20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
New Age-y Hildegard,
This review is from: Hildegard (Hildegard Von Bingen) (Audio CD)
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.