ve spent in the last year, although I must say that the investment has been worth every penny. We actually have neighbors occasionally knocking on our door wanting to know what the music is which we are playing. It seems there is an untapped market for higher music. Well, suffice it to say that I was linked to this Years” set from some other CD which I was contemplating and for some reason I was tantilized, without really knowing exactly what to expect.
This music is divine, total heaven on plastic. It is prolonged euphoria. The ambience is so pervasive that it just seizes you, totally centers your focus, lifts your imagination. Without degenerating into too many additional cliches, let me just suggest that this music gives me a tremendous sense of well-being, a feeling which seems to be more elusive to me as the years go by.
I’ve only played it through two times in the past month since I received it, as it is quite lengthy and I don’t want to desensitize myself to it. I listen to it in the morning when I’m first waking up. It brings me blissfully out of the twilight of my dreams into the vast possibilities for a new day. If one doesn’t listen closely a superficial criticism may emerge that the CD’s all sound similar. Play them again when you can focus more on the music and this concern will disappear. I will mention as well that if you don’t have a one year old running your household, as I do, this music will be absolutely perfect for you and your favored one to listen to in front of the fireplace.
I don’t have a sufficient command of the lexicon of this type of music to properly describe it to you: what comes to mind are floating feminine voices, clear resonant stringed instruments, it does indeed seems like the music of a thousand years ago, a thousand years from now. This is the music of eternity. I haven’t yet read the substantive brochures which are enclosed respectively in each of the “jewel” cases, I’m afraid they may alter my interpretation of the music. If you’re into that type of thing, however, I will mention that this is the best “packaged” box set I’ve yet purchased (of probably around 100). Each CD box has an outrageously beautiful piece of medieval art on it which perfectly compliments the music.
My daughter? She likes it, even she seems meditative when it plays. I envision it activating all types of neurological pathways in her adorable little head. I shall concede, however, that she is still cuter when she is dancing playfully to Metallica.
Hildegard von Bingen
Hildegard von Bingen was a medieval composer, visionary, and polymath.
Hildegard von Bingen
- Born: 1098, Bermersheim vor der Höhe, County Palatine of the Rhine, Holy Roman Empire
- Died: 17 September 1179, Bingen am Rhein, County Palatine of the Rhine, Holy Roman Empire
- Era: Medieval
Hildegard was born in 1098 to a noble family in Rhineland in Western Germany. From a young age she experienced visions and was offered to the Church around the age of eight.
She lived her entire life as a nun, becoming a powerful Benedictine Abbess. She died on 17 September 1179 at the age of 81. Her exact cause of death is unknown.
Best of Hildegard
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Why is Hildegard important?
- One of the largest repertoires attributed to a medieval composer.
- Hildegard was also a poet and set her own poems to music.
- The founder of natural history in Germany and a prolific writer. Hildegard was the first person to describe the importance of hops in beer and also the first woman to document the female orgasm in writing.
- As a Benedictine abbess, Hildegard became a powerful diplomatic player.
Psaltery player from the Gorleston Psalter, c. 1310–1326. (Wikimedia Commons)
Psaltery player from the Gorleston Psalter, c. 1310–1326. (Wikimedia Commons)
What instrument did Hildegard play?
Like all written music of her time, Hildegard's compositions are monophonic. This means that they were written to be sung by one voice. She would have been taught to sing and play the ten-stringed psaltery (a zither or harp-like instrument) by Jutta, an older woman with whom she was confined in a cell when she first entered the monastery.
Is Hildegard a saint?
While Hildegard has been widely regarded as a saint for centuries, she was only formally canonized on 10 May, 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. She is one of only four female Doctors of the Church, a title reserved for theologians who have significantly influenced church doctrine.
What did Hildegard compose?
It is believed that Hildegard was a "brand-name" and many of the works attributed to her were written by other nuns in her convent. If so, the history of composing women in the medieval period is richer and deeper than we know.
Hildegard von Bingen - O Tu Suavissima Virga [Sequentia] - History
Rupertsberger "Riesencodex" (1180-1190), Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek, Ms. 2 f. 466ff.
