In a week when I seem to be fixating upon the power of music to speak across time, I find I have to share these few thoughts on “Hildegard” by Stevie Wishart and Sinfonye (2012). Why? Because I ADORE this recording, which I happened upon about six months ago and have just played again, this morning, following a very strong urge to do so when I first climbed out of bed. Had my surprise response to it six months ago (when it, frankly, blew me away, like it was the delivery I had been waiting for and became my most-listened-to thing for several weeks) diluted with time? No! Hildegard von Bingen has been with me for the last three decades of my life (I suspect, far longer than that…) but when I first tripped upon this recording it took me to a whole new level of engagement. The sensations it transports me through – each time I listen – range from full blown ecstasy to the sudden catch-release of the tears of ages, only to be replaced with even more sensations of what I can only air-peddle to describe, inadequately, as purest molten joy. Is it just me? Based on some of the reviews, I doubt it!
This is such a divinely feminine recording. There have been many and varied interpretations of this music and you will find a great many pompous and smugly opinionated diatribes out there, those I have found all penned by males, about how it “ought” to be performed (just scan the reviews on Amazon to get the idea…) but something tells me this gets the closest so far to the very spirit of the original intention. Perhaps what these naysayers are missing is that this was female music, composed by a twelfth century female for females…making it a complete oddball at the time it was conceived…but then that is probably why it has been received as such a wayshower in the dark for so very long. Wayshowers are not meant to remain pickled in aspic…they are the fluid paths of sensation that take us on voyages of discovery outside of time and tradition!
I particularly love that Stevie Wishart shows no fear in bringing modern interpretation and methods including electronica to its expression which must, surely, be the way music (of all things) is meant to go now; no longer prepared to remain walled up in a dark tower of tradition and stiff academia. Like the feminine aspect herself, “she” is letting herself down from all such brick towers and is now to be found running and pirouetting barefoot across the grass in a garden of a “place” that HvB was more than in communique with (long before her time). At its heart, her music was all about enabling spiritual ecstasy to be experienced here on earth and, well, that’s here now…as long as we let it out of its box. I suspect this music conveys the very frequency of such a release from darkness and hiding and the reunion with a place of the heart that is full of unmitigated light, hence its powerful effect upon those of us who resonate. Did HvB compose for our times as much (if not more so) than for her own? I suspect that, at some level, she did; knowing someone would step up to the task (neysayers aside) of carrying her sound forwards as she intended.
This, for me, was a must-purchase in the days when I tend to stream music, so flux is my journey through it, unless it has really made its mark – and (I even love the spiralling cover art…) this certainly has!
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