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Audio CD, August 11, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

This two-disc set completes Sequentia's ambitious project to record the complete musical works of Abbess Hildegard von Bingen to commemorate the 900th anniversary of her birth in 1098. In this last release, Sequentia finally takes on some of the most recognizable pieces from "A Feather on the Breath of God," the legendary recording by Gothic Voices that began the Hildegard boom 15 years ago. While you can't say that the older recording has been superseded, this one holds its own quite nicely. Where Gothic Voices took a no-nonsense approach to rhythm, making all notes more-or-less equal in length, Sequentia sings with its typical rhythmic freedom--without slipping into the rhapsodic excess that sometimes marred their earlier Hildegard discs; the momentum and shape of melody are always clear. Speaking of rhapsody, Sequentia's co-director Barbara Thornton opens the recording with a transporting rendition of a Hildegard hymn to "God the Father." --Matthew Westphal

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. O magne pater (Antiphon, fol. 466)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 3:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. O Bonifaci (Antiphon, fol. 475r)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. O mirum admirandum (Antiphon, fol. 475r) / Domini est terra (Psalm 24)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 7:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Instrumental pieceSequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 7:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. O viriditas digiti deiSequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 5:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. O beata infantia (Antiphon, fol. 470v) / Domine, Dominus noster (Psalm 8)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 5:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. O felix anima (Responsory, fol. 470v)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 6:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Instrumental pieceSequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 6:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. O presul vere civitatis (sequence, fol. 475v)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 8:47$0.99  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Columba aspexit (sequence, fol. 476r)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 6:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Instrumental pieceSequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 5:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. O Ecclesia (sequence, fol. 477)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 7:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Spiritui sancto (responsory, fol. 471v)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 5:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Mathias, sanctus per electionem (sequence, fol. 474v)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 6:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. O pater omnium ("Symphonia viduarum", fol. 478v)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 4:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. O Euchari, columba virtutem illius (Responsory, fol. 475v)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 6:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. O Euchari, in leta via ambulasti (sequence, fol. 476r)Sequentia;Barbara Thornton;Benjamin Bagby 6:59$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 11, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000009TJZ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #173,545 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "dtrr" on February 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
My first introduction to Sequentia's versions of Hildegard was Canticles of Ecstacy, which still best defines musically, for me, the soaring visions and mysticism of Hildegard. Much of this sense is to be credited to the female voices of Sequentia, not only exceptional in quality but specifically not "sweet" or self-conscious or hovering toward modern, as in other ensembles (e.g., Gothic Voices or Anonymous 4). Beautiful as these latter voices are, one can take exception to the "angelic" label if one remembers that medievals saw angels as both terrifying and beatiful, and Sequentia evokes the awe and strength of angelic sounds like no one else (to my knowledge) recording Hildegard. Happily, the female voices in Saints are as soaring, challenging and beautiful as ever.
Though entirely correct historical scholarship, Saints has more male voices than female (separate, of course); the men's ensemble, called Sons of Thunder, is as strong and persuasive as any male performers of medieval vocal, and parallel the women's voices in removing any trace of self-consciousness. But while they are excellent, the male tones will be reminiscent of traditional Gregoran chant, of ecclesiastical music, not quite capturing the soaring mysticism of the female voices. Perhaps this is "built-in" to the two voices and their personalities. But I, for one, prefer the female voices, especially when Saints is meditative music for non-active listening.
Instrumental interludes, composed by a Sequentia member, are refreshingly authentic and quite welcome in the progress of the discs. They are carefully crafted to the sense of Hildegard's compositions and another reason why Sequentia's versions are unsurpassed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By on July 22, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Mystical and etheral, this music has become my favorite during quiet meditation or contemplation. It seems to speak directly to that part of us which strives to transend the static of physical existence, and longs to know the infinite.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jay S. on December 26, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD, although sealed when received, had a DEEP cut in the packaging as if it was from a saw. I ordered it as a gift but could not give it in that condition.
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