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This review is from: Hildegard von Bingen: Canticles of Ecstasy (Audio CD)
From the first soul stroking notes of 'O vis aternitatis' there is no doubting the intensity of feeling to be found in both the music and performance.
Recorded over a decade ago, this Sequentia c.d. remains not only the best introduction to the music of Hidegard von Bingen available, but also amongst the finest recordings of mediaeval church music ever made.
All the voices are female and maintain an individual clarity which is distinguishable even when singing in chorus - and in a marvellously atmospheric church acoustic. The voices are sometimes supported by instruments giving a vaguely resonant effect as if the crystal spheres themselves were ringing.
If this sounds as though there is a touch of the `Mystic-Meg' about all this - there is: Hildegard was attempting to capture in sound the ecstatic experience of, in the final words of the recording, `the embraces of the divine mysteries'.
Sequentia have not attempted to reproduce an historically accurate performance: As Ken Clark pointed out in the BBC Series, Civilisation, we `moderns' can never think or feel or believe as the medieval mind did. Instead, we get an intelligent and very accessible programme of pieces which allow us a glimpse into the mind of a woman attempting to reach beyond the stars to `the power of eternity'.