Sequentia, Ensemble für Musik des Mittelalters
Barbara Thornton (voice), Gundula Anders (voice), Pamela Dellal (voice), Elizabeth Glen (voice), Heather Knutson (voice), Laurie Monahan (voice), Susanne Norin (voice), Janet Youngdahl (voice), Elizabeth Gaver (medieval fiddle), Elisabetta de Mircovich (medieval fiddle) Benjamin Bagby (medieval harp, organistrum)
Barbara Thornton, dir.
Recording site and date:
St. Pantaleon (at the sarcophag of the Empress Theophanu), Köln [6/1993]
The present recording is the first in Sequentia's renewed series of Hildegard's complete output. It includes a broad range of genre, including one improvised instrumental piece based upon motives in the compositions.
A packaging of many of Sequentia's Hildegard recordings, including nearly the complete works:
Hildegard of Bingen - 900 Years Sequentia
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77505 (8 CDs)
Other items from this set are available separately, as noted. For many more Hildegard recordings, see the complete discography.
Some other acclaimed introductions to Hildegard:
A Feather on the Breath of God Sequences and Hymns by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen
Gothic Voices - Christopher Page
Hyperion 66039 Hildegard von Bingen: 11,000 Virgins Anonymous 4
Harmonia Mundi USA 907200 Hortus Deliciarum Hildegard von Bingen / Herrad von Landsberg
Discantus - Brigitte Lesne
Opus 111 30-220 Hildegard: Laudes de Sainte Ursule Ensemble Organum - Marcel Pérès
Harmonia Mundi 901626 Sponsa regis La Victoire de la Vierge dans l'oeuvre d'Hildegard von Bingen
Ensemble La Reverdie / Piccoli cantori di San Bernardo
Arcana 314 Hildegard: O Nobilissima Viriditas Catherine Schroeder et al.
Media 7 / Champeaux 006 Hildegard: Symphoniae harmoniae caelestium revelationum Schola der Benediktinerinnenabtei St. Hildegard - M. Immaculata Ritscher
Bayer 100 116 Hildegard: Heavenly Revelations Oxford Camerata - Jeremy Summerly
Naxos 8.550998 The complete Hildegard von Bingen, vol. 1 Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations
Sinfonye - Stevie Wishart
Celestial Harmonies 13 127
Some recordings devoted to significant contemporaries of Hildegard working in related monophonic styles:
Monastic Song 12-Century Monophonic Chant - Peter Abelard
Theatre of Voices - Paul Hillier
Harmonia Mundi USA 907209 Cluny: La Transfiguration Chants de Pierre le Vénérable
Ensemble Venance Fortunat - Anne-Marie Deschamps
L'Empreinte digitale 13091 Songs of Angels Songs of ectasy by Gautier de Coincy
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
Decca 460 794
Peter Abelard may be the single most famous musical-literary figure of the period, while the latter two recordings focus on music by abbots, in analogy to Hildegard. The latter is actually part of a sacred-secular cycle, perhaps more akin to troubadour music.
Finally, a recording of somewhat later German songs devoted to "Celestial Woman" in the minnesang tradition:
Frauenlob The Celestial Woman
Sequentia - Barbara Thornton & Benjamin Bagby
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77309
The music of Hildegard of Bingen
Sara Mohr-Pietsch for Building a Library surveys the music on record of the 11th century composer, writer, mystic and Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen.
Sara Mohr-Pietsch for Building a Library surveys the music on record of the 11th century composer, writer, mystic and Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen, specifically the many liturgical songs that were collected into the extraordinary cycle known as the 'Symphonia armoniae celestium revelationum'.
Sequentia: Celestial Hierarchy
HILDEGARD: O splendidissima gemma O dulcis electe O speculum columbae O spectabilis viri O cohors militiae O victoriosissimi Triumphatores Kyrie eleison O vos imitatores excelse O gloriosissimi lux O vos angeli
DEUTSCHE HARMONA MUNDI 88765468642 (CD)
Below is a shortlist of other recordings which Sara Mohr-Pietsch also liked, although we can’t guarantee the availability of these discs.
Abbess Hildegard of Bingen - A feather on the breath of God
HILDEGARD: Columba aspexit Ave generosa O ignis Spiritus Paracliti O Jerusalem aurea civitatis, sequence to St Rupert O Euchari O viridissima virga O presul vere civitas O Ecclesia
Emma Kirkby (soprano), Gothic Voices, Christopher Page (conductor)
HYPERION CDA66039 (CD mid-price)
Hildegard von Bingen: Heavenly Revelations
HILDEGARD: O Euchari Alleluia Ave generosa For the Trinity (Laus Trinitati) Kyrie O presul vere civitas O ignis Spiritus Paracliti Ordo Virtutum O pastor animarum O viridissima virga O virga ac diadema
Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly (conductor)
NAXOS 8550998 (CD budget)
Hildegard von Bingen / John Cage
HILDEGARD: O Rubor Sanguinis, Studium Divinatis, O Virtus Sapientiae, O Viridissma Virga, O Felix Apparitio, Aer Enim, Et Ideo Puellae, Deus Enim Rorem, Sed Diabolus CAGE: Sonnekus Parts 1-9 HILDEGARD/CAGE: O Rubor Sanguinis, Sonnekus Part I, Studium Divinatis, Sonnekus Part II, O Virtus Sapientiae, Sonnekus Part III, O Viridissma Virga, Sonnekus Part IV, O Felix Apparitio, Sonnekus Part V, Aer Enim, Sonnekus Part VI, Et Ideo Puellae, Sonnekus Part VII, Deus Enim Rorem, Sonnekus Part VIII, Sed Diabolus, Sonnekus Part IX
Irene Kurka (soprano)
EDITION WANDELWEISER RECORDS EWR 1201 (CD)
Hildegard von Bingen: Vox Cosmica
ABELARD: Planctus David super Saul et lonatha
HILDEGARD: O tu suavissima Divine Love (Karitas Habundat) Ave Maria For the Creator (O Quam Mirabilis) O virtus sapientae
JOHANSEN, P: Meditation I Meditation II Meditation III Meditation IV
Arianna Savall (singer, harp), Hirundo Maris
CARPE DIEM CD16304 (CD mid-price)
A Beginner’s Guide to the Music of St. Hildegard of Bingen
A playlist of beautiful compositions by the soon-to-be Doctor of the Church.
St. Hildegard of Bingen (1089) will soon be the Catholic Church’s 35th Doctor. The formal proclamation will make her the fourth woman to be declared a Doctor of the Church, joining the ranks of Saints Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Therese of Lisieux.
Pope Benedict announced on Pentecost Sunday during his Regina Coeli address that now, after having formally declared (on May 10, 2012) Hildegard’s sainthood by way of “equivalent canonization,” he will proclaim (on October 7, 2012) that Hildegard is an official Doctor of the Church.
Benedict seems to have a soft spot for Hildegard. Back in 2010, he devoted not one but two of his Wednesday general audience talks to her. Perhaps this is related to his well-known love for all the best music.
Consider this: For how many saints can you say that you have a playlist of audio files? But with St. Hildegard, Benedict has amped up the ranks of Church Doctors who can teach us about what sacred music at its best sounds like.
Hildegard’s music had something of a “pop culture” moment back in 1994, when Richard Souther’s album Vision: The Music Of Hildegard von Bingen became a hit. It ended up winning the Billboard Classical/Crossover album of the year award.
Purists recoiled at Souther’s blending of Hildegard’s Gregorian chants with electronic effects and additional modern instrumentation. But who is to say that future artists should rule out any similar innovations as they rediscover Hildegard’s music for the 21st century?
After all, Hildegard herself was a mystical genius who pushed beyond the boundaries of the musical conventions of her own time. (She even invented her own language for some of her lyrics! Perhaps the only similar phenomenon today is what the Icelandic progressive rock band Sigur Rós does.)
And who knows how tomorrow’s best musicians will take up her sacred legacy? God only knows how a future musical Doctor might remake or rework Hildegard’s heavenly melodies. I wouldn’t want to put the Spirit into a straightjacket (although the Church does have norms for sacred music). In the end, hearing is believing.
