Hildegard - Canticles of Ecstasy

Hildegard von Bingen
Gesänge der Ekstase - Canticles of Ecstasy
Sequentia - Barbara Thornton, dir.
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (BMG) 05472 77320 2 [CD]
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (BMG-France) 05472 7755 2 [CD]
BMG Japan BVCD-38170 [CD]


  1. Responsorium: O vis aeternitatis (voice, chorus, 2 fiddles, organistrum)
  2. Antiphon: Nunc aperuit nobis (2 voices, chorus)
  3. Antiphon: Quia ergo femina mortem instruxit (voice)
  4. Antiphon: Cum processit factura digiti Dei (voice, chorus, 2 fiddles)
  5. Marian Antiphon (10th century): Alma redemptoris Mater (chorus)
  6. Responsorium: Ave Maria, O auctrix vite (voice, chorus, 2 fiddles)
  7. Antiphon: Spiritus Sanctus vivificans vite (voice)
  8. Sequence: O ignis spiritus Paracliti (voice, chorus)
  9. Antiphon: Caritas habundat in omnia (chorus)
  10. Alleluia-Antiphon: O virga mediatrix (voice, harp)
  11. Song: O viridissima virga, Ave (chorus)
  12. Instrumental (2 fiddles, harp)
  13. Prayer: O Pastor Animarum (voice)
  14. Responsorium: O tu suavissima virga (voice, fiddle, chorus)
  15. Antiphon: O choruscans stellarum (voice)
  16. Responsorium: O nobilissima viriditas (solo voice, 2 voices, chorus)

Source (music):
Rupertsberger "Riesencodex" (1180-1190), Wiesbaden, Hessische Landesbibliothek, Ms. 2 f. 466ff.

Sequentia, Ensemble für Musik des Mittelalters
Barbara Thornton (voice), Gundula Anders (voice), Pamela Dellal (voice), Elizabeth Glen (voice), Heather Knutson (voice), Laurie Monahan (voice), Susanne Norin (voice), Janet Youngdahl (voice), Elizabeth Gaver (medieval fiddle), Elisabetta de Mircovich (medieval fiddle); Benjamin Bagby (medieval harp, organistrum)
Barbara Thornton, dir.

Playing time: 73'

Recording site and date:
St. Pantaleon (at the sarcophag of the Empress Theophanu), Köln [6/1993];
Rel.: 1994

[1] Virgin 841619 2 7 [CD] Atmosphere - les musiques d'une nouvelle &egtave;re
[4], [12] RCA "Red Seals" 82876 60986 2 [CDx4] Trésors - Moyen-Âge

The present recording is the first in Sequentia's renewed series of Hildegard's complete output. It includes a broad range of genre, including one improvised instrumental piece based upon motives in the compositions.

A packaging of many of Sequentia's Hildegard recordings, including nearly the complete works:

Hildegard of Bingen - 900 Years
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77505 (8 CDs)

Other items from this set are available separately, as noted. For many more Hildegard recordings, see the complete discography.

Some other acclaimed introductions to Hildegard:

A Feather on the Breath of God
Sequences and Hymns by Abbess Hildegard of Bingen
Gothic Voices - Christopher Page
Hyperion 66039
Hildegard von Bingen: 11,000 Virgins
Anonymous 4
Harmonia Mundi USA 907200
Hortus Deliciarum
Hildegard von Bingen / Herrad von Landsberg
Discantus - Brigitte Lesne
Opus 111 30-220
Hildegard: Laudes de Sainte Ursule
Ensemble Organum - Marcel Pérès
Harmonia Mundi 901626
Sponsa regis
La Victoire de la Vierge dans l'oeuvre d'Hildegard von Bingen
Ensemble La Reverdie / Piccoli cantori di San Bernardo
Arcana 314
Hildegard: O Nobilissima Viriditas
Catherine Schroeder et al.
Media 7 / Champeaux 006
Hildegard: Symphoniae harmoniae caelestium revelationum
Schola der Benediktinerinnenabtei St. Hildegard - M. Immaculata Ritscher
Bayer 100 116
Hildegard: Heavenly Revelations
Oxford Camerata - Jeremy Summerly
Naxos 8.550998
The complete Hildegard von Bingen, vol. 1
Symphony of the Harmony of Celestial Revelations
Sinfonye - Stevie Wishart
Celestial Harmonies 13 127

Some recordings devoted to significant contemporaries of Hildegard working in related monophonic styles:

Monastic Song
12-Century Monophonic Chant - Peter Abelard
Theatre of Voices - Paul Hillier
Harmonia Mundi USA 907209
Cluny: La Transfiguration
Chants de Pierre le Vénérable
Ensemble Venance Fortunat - Anne-Marie Deschamps
L'Empreinte digitale 13091
Songs of Angels
Songs of ectasy by Gautier de Coincy
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
Decca 460 794

Peter Abelard may be the single most famous musical-literary figure of the period, while the latter two recordings focus on music by abbots, in analogy to Hildegard. The latter is actually part of a sacred-secular cycle, perhaps more akin to troubadour music.

Finally, a recording of somewhat later German songs devoted to "Celestial Woman" in the minnesang tradition:

The Celestial Woman
Sequentia - Barbara Thornton & Benjamin Bagby
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 77309

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Todd M. McComb