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3.4 out of 5 stars9
3.4 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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Having thoroughly enjoyed and loved Stevie Wishart & Sinfonye's earlier three volume series of the complete (sic) Hildegard von Bingen (The Complete Hildegard von Bingen, Vol.1,The Complete Hildegard von Bingen, Vol.2,The Complete Hildegard Von Bingen Vol.3), this new release by Ms Wishart - opportunely timed to coincide with Pope Benny XVI's elevation of Hildegard to the status of Doctor of the Church - was an immediate purchase when I stumbled across it by accident. At the time there were no MP3 samples available to listen to, so I was buying it blind. My heart sank somewhat on receiving the disc and reading on the back of the case "fusing medieval music of Hildegard with electronic sounds and remixes".

It should also be understood that this is, to quote the back cover again, a "creative re-imagining of a choral evensong", that is, a Vespers service, so that not all the music is Hildegard; there are also some standard liturgical pieces alongside plus a couple of completely new compositions with lyrics created using vocabulary from Hildegard's "lingua ignota" constructed language. Since the vocal credits listed included the same names as the aforementioned earlier series of discs going back to 1999, I did wonder whether this involved some remixing those old recordings rather than all new vocals, but the information does specify only 2012 in the listed recording dates, though despite this I reckon it probably is remixes. It's a somewhat New Age-y interpretation of Hildegard with much heavily post-processed floaty ethereal vocals as well as the synthesisers.

Now I'm not inherently against such modern interpretations of early music (Azam Ali's Portals of Grace for example is superb) but this new disc is really not my cup of tea, though there will be many who will love it. My advice - have a good listen to the MP3 samples to see if this is really the kind of thing you are looking for. If you want something more "authentic" (in as much as any performance of music from the era can be authentic of course, but then I don't think there were too many electronic synthesizers knocking about in 12th century Germany), try the aforementioned three discs by Ms Wishart or the discs by Sequentia, or indeed the very popular disc by the Gothic Voices, Hildegard of Bingen: A feather on the breath of God, which was instrumental in kicking off the Hildegard craze.
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on 28 January 2013
I sense that Hildegaard's music here is arranged by an academic who knows her stuff.
The arrangements only once or twice, for a few bars, stray into contemporary jazz-like idioms, but for the most part manage to transport us back to the 11th C., and frequently manage to express the ecstatic mystery which inspired Hildegaard. Sometimes the singing is at the very limits of "do-able" for the performers, but somehow this makes the whole listening experience more real and conveys the fun. I suspect the original nuns were not half as competent as these singers. I have had a couple of CDs of Hildegaard von Bingen's work which were travesties. This in not. Overall, this is a great CD with one or two transcendent jewels making it well worth having.
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on 30 July 2013
I wanted this as a friend plays on it and had played me an excerpt; the whole thing is absolutely beautiful, and I'm so glad I came across it. The voices are superb, the instruments used work brilliantly, and the overall effect is quite breathtaking at points. I love it.
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on 1 January 2013
Wonderful harmonies and really unusual modern 'percussive' arrangement on some pieces. hILDEGARD WAS OBVIOUSLY A WOMAN BEFORE HER TIME!! aMAZING
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on 24 November 2012
A lovely CD, a slightly modernised form of medieval music. Which makes it relaxing to listen to, and also enjoyable to listen to whilst driving.
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on 8 June 2015
Bought as a birthday present for my husband. We both love it.
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on 28 November 2012
The plain chant as sung in the ordinary mode is not a particularly notable performance, when it goes into alternate mode there is some elaboration but it is not of great interest, the additional music does little to explore the world of Hildegard. Altogether overrated in my opinion.
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on 1 December 2012
This CD was reviewed in the Daily Telegraph and ordered from Amazon. Delivery was much longer than I would have expected (it came from Pennsylvania!) but the music was worth the wait and just what I had hoped for,
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on 30 November 2012
This is a trashy, tabloid approach to great music. I will never play it again. Stick to the real thing!
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