Of course, any serious future innovator will first have to become familiar with the classic Hildegard albums that have already been recorded to date. Well over a decade before Souther’s success with Vision, the soprano Emma Kirkby had already put Hildegard in the forefront of elite musical consciousness with her stunning album, A Feather On The Breath Of God (1982). If you could only take one artist’s Hildegard disc to a desert island, this is arguably it.
Then again, there are the justly famous Hildegard discs recorded by the Anonymous 4, 11,000 Virgins: Chants for the Feast of St. Ursula (1997) and The Origin of Fire: Hildegard von Bingen (2005). Both are proof that once Emma Kirkby’s Feather album had kicked off a veritable Hildegard craze, enthusiasts of Gregorian chant were soon faced with a wonderful problem: choosing which “one disc only” to take in that “desert island” thought experiment. Only with reluctance would we leave behind Emma’s disc in order to take an Anonymous 4 disc with us—and vice versa! And the high-quality recordings have kept coming.
Now, to think about a “desert island disc” when it comes to Hildegard is not an idle exercise. Why not? Well, it amounts to picking the “one disc” you would recommend to a friend who wants to get started and to learn from the new musical Doctor.
Still, I would say that the best way for someone who wants to retreat into the desert and spend time with Hildegard’s music would be this: do not focus on just one disc. Instead, thanks to today’s technology, it has never been easier to put together a short, digestible playlist of Hildegard music. This is the best way to gain access to Hildegard’s beautiful soundscapes.
But if I had to recommend a single purchase for someone wishing to learn from Doctor Hildegard, it would have to be the complete works of Hildegard recorded by the ensemble for medieval music, Sequentia—an amazing project released in successive years during the 1990s.
Hildegard’s music fills eight Sequentia CDs and you might think that the box set containing them all would be expensive. But you would be wrong. Thanks to Sony Classical, Sequentia’s great achievement is today easily available online for about 25 dollars. That’s roughly three dollars per disc!
It will cost you somewhat more to download Hildegard’s entire musical output from iTunes. But if you wish, you can start your downloading project with only a few selections taken from the Sequentia treasure chest. After all, unless you have the musical skills of a Mozart, being deluged with St. Hildegard’s lifetime musical achievement will probably be overwhelming for you. So why not start with a playlist of 12 of her best?
Allow me to give you that recommended playlist, below. I will list 12 downloads for which you need only pay about .99 each. This custom playlist introduction is the best way I can think of to get you started, short of recommending one of the “desert island” albums that I already mentioned above.
And this playlist is not just for beginners. This is my own custom “Hildegard highlights” iPhone playlist, and it probably resembles the playlists on the iPhones of other advanced chant enthusiasts.
By the way, if you ever do move from a beginning to an advanced comprehension of Hildegard’s entire musical corpus, you will want to compare the different recorded versions of every single one of her works. Thanks to the Internet, this task has never been easier, as an exhaustive and well-ordered discography of every recording of Hildegard’s music is available.
But here’s what you need to know just to get started: Hildegard’s music consists of the 69 songs Symphonia armonie celestium revelationum, that is, those written for the Mass (one Alleluia, one Kyrie, and seven sequences) and for the Divine Office (43 antiphons of which are votive great responsories, three hymns, and four devotional songs), and the musical mystery play Ordo virtutum, which includes more than 80 songs and song segments and also opening and closing processions. Thus, each item in her output is easily numbered, which you will notice below (and also in the discography linked to above).
And now for that limited playlist of 12. Where to begin? Well, not necessarily with Hildegard’s longer masterpieces. Fortunately, Hildegard is also a master of the short masterpiece. Those who are new to chant will appreciate these shorter pieces as they try to wrap their minds around the highly unusual, ecstatic melodies of Hildegard.
