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O, wonder! : Song Cycle for mezzo soprano & orchestra based on Nine antiphons of Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179)

by Becky Llewellyn (1990)

Audio Sample

Performance by Catalina Chamber Orchestra, Nancy Davis Booth from the CD Milerum's basket

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Milerum's basket / Becky Llewellyn.

Library shelf no. CD 956 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

As a woman composer, Becky was keen to find the tap root for women in music. In 1989, she was greatly inspired to find the life and works of Hildegard of Bingen, aided by English translations of the antiphons by Barbara Newman in Symphonia, the Harmony of Celestial Revelations. Becky selected and transposed nine of Hildegard's works into a tone poem for chamber orchestra and mezzo-soprano as a spiritual meditation on music, time, and life. As a composer, Hildegard used the symbolism inherent in pitch and timing to reinforce the Latin words she was setting for the nun's in her monastery. Becky loved the clear communication this provided over 1000 years to her and has skilfully woven Hildegard's melodies through this modern work with English translations of the original words. It has yet to receive an Australian premiere as it was premiered in Tucson Arizona with American mezzo soprano Nancy Davis Booth.

Work Details

Year: 1990

Instrumentation: Mezzo soprano, 2 flutes (doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (doubling cor anglais), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, percussion (antique cymbals, glockenspiel, tenor drum, triangle, tambourine, suspended cymbal), string orchestra.

Duration: 17 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Professional.

Contents note: I. Antiphon for god the father (moderato) -- II. Antiphon for the virgin (allegro) -- III. Antiphon for the holy spirit (andante) -- IV. Antiphon for the redeemer (adagio) -- V. Antiphon for the angels (allegretto) -- VI. Antiphon for the virgin (andantino) -- VIII. Antiphon for divine love (andante con moto) -- IX. Antiphon for god the father (maestoso).

First performance: by Catalina Chamber Orchestra, Nancy Davis Booth — 4 May 96. Berger Performing Arts Centre, Tucson Arizona



Performances of this work

28 Jul 96: Music in the Mountains Festival, Lake Placid Center for the Arts, New York, USA. Featuring Lake Placid Sinfonietta.

4 May 96: Berger Performing Arts Centre, Tucson Arizona. Featuring Catalina Chamber Orchestra, Nancy Davis Booth.

3 Mar 96: Berger Performing Arts Center, Tucson, Arizona, USA. Featuring Catalina Chamber Orchestra, Nancy Davis Booth.

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