Hildegard von Bingen: Ordo Virtutum

Ensemble Belcanto & Dietburg Spohr

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In Stock
Delivery Estimate
2-5 days
Classical, Choral
ECM New Series
August 5, 2013

Format: Compact Disc



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This is the second New Series album to feature the Stuttgart-based Ensemble Belcanto. Where its 2001 predecessor focused on contemporary composition by Wolfgang Rihm and others (Come un'ombra di luna - 4617192), this disc looks at Hildegard of Bingen's Ordo Virtutum, written around 1150 and generally considered the first large-scale musical work beyond the prescribed form of the Mass liturgy. This is sacred music reflecting Medieval thought, as music and morality play are intertwined.

In her creative interpretation, Belcanto leader Dietburg Spohr waives claims to 'objective' historical literalness. Instead, she and her fellow singers encounter the work as if it were written specifically for the Ensemble Belcanto: "We sought to free Hildegard from mystical-esoteric associations and to emphasize the work of an emancipated woman and composer." They have been performing the music of Hildegard von Bingen since the early 1990s, and view her compositions as a joyously experimental bridge between the Middle Ages and contemporary music.

Ensemble Belcanto was formed in 1986 by mezzo-soprano Dietburg Spohr, then a member of Clytus Gottwald's Schola Cantorum in Stuttgart, drawing on her experiences in improvisation as well as choral music, classical singing and new music performance. The group has been committed to adventurous programming from the outset, and many composers have written music for the ensemble.

Personnel: Dietburg Spohr (mezzo-soprano, conductor), Andrea Baader, Martina Scharstein, Selina Drews (soprano), Edith Murasov (mezzo-soprano), Benjamin Cromme, Lilith Reid (spoken voice)

Press Quotes

(4 stars) Spohr's group view her work as a bridge to contemporary music, reflecting the song cycle's questioning attitude in arrangements of different techniques that represent the "virtues" and "characters" counselling the soul on its spiritual journey.

The Independent, (Andy Gill), August 24, 2013

This is Hildegard von Bingen, but not as we know her...effectively variations upon Hildegard, using just about every contemporary choral trick in the book...Spohr's aim is to turn the Ordo into music drama. Repeated listenings reveal both form and a genuine involvement.

The Sunday Times, (Stephen Pettitt), August 18, 2013

Sounding more like Stockhausen than sacred medieval music, the performance incorporates whispers, screams and a multiplicity of sonic layers. Different and stimulating.

The Times, (Richard Morrison), August 10, 2013

The variety of sounds they can produce is truly impressive, as is the virtuosity of the singers. And what is perhaps most important is the way Spohr resists the temptation to highlight or exaggerate the dramatic details of the Ordo.

Gramophone, (David Fallows), October 2013

More Info

Key Value
Catalogue number 4764633
Barcode 0028947646334
Number of items 1
Packaging type Jewel Case
Imported No
Weight 120g
Dimensions (LxWxH) 143mm x 11mm x 128mm

Disc 1

Track Listing — Disc 1

Song Title Time
1. Patriarchae Et Prophetae 01:29
2. Patriarchae Et Prophetae 02:05
3. Querela Animarum In Carne Positarum 01:15
4. Felix Anima 00:38
5. Felix Anima 00:41
6. Sed Gravata Anima Conqueritur 01:09
7. Anima Illa 00:20
8. Scientia Dei Ad Animam Illam 01:04
9. Infelix Anima 00:53
10. Scientia Dei 00:49
11. Anima Illa 00:41
12. Strepitus Diabolo Ad Animam Illam 01:16
13. Diabolus 01:04
14. Humilitas 03:05
15. Humilitas 00:48
16. Humilitas 00:25
17. Caritas 01:43
18. Timor Dei 02:10
19. Diabolus 00:32
20. Obedientia 00:46
21. Fides 02:10
22. Spes 03:28
23. Castitas 01:32
24. Innocentia 01:43
25. Contemptus Mundi 02:40
26. Amor Caelestis 02:54
27. Disciplina 00:51
28. Verecundia 01:09
29. Misericordia 02:23
30. Victoria 01:02
31. Discretio 01:02
32. Patientia 02:02
33. Humilitas 01:39
34. Querela Animarum Paenitentis 00:43
35. Anima Illa 01:01
36. Anima Illa 01:15
37. Paenitens Anima Ad Virtutes 03:57
38. Anima Illa 03:01
39. Humilitas 00:55
40. Humilitas 01:40
41. Diabolus 01:38
42. Paenitens Anima 00:28
43. Anima Illa 01:03
44. Humilitas Ad Victoriam 01:54
45. Victoria Ad Virtutes 01:12
46. Humilitas 00:57
47. Victoria 00:43
48. Castitas 01:41
49. Diabolus 00:36
50. Castitas 03:02
51. Epilog 05:13