Vespers from the Abbey of St. Hildegard “O vis Aeternitatis” Sung by the Bendictine Nuns of St. Hildegard, Bingen, led by J. Berchmans Göschl Engineering and editing: Christoph Martin Frommen Originally issued by Ars Musici © Mastered for Alto Records by Paul Arden-Taylor
Hildegard (1098-1179) was born in Germany in 1098, the tenth child of noble parents who promised her to convent life in 1106. She took her vows in 1115, and in 1136 became the leader of her spiritual community. The Hildegard Abbey was consecrated in 1935, where this recording was made.
Hildegard regarded herself as “a mere vessel of God” through whom the complexities of scripture and language became clear through visions that she described as “extremely strong, sparkling, fiery lights” and that eventually were written down in a collection of poetry, in 400 letters, in theological discussions, and in works on medicine and natural healing.
The music of Hildegarde comprises settings mostly in plainchant of a mix of Antiphons, Responsorial Chant, and Sequences that utilize texts from the Book of Revelations, the Psalms and the Common of the Mass. The overall quality of the work is plain and pure, as is the singing, and both unencumbered by any compositional devices. It is music that comes from a time when the dividing line between the formality of composed music and music spontaneously sung, seemingly improvised, and preserved in the cloister by means of verbal instruction was tenuous at best.
The listener is induced into a stage of calm, non-judgmental listening made all the more hypnotic by the ethereal beauty of the soulful singing of the Bendictine Nuns of St. Hildegard, Bingen.
Rafael de Acha www.RafaelMusicNotes.com