One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
Vivaldi
9 cello sonatas
Dussek
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!


Quite splendid


Winning performances


Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc


a huge talent


A wonderful disc


Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!


Roth’s finest Mahler yet


Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

HILDEGARD of Bingen (1098 -1179)
O Eterne Deus
Quia Ergo Femina [2.26]
O Quam Magnum Miraculum Est [3.38]
Ave, Generosa [5.58]
O Frondens Virga [2.52]
Ispariz (Vielle & harp duo) (arr. Shira Kammen) [2.36]
Karitas Habundat [2.36]
O Ignis Spiritus Paracliti [7.55]
Laus Trinitati [1.34]
O Eterne Deus [2.46]
Instrumental on Kyrie (arr. Kammen) [2.22]
Rex Noster Promptus Est [4.59]
Kyrie Eleison [2.16]
O Virtus Sapientiae [2.55]
O Viriditas Digiti Dei [5.28]
Karen R. Clark (director/ contralto)
Shira Kammen (vielle/ medieval harp)
Vajra Voices
rec. St. Ignatius Catholic Church, San Francisco, California, 20-22 August, 2015
MUSIC & ARTS CD1291 [50.22]

Interest in Hildegard has perhaps never been greater than in the last 50 years. She has been seen variously as proto-feminist, mystic, healer, as well as fine musician. In 2012, Pope Benedict XVI confirmed her canonisation and named her a Doctor of the Church, only the fourth woman to achieve the status.

In 1982, Hyperion produced the wonderful A Feather on the Breath of God (Hyperion CDA66039), with Emma Kirkby and the Gothic Voices conducted by Christopher Page. I have heard few recordings since which have quite reached those elevated heights, except for the recordings by Sequentia, Canticles of Ecstasy (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 05472 77320 2) and Symphoniae (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi GD77020).

This recording is very much one to add to that select handful. The Vajra Voices, 7 in all, are a Berkeley-based all-female group who have Hildegard’s music at the centre of their repertory. Their strengths, apart from beautiful voices, include precise articulation and the confidence to be simple in expression. Voices blend beautifully, and Karen R Clark has a contralto well-suited to the spiritual depths of the music – a truly splendid voice. The only piece common to this CD and A Feather on the Breath of God is Ave, generosa, here markedly slower than on the Hyperion, partly to suit a church acoustic, but also to enable the richness of the music and the depth of spiritual insight to emerge clearly. There is no ‘right’ tempo in medieval chant, no metronome markings to guide us. There is a case for both quicker and slower performances, and whether we follow the Hyperion or this new one, there are such riches. Listen either to the opening or the final pages, and one is touched by a depth and beauty.

The instrumental sections are interesting, with the vielle (a sort of medieval violin, but with five strings) and harp providing some lovely textures. Shira Kammen, a medieval specialist - she has performed with major groups including Hesperion XX - is a fine musician and Allison Zelles Lloyd, one of the singers, also plays medieval harp.

All in all, this recording belongs with the very best Hildegard collections, one for late night reflectiveness.

Michael Wilkinson
 




 

 



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger