10.20.2011

Sequentia, the She-Bear, and Sybil


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Tomorrow, October 21st, is the Saint Day of British Saint Ursula. Her story hinges on a fateful and inspired three-year European pilgrimage to avoid marriage to a pagan prince. She is accompanied by 11 (sometimes 11,000) virgins who visit Popes and holy cities throughout the continent. Upon their return journey they are mercilessly killed by Attila the Hun's army around the city of Cologne. Regardless of synchronous discrepancies, she was viewed as a powerful symbol of feminine Christianity. It is no wonder that she become a source of intense inspiration for Hildegard von Bingen some 800 years after her death.

Jane's Medieval Music class has made use of the emotional and scholarly recordings by the group Sequentia. Both the scholarly excellence and artistic passion can be tasted on their web site. The CD liner to the disc "Hildegard von Bingen: Voice of the Blood" is striking for its depth of research, the accesibility of the language, and the ability to truly enter us through word and sounds into the mystical possibilities of one of the Medieval eras most fascinating of composers. I highly recommend it.

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