Music and Vision homepage Jenna Orkin: Writer Wannabe Seeks Brush With Death - From the heights of greatness (the Juilliard School; musicians Rosalyn Tureck and Nadia Boulanger) via way-ward paths to the depths of wickedness these reminiscences will entertain and enlighten.

 

Second Sight - Music with Wilfrid Mellers

9. Celestial Voices.
An early songbook on CD

 

The Earliest Songbook in England (c) 2000 Hyperion Records Ltd

Medieval music, although so distant from us in time -- it flourished, very roughly speaking, from around 1000 to 1400 AD -- now makes a surprisingly lively impact on people in our advanced industrial technocracies. The furore -- or is it merely a vogue? -- seems to have been unleashed when around ten years ago the group Gothic Voices issued a recording of music by Hildegard of Bingen, the abbess, priestess, poet, composer, philosopher and botanical scientist who, flourishing through a considerable span of the 12th century, is now sometimes referred to as the Earliest Great Composer.

Adventitious circumstances -- her female sex and the multiplicity of her talents -- in part bear on this; though in a general sense the current popularity of medieval music springs from its religious, spiritual, and mystical origins, since our scientific culture grows weary under the burden of so much factual know-how, hoping or even believing that there may be a further dimension to life and death. We don't want unequivocally to know too much, since a sense of wonder is not readily to be forfeited.

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Copyright © 2 June 2001 Wilfrid Mellers, York, UK

 

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