Hildegard von Bingen, Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly - Celestial Harmonies

Published Thursday 24th July 2008
Hildegard von Bingen, Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly - Celestial Harmonies
Hildegard von Bingen, Oxford Camerata, Jeremy Summerly  - Celestial Harmonies

STYLE: Classical
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: Naxos 8557983

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Back in Issue 31, when Cross Rhythms was a paper magazine, John Irvine reviewed the Oxford Camerata's recording of Hildegard von Bingen's 'Heavenly Revelations'. That was more than 10 years ago but in many ways this new release carries on exactly where the earlier one left off. Jeremy Summerly still prefers to present these meditations as monody with no accompaniment and his singers again give their all. Sadly since 1995 the price of Naxos CDs has crept above the £5 mark but they do still represent the best value around. Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) entered a convent at the age of eight and spent the remainder of her 80 years as nun and then abbess. "Symphoniae Armonie Celestium Revelationum" ("Symphony Of The Harmony Of Heavenly Revelations") is a collection of songs and a musical drama. The Responsories and Antiphons included on this recording are variously addressed to the Creator, the Redeemer, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St John the Evangelist, apostles, confessors and martyrs. Yes, it does sound a bit of a muddle - even when following the translation in the CD booklet. If you enjoy Hildegard then this CD is worth buying and if you are intrigued but do not want to risk a great deal of money this is excellent value - and those kind people at Naxos also throw in a free download of sacred music from Notre Dame.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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