To start off today, we're heading back to medieval France and Germany....
Above: "The Mass of Notre Dame," a thoroughly goregous polyphonic mass by the 14th century French poet and composer Guillaume de Machaut. This is the full order of the mass, with multi-part Gegorian settings for the proprium parts, sung by the French Ensemble Gilles Binchois, under the direction of Dominique Vellard.
Below, an improvisation on an extract from "Spiritus Sanctus" by the great 12th century German abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen.The piece is performed by Geraldine Zeller (soprano) and Helge Burggrabe (bass recorder), recorded in a dress rehearsal for a concert at Heppenheim Cathedral in Hesse, Germany (2010).
Next, a very beautiful contemporary piece that was inspired by Hildegard von Bingen and her music:
"Vespers for St. Hildegard," composed and directed by Stevie Wishart, performed at York Minster (Cathedral) in the north of England by Wishart's terrific Early Music group, Sinfonye, accompanied by the University of York Chamber Choir. (Wishart is the woman with the hurdy-gurdy, next to the harpist.) The piece was commisioned for the 2013 York Early Music Festival.
We're firmly back in the 21st century with the ending piece: my absolute favorite Stevie Wishart composition, "Heed My Spreading Wings," performed by one of my favorite new musical groups, called Voice.
Voice is a London-based acapella trio (Victoria Couper, Clemmie Franks, and Emily Burn) with a repetoire ranging from medieval to modern, drawn from traditions around the globe. In the video below, they sing "Heed My Spreading Wings" at Hugh Church in Faringdon, Oxfordshire (2012). The piece was commissioned by Voice for the New Music programme, Megaphones for the Unheard. This one could be my anthem....
Today's music is for my dear friend Midori Snyder.