Another essential Hildegard discs
dtrr | Florida USA | 02/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My first introduction to Sequentia's versions of Hildegard was Canticles of Ecstacy, which still best defines musically, for me, the soaring visions and mysticism of Hildegard. Much of this sense is to be credited to the female voices of Sequentia, not only exceptional in quality but specifically not "sweet" or self-conscious or hovering toward modern, as in other ensembles (e.g., Gothic Voices or Anonymous 4). Beautiful as these latter voices are, one can take exception to the "angelic" label if one remembers that medievals saw angels as both terrifying and beatiful, and Sequentia evokes the awe and strength of angelic sounds like no one else (to my knowledge) recording Hildegard. Happily, the female voices in Saints are as soaring, challenging and beautiful as ever.Though entirely correct historical scholarship, Saints has more male voices than female (separate, of course); the men's ensemble, called Sons of Thunder, is as strong and persuasive as any male performers of medieval vocal, and parallel the women's voices in removing any trace of self-consciousness. But while they are excellent, the male tones will be reminiscent of traditional Gregoran chant, of ecclesiastical music, not quite capturing the soaring mysticism of the female voices. Perhaps this is "built-in" to the two voices and their personalities. But I, for one, prefer the female voices, especially when Saints is meditative music for non-active listening.Instrumental interludes, composed by a Sequentia member, are refreshingly authentic and quite welcome in the progress of the discs. They are carefully crafted to the sense of Hildegard's compositions and another reason why Sequentia's versions are unsurpassed."
Wonderful music to meditate by.
firstname.lastname@example.org | Little Rock, Arkansas | 07/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mystical and etheral, this music has become my favorite during quiet meditation or contemplation. It seems to speak directly to that part of us which strives to transend the static of physical existence, and longs to know the infinite."