Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Sunday Full of Music

Today the Franciscan Motherhouse hosted a "concert" of music by Saint Hildegard! The hour long program was called "Music of Heaven." The vocalist was a soprano by the name of Susan Platt. She is part of the area opera music scene in Milwaukee, and she was wonderful.
She sang a mix of music from Hildegard and other Gregorian and Ambrosian chants. All of the music was performed acapella, she used a pitch pipe and a moment of silence between chants to change key, but there was no other assistance. The sister's chapel had wonderful accoustics for the program as well. Her voice fairly foated throughout the chapel, especially during Hildegard's long lines of variation on one note.
It was wonderful just to relax in one of the padded pews and listen to her voice. The sisters did provide a program which included the latin text of the hymns and antiphons as well as the English translations of the latin. But I didn't read all of the text...listening was enough. I couldn't help but think how lovely her voice would sound in our Bishop Marty Chapel. Patty Ann and Madonna would be proud to know I even recognized a few of the Gregorian chant patterns that we use in some of our own music. My favorite of the antiphon pieces from Hidlegard was "O Virtus Sapientiae."
O strength of Wisdom,
who, circling, circled,
enclosing all
in one lifegiving path,
three wings you have:
one soars to the heights,
one distills its essence upon the earth,
and the thrid is everywhere.
Praise to you, as is fitting,
O Wisdom.

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