The Origin Of Fire (2004)

Frankish, 9th c., Hildegard, Swiss, 11th c., Rabanus Maurus

Anonymous 4

Since almost every bit of sacred music from before 1300 is anonymous, those few works that survive with attributions draw our special notice. We ask not only “who?” but also how and why these works came to be identified with a creator. Even as J.S. Bach signed all his works with “Soli Deo Gloria,” the prevailing attitude among medieval church musicians was that it would constitute pride (if not the “deadly sin” variety then at least the simple human failing) to own music created to adorn the sacred liturgy. And even if not a matter of humility, pieces that were composed for local use did not need an attribution, since it was generally known who had written them.
But here we have a major repertoire – 76 pieces of liturgical plainchant and the music-drama Ordo Virtutum – attributed not only to an actual composer, but to a woman neither trained nor working as a musician. How could this be?
Hildegard of Bingen was born into a prominent Rhineland family in 1098. Her parents dedicated her to the church at the age of eight as a “tithe” – she was child number ten – and entrusted her to Jutta, a noblewoman who was seeking a life of holy reclusion. Jutta took Hildegard with her to the Benedictine monastery of Disibodenberg as a prospective nun and, unlike many children who were “assigned” for family reasons to a monastic life, young Hildegard took up the veil and never looked back.
Although she kept them almost entirely to herself, Hildegard had been experiencing prophetic or mysterious lightfilled visions from the age of five. Not until she was 43, nine years after she had succeeded Jutta as abbess at Disibodenberg, did she submit to an increasing inner urge to put these visions into writing, along with her own theological interpretations of them. Like Joan of Arc, Hildegard heard “voices” – indeed she insisted that her musical works were received whole from God – but her mystical experiences were over-whelmingly visual: she describes active, complex, colorful scenes of fantastic elements and beings in marvelous settings.

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Anonymous 4

Renowned for their unearthly vocal blend and virtuosic ensemble singing, the four women of Anonymous 4 combine historical scholarship with contemporary performance intuition to create their magical sound. Their programs have included music from the year 1000; the ecstatic music and poetry of the 12th-century abbess and mystic, Hildegard of Bingen; 13th-century chant and polyphony from England, France, and Spain; American folksongs, shape note tunes, and gospel songs; and works newly written for the group. Anonymous 4 has performed for sold-out audiences on major concert series and at festivals throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; and has made 19 best-selling recordings for harmonia mundi usa.

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The Origin Of Fire (2004)

Frankish, 9th c., Hildegard, Swiss, 11th c., Rabanus Maurus

Anonymous 4

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907327DI: The Origin Of Fire
01:10:32   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Hymn - Veni creator spiritus
Rabanus Maurus
00:04:26   Select quality & channels above
2.
Sequence - Veni spiritus eternorum alme
Swiss,11th c.
00:02:37   Select quality & channels above
3.
Antiphon - O quam mirabilis est
Hildegard
00:03:26   Select quality & channels above
4.
Vision 1 - The fire of creation - Et ego homo
Hildegard
00:01:46   Select quality & channels above
5.
Vision 1 - The fire of creation - Et audivi
Hildegard
00:03:07   Select quality & channels above
6.
Sequence - O ignis spiritus paracliti
Hildegard
00:07:50   Select quality & channels above
7.
Vision 2 - Wisdom and her sisters - Vidi etiam
Hildegard
00:02:22   Select quality & channels above
8.
Vision 2 - Wisdom and her sisters - Prima autem
Hildegard
00:03:07   Select quality & channels above
9.
Responsory - O felix anima
Hildegard
00:06:33   Select quality & channels above
10.
Vision 3 - The fiery spirit - Iterumque vocem
Hildegard
00:02:00   Select quality & channels above
11.
Vision 3 - The fiery spirit - Et imago
Hildegard
00:04:54   Select quality & channels above
12.
Hymn - O ignee spiritus
Hildegard
00:10:02   Select quality & channels above
13.
Vision 4 - Love - In vera
Hildegard
00:02:06   Select quality & channels above
14.
Vision 4 - Love - Et audivi vocem
Hildegard
00:03:18   Select quality & channels above
15.
Antiphon - Caritas habundat in omnia
Hildegard
00:02:16   Select quality & channels above
16.
Antiphon - O eterne deus
Hildegard
00:02:31   Select quality & channels above
17.
Hymn - Beata nobis gaudia
Frankish,9th c.
00:02:47   Select quality & channels above

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