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A Feather On The Breath Of God / Kirkby, Page, Gothic Voices


Release Date: 09/01/1993 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 66039   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Robert WhiteDoreen Muskett
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This remarkable record contains a collection of choice gems from the works of one of the "greatest creative personalities of the Middle Ages", Abbess Hildegard of Bingen: sequences and hymns in honour of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary, and a number of local saints, the object of the composer's special devotion. Admittedly, we have limited means of assessing how and in what circumstances these inspired pieces were actually performed during the lifetime of Hildegard herself. But the refreshingly unsophisticated timbre of the four sopranos and the reedy, almost boyish, vocal quality of the contralto are convincing enough to transport the listener in his imagination right back into the unpolluted atmosphere of Hildegard's Read more cloister.

Most to be savoured, to my mind, are the unaccompanied items, amounting to 50 per cent of the total. Indeed, since the sleeve-notes go out of their way to tell us that "distractions such as the intrusion of instrumental decorations" were to be avoided, why did the producer go out of his way to introduce symphony and reed drones in the performance of the other 50 per cent? (I rather suspect Reznikoff's influence, consciously or unconsciously, to have been partly responsible for this.) As for "extrovert vocal practices", one curious little vocal turn did, in fact, occasionally make its discreet presence felt. But, all in all, this is a delightful recording and a welcome addition to the growing repertoire of medieval music at present available on disc. Warmly recommended.

-- Mary Berry, Gramophone [7/1982]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Columba aspexit by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Robert White (Bagpipe)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/14/1981 
Venue:  St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2.
Ave generosa by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Doreen Muskett (Symphony), Robert White (Bagpipe)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/14/1981 
Venue:  St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
3.
O ignis spiritus Paracliti by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Robert White (Bagpipe), Doreen Muskett (Symphony)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/14/1981 
Venue:  St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
4.
O Jerusalem aure civitas by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Doreen Muskett (Symphony), Robert White (Bagpipe)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/14/1981 
Venue:  St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
5.
O Euchari, in leta via by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Doreen Muskett (Symphony), Robert White (Bagpipe)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/14/1981 
Venue:  St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
6.
O viridissima virga, Ave by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Robert White (Bagpipe), Doreen Muskett (Symphony)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/14/1981 
Venue:  St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
7.
O presul vere civitatis by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Doreen Muskett (Symphony), Robert White (Bagpipe)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/14/1981 
Venue:  St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
8.
O ecclesia oculi tui by Hildegard of Bingen
Performer:  Robert White (Bagpipe), Doreen Muskett (Symphony)
Conductor:  Christopher Page
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gothic Voices
Period: Medieval 
Written: 12th Century; Germany 
Date of Recording: 9/14/1981 
Venue:  St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

Featured Sound Samples

O Jerusalem aure civitas
O viridissima virga, ave

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