Hildegard von Bingen Vespers
Here, at last, is Hildegard sung by Benedictine moniales! They’re from St Hildegard’s Abbey, Eibingen, a modern abbey, founded around 1900, above the site of Hildegard’s own monastery. These nuns are living the same life as that of Hildegard’s community, singing daily the same Benedictine Office, breathing the same air and trying to capture the spirit of their great twelfth-century predecessor.
This is more than a mere anthology. It cannot properly be described as a reconstructed office such as that recorded recently by Sequentia, using Hildegard’s St Ursula music (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 9/97). The structure of Vespers is used here to place a somewhat random selection of pieces in a plausible context. The chosen antiphons do, in fact, look as if they are intended to be sung with psalmody: they appear in the sources with their corresponding evovae (psalm-tone ending) – not always, let it be whispered, the most correct or appropriate ending – and they represent really lovely, rather unusual tones, beautifully sung by these Benedictines, who chant office psalms regularly and with understanding. As for their interpretation of Hildegard’s music, this is influenced, but not unduly so, by some of the findings of semiology.'