Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Hildegard von Bingen, Doreen Muskett, Emma Kirkby|
A Feather on the Breath of God
This is the record that started the Hildegard craze back in 1982--and you need only listen to Emma Kirkby glide and soar through Columba aspexit (the opening hymn) to understand why. Gothic Voices performs the music very ... more »
Amazon.com essential recording
This is the record that started the Hildegard craze back in 1982--and you need only listen to Emma Kirkby glide and soar through Columba aspexit (the opening hymn) to understand why. Gothic Voices performs the music very simply, either alternating soloists and unison choir over a drone or using a single unaccompanied voice. The singers render Hildegard's extravagant poetic imagery and melody not with the rhythmically fluid, ecstatic approach favored by Sequentia, but with equalist rhythm and a calm, meditative quality. Gothic Voices' straightforward approach is less likely to send you into a rapturous trance than is Sequentia's, but in the hands of such fine singers as Kirkby, Margaret Philpot, and Emily van Evera, Hildegard's extraordinary texts and melodies are captivating--and clear enough to linger in the memory as melodies rather than just sensations. This record is still Hyperion's bestselling title by far--try it and find out why. --Matthew Westphal
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ETHEREAL MUSIC THAT TOUCHES THE SOUL
Larry L. Looney | Austin, Texas USA | 03/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'll make this review more brief than is my usual habit -- classical music is not an area of which I possess a lot of knowledge or experience -- but I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful, expressive recordings I own. The writings of Hildegard of Bingen have gained more widespread notoriety in the last ten years or so, being popularized by several modern interpretations -- some of which, notably the recording on Angel and the recent release by the Swedish group Garmarna are both interesting and revelatory -- but this, as another reviewer noted, is the recording to have.The performances here are pure and unadorned -- much, we must believe, as they would have been in Hildegard's day, hundreds of years ago. Through the music and other writings of this amazing woman, we can see how a human soul is an earthly lens through which the love of God can be focused, and how that love can animate a human life.I find myself listening to this recording at various levels and in assorted situations. It can be low-level, in the background, while I'm reading or sleeping -- or it can be more at the conscious level, worthy of my full attention. Either way, or in between, it's gorgeous -- the performances and the recording are of the highest level of talent and clarity. Listen and be moved."
The best of Hildegard
Mark Swinton | 05/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hildegard of Bingen is one of the few composers of plainchant whose name has survived across the centuries. However, there is more to her extraordinary words and monodic music than is found in 'standard' Gregorian chant, and this is perfectly exemplified by the Gothic Voices on this very successful disc. The clarity and persuasiveness of each track is a delight. Emma Kirkby was still a relative newcomer on the early music scene when this was recorded; beyond doubt, it helped to seal her reputation.Since it's release, many other performers and record companies have attempted to match the success of the Hildegard phenonmenon started off by "A Feather on the Breath of God." Some of the results are quite good. Still, there is no better introduction to Hildegard than on this recording, and it is not likely that a better version will ever be produced.If I have one complaint about this disc, it's that there's only 44 minutes of music on it- then again, it was first released as an LP so it was naturally short.This disc truly is the finest recording of Hildegard's music ever made. Put it on and you will lose yourself in a beautiful sound world from which it is hard to want to return."
Unsurpassed and unsurpassable
hcf | 12/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of the first early music recordings to win a Gramophone prize (that was in 1983), this recording has lost none of its luster since. The singers, occasionally accompanied by reed drones, but mostly singing a capella, rise to the highest levels of tonal beauty and technical skill. Star sopranos Emma Kirkby (appearing as a guest) and Emily van Evera (Mrs. Parrott) head the cast which is also featuring Andrew Parrott as a tenor, although now he is mostly known as a period performance conductor and a scholar (his book on OVPP performance practices is coming out in February). My pick of the entire Gothic Voices series, however, is the alto Margaret Philpot whose mastery of the alto register is so remarkable for her gender. She sings two solo pieces on this disc: Ave generosa and O presul vere civitas. Her presentation is flawless! Gothic Voices sing the plainchant melodies on this disc in a meditative, unadorned style, the way - as the notes inform - the devout abbess may have wanted them sung. I fully agree with this stylistic choice. firstname.lastname@example.org"