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A Feather on the Breath of God Import


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Audio CD, Import, September 1, 1993
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A Feather on the Breath of God + Von Bingen: Canticles of Ecstasy + Voice of the Blood
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Product Details

  • Performer: Emma Kirkby, Emily van Evera, Poppy Holden, Judith Stell, Howard Milner, et al.
  • Orchestra: Doreen Muskett
  • Composer: Hildegard von Bingen
  • Audio CD (September 1, 1993)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Hyperion UK
  • ASIN: B000002ZGD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,214 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Sequentia de Sancto Maximo: Columba aspexit
2. Ymnus de Sancta Maria: Ave, generosa
3. Sequentia de Spiritu Sancto: O ignis spiritus
4. De Sancto Ruperto: O ierusalem
5. De sancto Euchario sequentia: O Euchari
6. De Sancta Maria: O viridissima virga
7. Sequentia de Sancto Dysibodo: O presul vere civitatis
8. De Undecim Milibus Virginbus: O Ecclesia

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

This is the record that started the Hildegard craze back in 1982--and you need only listen to Emma Kirkby glide and soar through Columba aspexit (the opening hymn) to understand why. Gothic Voices performs the music very simply, either alternating soloists and unison choir over a drone or using a single unaccompanied voice. The singers render Hildegard's extravagant poetic imagery and melody not with the rhythmically fluid, ecstatic approach favored by Sequentia, but with equalist rhythm and a calm, meditative quality. Gothic Voices' straightforward approach is less likely to send you into a rapturous trance than is Sequentia's, but in the hands of such fine singers as Kirkby, Margaret Philpot, and Emily van Evera, Hildegard's extraordinary texts and melodies are captivating--and clear enough to linger in the memory as melodies rather than just sensations. This record is still Hyperion's bestselling title by far--try it and find out why. --Matthew Westphal

Customer Reviews

She was very ahead of her time.
D.J. Young
Abbess Hildegaard of Bingen's music is ethereal.
Michael G. Meyer
The world needs this kind of music.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

65 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Mark Swinton on May 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Hildegard of Bingen is one of the few composers of plainchant whose name has survived across the centuries. However, there is more to her extraordinary words and monodic music than is found in 'standard' Gregorian chant, and this is perfectly exemplified by the Gothic Voices on this very successful disc. The clarity and persuasiveness of each track is a delight. Emma Kirkby was still a relative newcomer on the early music scene when this was recorded; beyond doubt, it helped to seal her reputation.
Since it's release, many other performers and record companies have attempted to match the success of the Hildegard phenonmenon started off by "A Feather on the Breath of God." Some of the results are quite good. Still, there is no better introduction to Hildegard than on this recording, and it is not likely that a better version will ever be produced.
If I have one complaint about this disc, it's that there's only 44 minutes of music on it- then again, it was first released as an LP so it was naturally short.
This disc truly is the finest recording of Hildegard's music ever made. Put it on and you will lose yourself in a beautiful sound world from which it is hard to want to return.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Larry L. Looney on March 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I'll make this review more brief than is my usual habit -- classical music is not an area of which I possess a lot of knowledge or experience -- but I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful, expressive recordings I own. The writings of Hildegard of Bingen have gained more widespread notoriety in the last ten years or so, being popularized by several modern interpretations -- some of which, notably the recording on Angel and the recent release by the Swedish group Garmarna are both interesting and revelatory -- but this, as another reviewer noted, is the recording to have.
The performances here are pure and unadorned -- much, we must believe, as they would have been in Hildegard's day, hundreds of years ago. Through the music and other writings of this amazing woman, we can see how a human soul is an earthly lens through which the love of God can be focused, and how that love can animate a human life.
I find myself listening to this recording at various levels and in assorted situations. It can be low-level, in the background, while I'm reading or sleeping -- or it can be more at the conscious level, worthy of my full attention. Either way, or in between, it's gorgeous -- the performances and the recording are of the highest level of talent and clarity. Listen and be moved.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By "hcf" on December 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
One of the first early music recordings to win a Gramophone prize (that was in 1983), this recording has lost none of its luster since. The singers, occasionally accompanied by reed drones, but mostly singing a capella, rise to the highest levels of tonal beauty and technical skill. Star sopranos Emma Kirkby (appearing as a guest) and Emily van Evera (Mrs. Parrott) head the cast which is also featuring Andrew Parrott as a tenor, although now he is mostly known as a period performance conductor and a scholar (his book on OVPP performance practices is coming out in February). My pick of the entire Gothic Voices series, however, is the alto Margaret Philpot whose mastery of the alto register is so remarkable for her gender. She sings two solo pieces on this disc: Ave generosa and O presul vere civitas. Her presentation is flawless! Gothic Voices sing the plainchant melodies on this disc in a meditative, unadorned style, the way - as the notes inform - the devout abbess may have wanted them sung. I fully agree with this stylistic choice. gkolomietz@yahoo.com
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Roxanne Seibert on March 4, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This CD is an absolutely beautiful collection of works by the legendary St. Hildegarde. The Gothic Voices performers instill a sense of being there, as if you are in a magnificent church with the Abess herself and her choir reaching out to you across the centuries.
Granted the 800 year anniversary of Hildegarde's birthday has brought about a trendy interest in her musical works. But I have been fascinated with her historical accomplishments for over 10 years, and this CD reminded why... her inner magic for peace, serenity, and well being. Listen to this collection once and you'll see what I mean.
Hildegarde once wrote that she felt she was one of God's favorite tools, and that her music was her tacticum of ultimatum. This was meant to say that if God couldnt reach a person through the everyday practices of the church, then music was the last fail-proof resort. I think this recording captured that, and even if you dont listen to this for any sort of religious purpose, your spirit will be moved nonetheless and in whatever direction you so desire.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By isala on December 23, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This album is so beautiful it hurts. Hildegard surely must rank as the foremost composer of the millenium - anyway, it does take some talent to stay popular for 900 years! It even runs cirles around the more well-known singing of the monks of Santo Domingo De Silos, and that album is also good. I have not yet heard Agnethe Christensen's interpretation of Hildegard, that one just might be better.

Funnily enough, I do not particularly like Gothic Voices, but there is something in this album that clicks for them and they surpass themselves.
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