In fact, Margot Fassler (who is Keough-Hesburgh Professor of Music History and Liturgy and co-director of the Master of Sacred Music Program at the University of Notre Dame) has keenly observed of Hildegard’s music: “Not the least inspired of the songs are the seer’s brief, almost epigrammatic antiphons,” in which “a single indelible image is etched on the mind.” I include many good examples at the top of the playlist:
PLAYLIST: “BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO ST. HILDEGARD OF BINGEN”
“Caritas habundat” (no. 25), from Canticles of Ecstasy, by Sequentia
“O quam mirabilis” (no. 3), from Symphoniae, by Sequentia
“O rubor sanguinis” (no. 61), from Voice of the Blood, by Sequentia
“Laus Trinitati” (no. 26), from Voice of the Blood, by Sequentia
“O virtus Sapientiae” (no. 2), from Symphoniae, by Sequentia
“O viridissima virga” (no. 19), from Canticles of Ecstasy, by Sequentia
“O orzchis (immensa) Ecclesia” (no. 68), from Voice of the Blood, by Sequentia
“O frondens virga” (no. 15), from O Jerusalem, by Sequentia
“O ignee spiritus” (no. 27), from O Jerusalem, by Sequentia
“Qui sunt hi, qui ut nubes?”, from Ordo virtutum, by Sequentia
“O Euchari in leta via” (no. 53), from Saints, by Sequentia
“O mirum admirandum” (no. 41), from Saints, by Sequentia
Note: all the songs above are available in Sequentia’s comprehensive Hildegard box set, but for convenience of reference I also designate the individual disc names on which they first appeared.
I include below Latin lyrics and translations (mine, except where otherwise indicated) for the four shorter pieces that begin my playlist of 12. I also include an example of Hildegard’s mystic language, “O orzchis Ecclesia.” And there is also an example of Hildegard’s Latin punning, “O frondens virga”—note that the punning metaphor associates the lively green vigor of a healthy “branch” (virga) with the fruitful gifts of the “Virgin” (virgo).
Try following along with the Latin words of the four shorter pieces first. Even if you haven’t yet learned Latin, attempt to listen along to the words in Latin as they are sung. (If you do know classical Latin, don’t stumble over the variations in medieval spelling, but just go with the flow and you will soon catch on.)
I emphasize that for maximum enjoyment you need to try and follow the Latin. This is because what you need to listen for most, in order to fully appreciate the music of Hildegard, is the melismatic character of her melodies: i.e., one syllable within a Latin word will have multiple notes of melody sung on that one syllable—which is what the word “melisma” technically designates.
The highly melismatic character of her songs is what gives Hildegard’s music its most ecstatic, heavenly qualities. Usually, the popular music that most people listen to has, for the most part, only one note sung per syllable. This kind of “syllabic” singing is easy to grasp—and being easy to grasp is no doubt one reason why music becomes popular—but merely syllabic singing is certainly not in the upper echelon of musical possibility.
Hildegard, however, frequently ascends above and beyond the mundane possibilities. Her ecstatic melodies dance up and down with elaborate melodic movements on just one syllable. For example, take the first syllable of the word caritas (“love”) in the first item on my playlist. Listen to how the Doctor sings of “love” in her melismatic way. Then compare this with every other word she sings. Soon you will be creating your own playlists, and I look forward to comparing favorites with you as the future Hildegard renaissance unfolds.
atque amantissima in omnia,
quia summo Regi
osculum pacis dedit.
in all things,
from the planetary depths
to her highest dwelling place
beyond the stars,
and love is surpassing herself in all things,
because she has given the kiss of peace
to the highest King.
O quam mirabilis
est prescientia divini pectoris,
que prescivit omnem creaturam.
Nam cum Deus inspexit faciem hominis,
omnia opera sua in eadem forma
hominis integra aspexit.
O quam mirabilis est inspiratio,
que hominem sic suscitavit.
O how wondrous
is the foreknowledge of the divine heart
that knew every creature in advance.
For when God looked upon the human face
that he had formed,
he glimpsed all his works,
in that same human form, all summed up.
O how wondrous is the inspiration
that has thus animated the human being.
O rubor sanguinis,
qui de excelso illo fluxisti,
quod divinitas tetigit,
tu flos es,
quem hiems de flatu serpentis
num quam lesit.
O blood red,
which has poured down from that height
which divinity has touched,
you are the flower,
which the winter of the serpent’s breath
can never harm.
quae sonus et vita
ac creatrix omnium in vita ipsorum est,
et quae laus angelicae turbae
et mirus splendor arcanorum,
quae hominibus ignota sunt, est,
et quae in omnibus vita est.
