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Music sent from Heaven
on 25 October 2007
This CD represents music from some 900 years ago during the medieval period and is a fine example of early monophonic music. Monophonic, meaning one sound, is that which has a single melody with little or no accompanying harmony. Typical of this type of music is the simple `plainchant'.
Hildegard von Bingen, known also as `Blessed Hildegard' and `Saint Hildegard' was a lady named Hildegard born in the German town of Bingen. She was the first composer of music for whom a biography is written and possibly the most famous female composer since her birth in 1098 to the present day. She was also a noted author, mystic, philosopher, physician, poet, visionary, and found time to be an abbess running a Monastery of some 20 or so members (maybe she was even responsible for starting the debate about `women being better at multi-tasking than men!).
The 11 songs on this CD are a selection of Hildegard's sacred works, sung in Latin by the Oxford Camerata directed by Jeremy Summerly, recorded in 1993. The enclosed booklet very helpfully lists names of the singers who formed the Camerata at that time, and even indicates on which piece each of them sang. There's also a translation of the words into English which makes interesting and at times puzzling reading.
This Naxos budget-priced CD is a great recording which will appeal to anyone with even the slightest interest in early music. Listened to at the right time, away from the distractions of modern living, it can take you back to a time when music was simple yet so beautiful.