Praise be to the Trinity,
who is sound and life
and creator of the very life that animates all things,
and who is praised by the angelic host,
and who radiates the marvel of secrets
that are unknown to men,
and who in all things is the life.
O orzchis (immensa) Ecclesia,
armis divinis praecincta,
et hyazintho ornate,
tu es caldemia (aroma)
stigmatum loifolum (populorum)
et urbs scientiarum.
O, o, tu es etiam crizanta (uncta)
in alto sono, et es chorzta (corusca) gemma.
O orzchis (vast) Church,
shielded by might divine,
and adorned with hyacinths,
you are the caldemia (fragrance)
of the stigmata of the loifolum (peoples),
and a city of knowledge.
O, o, you are indeed crizanta (anointed)
with a lofty sound, and you are a chorzta (shining) jewel.
O frondens virga,
in tua nobilitate stans,
sicut aurora procedit.
Nunc gaude et laetare
et nos debiles dignare
a mala consuetudine liberare,
atque manum tuam porrige
ad erigendum nos.
O blossoming branch,
you send forth your noble beauty
in the same way the dawn arises.
Now rejoice, and be glad,
and consent to free us who are weak
from our bad habits,
and reach out your hand
so that you will lift us up.
Finally, note that the playlist ends with “O mirum admirandum” (no. 41). Margot Fassler suggests that this antiphon, “with its haunting beauty and mysterious apocalyptic close, reads almost as an epitaph for the seer herself.” She thus sees this song’s final words as apocalyptically true of Hildegard herself. This is Fassler’s lovely translation:
…arise in the end
as you rose in the beginning
when the blossom that sustains you
on all the boughs in the world.
… surges in fine,
omnium ramorum mundi,
ut primum surrexisti!
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Hildegard von Bingen - O Tu Suavissima Virga [Sequentia] - History
Hildegard von Bingen - O Tu Suavissima Virga [Sequentia]
Visionaria, mística, compositora, abadesa. Estamos en presencia de una de esas personalidades arrebatadoras que de vez en cuando aparecen por la historia. Hoy le rendiremos un merecido homenaje.
Esta mujer se llama Santa Hildegarda de Bingen (1098-1179), nacida en la localidad alemana de Bermersheim vor der Höhe. De familia noble, entró muy joven en el monasterio de Disibodenberg. Empezó a cultivar sus dotes místicas y visionarias a la vez que lideraba monasterios. Aprendió música y comenzó a escribirla. Es especialmente conocida por sus obras literarias, musicales y científicas, y por sus actividades religiosas y diplomáticas. Sus obras incluyen visiones, obras médicas y científicas, hagiografías y cartas. Igualmente, escribió poesía lírica y dramática, que ha sobrevivido en forma homofónica. Una de sus obras más conocidas se llama Ordo Virtutum , considerada como uno de los dramas litírugicos más antiguos. Murió en Rupertsberg, cerca de la localidad de Bingen, de ahí su nombre.
Canónicamente, Hildegarda solo ha sido beatificada, a pesar que a lo largo de los años fuese llamada "santa" por muchos papas, incluidos Juan Pablo II y Benedicto XVI. Esto hizo que este último la incluyese el 10 de mayo de 2012 (hace un par de días) en el catálogo de los santos, en un proceso que terminará en octubre de 2012, cuando será declarada doctora de la Iglesia .
Hildegard’s Influence on Music and Creativity Today
Several modern musicians have rediscovered Hildegard’s music in a contemporary setting. They have added experimental sounds with modern arrangements to create a colorful synthesis of the middle-ages with modern times. We recently discovered a contemporary take on Ordo Virtutum, performed by Deepak Ram and Diana Rowan, along with the San Francisco Renaissance Voices.
We were impressed and surprised by David Lynch and Jocelyn Montgomery’s collaboration in 2010, resulting in the album, Lux Vivens, which combines the past with the present in a powerful and enchanting way.
In all of Hildegard’s work we find her unique expression of creativity. We hope you do as well. Take some time to explore her music and perhaps it will inspire you to awaken your own unique creativity.